BY CORY NIDOH
Assistant Sports Editor
Baseball season is in full swing in the college levels and the ESU Warriors are off to one of their best starts as they defend their 2013 PSAC Championship title.
The Warriors have been on the road for their first nine games and have posted an 8-1 record, suffering their first loss last Saturday splitting a doubleheader against Pitt-Johnstown.
Opening up the season, the Warriors, under seventh year Head Coach John Kochmansky, won their first eight contests as they travelled down to North Carolina to play in warmer weather to get ready for their PSAC schedule.
They opened up the season with three games against St. Augustine’s and swept the Falcons outscoring them 33-5 with impressive performances by the bullpen along with seniors Mike Tenaglia and Chris Knott.
Tenaglia, went 5-for-9 with six RBI, including a grand slam, while Knott went 5-for-10 as he drove in four runs and scored six runs.
After their matchup with against St. Augustine’s, the Warriors’ travelled three hours east to visit the Chowan Hawks.
The Warriors picked up where they left off as they swept both doubleheaders against the Hawks but with less room for error.
Winning by the scores of 7-5, 5-4, 9-7 and 9-7 in the last two games ESU improved their record to 7-0.
Again, Knott showed why he is on the Watch List for the Tino Martinez Award, given to the best Division II baseball player in the country.
The Egg Harbor native finished at the plate hitting .333 (5-for-15) as he drove in nine runs in the four games.
In Aberdeen Maryland at the Ripken Baseball Complex, the Warriors faced Pitt-Johnstown.
They won the first game by a score of 3-1 as Senior Kennan Stare tied the school record for saves has he recorded his fourth of the young season and reached double digit saves as he now has 10 career saves.
However, the Warriors got their first taste of defeat as they were blanked 2-0 in the back-end of the double dip.
Yet, the Warriors are playing very good baseball with their 8-1 record showing their early success on the diamond.
They are led by Knott in the heart of the order, Stare in the back-end of the rotation and senior ace in the starting rotation, Ryan Lubreski who is 2-0.
The Warriors have been floating in the top five in the NCBWA Division II Atlantic Region Poll since early on in the season.
They have some key players that are expected to be vital contributors to another championship runs.
Knott currently is the team’s leader in batting average (.419), hits (13), doubles (3), RBI (12), and slugging percentage (.677%).
Lubreski, the ace coming into this season leads the team in wins despite getting knocked around a bit with a 5.54 ERA, allowing eight runs on 14 hits in 13 innings pitched.
Stare has been dominant coming out to close games as he has yet to allow a run in five innings, allowing just two hits and two free passes while holding opponents to a .125 avg.
The Warriors will have a cross-conference matchup as they face IUP in a doubleheader on Sunday, March 9 at Millersville.
ESU will also play Clarion at Millersville and University of the Sciences and Philadelphia University in Philadelphia before hosting Millersville at Mitterling Field on March 21.
Email Cory at: