BOSTON, Mass. – After an up and down regular season, baseball is looking to turn the page as they get set start the 2013 Little East Conference tournament tomorrow afternoon when they face Keene State College at 3:30 p.m. on the campus of the University of Southern Maine.
The double elimination tournament will run from tomorrow through Saturday with the champion earning the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Regional tournament, which is set to begin next week. The Beacons, who go into this year's tournament as the fourth seed, will face the third seeded Owls in the opening round for the second straight year and fourth time overall.
All-time the Beacons have yet to defeat Keene State in their opening round meetings and have just two wins over the Owls all-time in the conference tournament. Their last victory came in 2010 when they made historic run through the conference and NCAA regional tournaments.
This season UMass Boston, whose strength of schedule ranks fifth in the country, has relied heavily on their bullpen which going into the conference tournament ranks second with a team ERA of 3.49. Led by lefty's Kyle Szatrowski (Agawam, Mass.) and Patrick Austin (Torrington, Conn.), and junior righty Lucas Ilges (Gloucester, Mass.) the Beacons pitching staff has recorded some key wins this season including a 4-0 victory over now top-10 and number one seed Southern Maine.
Going into the tournament, Szatrowski sits with a 5-1 record overall and a 2.26 ERA. In 55.2 innings of work opponents are hitting just .255 against the sophomore. He has gone the distance in three games, which included a huge in-region win over St. Joseph's College (ME) down in Florida. Ilges has come on strong as of late and sits second with a 3.35 ERA and a 3-4 mark overall with teams hitting .234 against him. Austin, who came within two innings of throwing a perfect game against Plymouth State, enters this year's tournament with a 3.46 ERA. The three pitchers have combined for 94 strikeouts, while only allowing 32 walks respectively.
Out of the pen, the Beacons have turned to Matt Dziok (Southampton, Mass.), Tyler Kane (Wilbraham, Mass.), and Steve Roche (Worcester, Mass.) continuously this season. Dziok has made 15 appearances on the hill and ranks second amongst the relievers with 15 strikeouts. Head coach Brendan Eygabroat will also look to senior Michael Boughton (New Britain, Conn.) to help carry the line-up this week. Boughton sits second on the team with 23 strikeouts in 30.1 innings pitched and has a 5.04 ERA.
At the plate the Beacons when on have proven to be one of the hardest hitting clubs in the Little East Conference. Unfortunately they have not found that spark that has carried them to multiple wins throughout the season. UMB currently features just two players with above .300 averages in Todd Ezold (Westfield, Mass.) and Jamill Moquette (Boston, Mass.). Right below them is Matt Consiglio (Southbury, Conn.) and Jose Pena (Boston, Mass.).
Moquette, who was an NEIBA All-Region selection a year ago, leads the Beacons in runs scored (28), home runs (2), total bases (51), slugging percentage (.415), walks (20), and stolen bases (20). On top of being one of the more versatile players in this year's line-up, Consiglio leads the team with 39 hits and is second in doubles with seven. He is also tied with 51 total bases and is second on the squad in stolen bases with 10.