Big Men On Campus Week XIX
By Matt Betts
Canadian Baseball Network
This week's BMOC features a pair of Canadians who led their team to a national championship. There was also a lot of postseason success fuelled by players from the north. Check out the best below.
UT Tyler wins DIII championship
Alex Bishop (Calgary, Alta.) and Chris Stodolka (Lethbridge, Alta.) are national champions after helping lead the University of Texas at Tyler Patriots to the top. Bishop had five hits, including a two-run home run in the 9-6 championship game victory over Texas Lutheran. He also walked six times and drove in five runs overall. Bishop completes his season hitting .318.
Stodolka’s strong week goes back to a 2-0 win over Rhodes College in the Sauget, Illinois Regional where he worked four scoreless, hitless innings to force a winner-take-all rematch. He walked four and struck out four. The Patriots won the next game and advanced to the NCAA DIII College World Series where Stodolka picked up the win in Game 4 over Randolph-Macon College. He lasted 3 1/3 innings, surrendering three runs on three hits and two walks. He struck out one to keep the Patriots alive after they lost their previous game. Stodolka finishes the year with a 2-1 record and a 3.54 ERA over 15 appearances.
It is the first national title in program history.
Canisius wins MAAC title
The Canisius College Golden Griffins, known as Team Canada in the college ranks, captured the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Championship with four straight wins. Canice Ejoh (Toronto, Ont.) was right in the middle of the offence for the Griffs. In an opening 5-4 win over Niagara he had a hit, a walk, was hit by a pitch and drove in one. He walked and had another RBI in a Game 2, an 11-3 win over Quinnipiac. Next on the schedule for Monmouth and the Griffs took care of them by a 7-4 score with Ejoh going 2-for-3 with a RBI. They downed Monmouth again, this time by an 11-0 score, to win the MAAC championship. Ejoh had a hit, walked twice, drove in a run and stole two bases in the deciding win.
Connor Morro (Cheltenham, Ont.) went 2-for-4 with a RBI in the win over Niagara. He had another two hits and walked against Quinnipiac before going 2-for-4 with a walk in the first meeting with Monmouth. Morro collected two hits, was hit by a pitch and stole two bases in the championship victory.
J.P. Stevenson (New Glasgow, PEI) was tabbed with opening the tournament on the mound against Niagara. He went seven innings, scattering five hits and three runs for the win. He struck out six to get the Griffs off to a good start. He later appeared in the championship game tossing a scoreless, hitless inning with a strikeout in the ninth inning.
Pitcher Carson Perkins (Bienfait, Sask.), outfielder Cyrus Senior (Montreal, Que.), infielder Jacob Martins (Richmond Hill, Ont.), pitcher Jared Kennedy (Calgary, Alta.), utility man Liam Wilson (Ayr, Ont.), outfielder Michael Ssemanda (Hamilton, Ont.) and catcher Nick Capitano (Bolton, Ont.) are also on the roster of the championship squad.
Canisius will have their hands full in the opening game of the Minneapolis Regional as they take on the Golden Gophers of Minnesota.
Vasquez wins championship game
The Northwestern State Demons are off the Corvallis Regional after winning the Southland Conference championship. Jose Vasquez (Cambridge, Ont.) picked up his fourth save in Game 3, a 3-2 win over Nicholls. He threw a scoreless, hitless inning and struck out the side to throw the Demons into the championship game. There they would face the New Orleans Privateers and Vasquez again played a crucial role. He threw four scoreless innings of relief to pick up his sixth win. He allowed just three hits as the Demons picked up a 7-5 win. Northwestern State is now set to face national power Oregon State in Game 1 of their regional.
Wark and the Billikens wins the Atlantic 10
Jackson Wark (St. Albert, Alta.) got the starts for the St. Louis Billikens in Game 2 of the Atlantic Sun Tournament. Wark allowed two runs on two hits over 5 1/3 innings. He walked three, struck out five and it took his team in 11 innings to pull out the 5-4 win. The Billikens won the tournament the next game. They now head to Oxford, Miss for the regional and face the hosts Ole Miss to open things up.
Julien named to All-Tournament team
There was no slowing down for Edouard Julien (Quebec City, Que.) as the Auburn Tigers took part in the Southeastern Conference Tournament. Julien delivered a walk-off RBI single in the Tigers opening 4-3 win over Kentucky. The Tigers improved to 2-0, dumping Ole Miss 9-3 behind a pair of hits, a grand slam and a walk from Julien. After losing to Texas A&M 4-2, their season came to an end with a 7-0 loss to Ole Miss. Julien had a hit in the final game of the tournament for the Tigers. Julien was named to the SEC All-Tournament team for his play in Hoover, Ala. Auburn now heads to Raleigh, NC for a regional. They will be the No. 2 seed and open play against Northwestern.
Howie earns tournament honours
Eastern Kentucky’s Nick Howie (Oakville, Ont.) had an impressive Ohio Valley Conference Tournament and was named to the All-Tournament team. Howie went 3-for-5 with two doubles as the Colonels dropped Game 1, 12-7 to Morehead State. He walked three times and stole a base in a 13-6 Game 2 win over the Murray State Racers. Austin Peay was next and Howie went 2-for-3 with a solo home run in the first and two walks in a 5-1 win. He then went 4-for-7 with three RBIs and a stolen base 11-8, 14 inning Game 4 win over Jacksonville State. Morehead State would again get the best of EKU and end their tournament by handing them a 5-2 loss. Howie had a hit and a walk in the loss. Howie finishes his season second on the team in average at .358. He hit seven home runs, drove in 32 and posted a .411 on-base percentage with a .596 slugging percentage.
Erwin strong in final game
Niagara University needed a win in Game 2 of the MAAC tournament but came out on the wrong end of a 6-3 score to Marist. Ben Erwin (Spruce Grove, Alta.) entered in the second inning and worked 4 1/3 scoreless innings. He gave up three hits and a walk in what would be the Purple Eagles final game of the year.
Skirrow wraps up freshman campaign
Noah Skirrow (Stoney Creek, Ont.) completed his first season with the Liberty Flames with a start in Game 2 of the Big South Championship Tournament. Skirrow went 6 1/3 innings and allowed just one run as the Flames downed Charleston Southern 4-2. He allowed six hits, a walk and struck out eight to earn the win and improve to 4-3. He finishes 2018 with a 4.57 ERA over 67 innings. He made 15 appearances, 14 of which were starts.
It may not have featured as many players but the past week was full of excitement. The postseason continues on for many Canadians. Check back here for all the highlights.
If you know someone deserving of a mention in the weekly BMOC please email Matt Betts at email@example.com.