A final check-in with UC’s spring teams

David Mendelsohn

damendelsohn@ursinus.edu

 

This week is the semester’s final issue of The Grizzly. The following is a final update on where Ursinus College’s spring sports teams stand as of Monday, April 23.

Men’s Lacrosse

The men’s lacrosse team will wrap up a rather disappointing season with their matchup at Dickinson College this coming Saturday. With two games left to be played, they currently sit at a 2-10 record, 1-5 against Centennial Conference (CC) opponents.

Sophomore standout Bobby McClure leads the team with 28 goals and 36 total points. Junior Peter DeSimone is second in each of those categories with 16 goals and 27 total points. DeSimone and senior Gerard Brown are tied for the team lead in assists with 11 apiece.

First-year faceoff specialists Aiden Baltz and Rei Lopez were impressive in their roles this season. Baltz was 103-172 (60 percent) and Lopez was 40-71 (56 percent) in such opportunities, making face-offs the most effective skill for the Bears this season.

Women’s Lacrosse

Ursinus’ women’s lacrosse team did not fare much better, if it all. The lady bears presently sit at 3-10 with their final two CC-games to go. Their record within the CC is 1-6.

Junior attack Emily DiGiorgio leads the team with 29 goals and 32 total points to tie last year’s career-high marks in both of those categories. One more goal in the final two games will give her a new career high. Senior Franny Liberatoscioli is not too far behind, with 23 goals and 30 total points in her final campaign.

Junior Kaci McNeave leads the team in assists with eight. Liberatoscioli and senior Taylor DeBernardi each have seven, with first-year player Grace Langen just barely trailing them with six. With two-games to go, it will be interesting to see who ends up with the team lead after the season’s finale at Dickinson on April 28.

Goalkeeper Kaitlyn France has enjoyed a productive season in which she has started all 13 of the team’s games thus far. She has had several standout performances this season, most notably in the matchup against defending national champions and #1 seeded Gettysburg in the CC opener on Saturday, Mar. 24. She tallied eight saves in the first half and kept Gettysburg’s top-flight offense scoreless for almost nine full minutes.

Baseball

The baseball team had tough matchups on their California trip, but had high hopes upon their return to the east coast. They split a pair of non-conference double-headers at Penn St. Berks and Ramapo College. Two more home victories against non-conference opponents gave them a little swagger heading into CC-play.

After sweeping a home double header over McDaniel, the Bears had a 3-3 CC-record. However, a 14-inning tie against Franklin and Marshall seemed to turn the tides for the Bears. The Bears have had just one victory in the eight games since that point.

With four games left to play as of Monday, April 23, the 4-9-1 Bears are not officially eliminated from the CC playoffs, but the odds are not in their favor.

The Bears have had several standout performances, despite their difficulties winning games.

Senior center fielder Travis Kozak currently leads the team in hits with 45, and also has the team’s highest batting average and OBP (on base percentage) with marks of .385 and .464, respectively. His average is currently second in the CC. He also has been hit by 11 pitches this season, a statistic in which he was fourth in the nation last season in 2017.

Sophomore Alex Mumme has equally impressive statistics. He’s hit .362 with .436 OBP, second on the team in each of those categories behind Kozak. Mumme also leads the team in extra-base hits (16) and slugging percentage (amongst people with at least one at-bat per number of team games played) with his mark of .621. Mumme has seven home runs and nine doubles this season. He trails just Swarthmore outfielder Charles Levitt for the CC-lead, with eight.

Sophomore right fielder Dom Fiorentino has been a doubles machine this season. He leads the Bears in doubles with 11. He also has 15 extra-base hits, second on the team. Fiorentino has also hit a pair of homers this year.

Junior infielder Carter Usowski leads the team in RBIs (runs batted in) with 31. He had a 5-6 performance against Penn St. Brandywine, which included notching his 100th career hit.

First-year pitcher Nolan Graber has made a serious case for himself for CC rookie of the year. The 6-5 righty leads the team in ERA (earned run average) at 3.41 and strikeouts with 21.

Junior southpaw David Drea has had an up-and-down season to date, but his biggest “up” came at Haverford on April 6 when he spun a complete game, five-hit shutout to lead the Bears over the Fords.

Softball

The softball team started the season 7-3 on their Florida trip over spring break, but has since come down to earth. They split a double header against Delaware Valley on Mar. 19 before entering CC play.

The team’s record is 11-19 and 2-12 against CC foes. However, there are plenty of impressive stat lines amongst the softball team.

Morgan Comfort’s dominant start to the season mildly regressed as the season went on, but with six games to play, her numbers are still remarkable. She had a .304 batting average and lead the team in slugging percentage with .510. Her team-leading four homers have her in a three-way tie for the CC-lead with a pair of McDaniel sluggers.

As a team, the Bears have slugged eight homers, which is good for third in the CC. Comfort has four, junior first baseman Callie Crouse has a of dingers, and junior Sam Garritano and freshman Heather Lazer each have a homer on their ledgers.

Comfort’s pitching line has also been impressive over the course of the season. In 15 appearances and 10 starts, the freshman phenom has pitched to a 3.57 ERA in 68.2 innings. Comfort also pitched four complete games as she will look to establish herself as the team’s ace next season.

The team’s ace this season, senior Kaitlyn Willis, has been just that. Her 6-9 record is not very nice, but it does not reflect her dominance this year. In 118.2 innings, she has a 2.18 ERA, which is second in the CC. She has allowed just 116 hits in those 118.2 innings. Couple that with the just 21 walks she has surrendered this season and she has a solid 1.15 WHIP (walks and hits per innings pitched) to date.

Willis’ new ability that she put on display this year was her strikeouts. She has 106 strikeouts on the year, which leads the CC by 13. With the opportunity for at least three more starts, she has already long eclipsed her previous career-high of 89 strikeouts that she achieved last year.

Junior outfielder Faith Carson has enjoyed a fantastic individual season this year as well. She is second on the team with 29 hits and is sporting a .299 batting average. Her 19 RBIs lead the team. These stats become all the more impressive when it is taken into account that she has just three strikeouts this season. That’s a K% (strikeout rate) of just 2.88 percent. For reference, according to fangraphs.com, the major league baseball average strikeout rate is about 20 percent, and anything under 10 percent is considered excellent. According to that scale, Carson is in a league of her own with her ability to put the ball in play.

Men’s Tennis

The men’s tennis team is the UC team that is most poised for a playoff berth. With an overall record of 10-7 and a CC record of 4-5, they currently sit sixth in the CC with two non-conference games to go. Without any conference competitions left to go, the Bears do not control their own destiny, and their odds of reaching the playoffs are slim.

Women’s Tennis

The women’s tennis team is currently 8-10 overall, but a meek 2-7 in CC-competition. They are presently in ninth place out of eleven in the conference.

Senior Aileen BeVard tallied her 50th career victory to set the new all-time record for singles victories at Ursinus on April 19.

Ariel Danzinger also made history this year when the senior became the program’s all-time leader in doubles victories when she and freshman Madisen Harvey won over Cabrini. It was her 52nd career victory and broke a tie with former teammate BreAnna Bashaw.