On the eve of the 2011 Northeast Conference Baseball Tournament,
four Blue Devils were named All-Conference on Thursday night.
Central placed two on the First Team and two more on the Second
Team. The Blue Devils are the fourth seed in the NEC Tournament
which begins on Friday. Central plays top-seed Monmouth on Friday
at 12 p.m. at Dodd Stadium in Norwich.
Juniors Mitch Wells and Jake Matuszak were named to the All-Conference First Team. Senior Pat Epps and freshman J.P. Sportman earned Second Team honors.
Wells is a First Team selection at third base for the second straight season. He enters the NEC Tournament on a 15-game hitting streak, the longest of the season for the Blue Devils, and tied for the longest streak of his career. Wells led the Blue Devils in hitting with a .377 average and also had team-highs in hits (72), runs batted in (43), slugging percentage (.492), on-base percentage (.445) and total bases (94). His .352 career batting average is good for the top-10 all-time at CCSU, as are his 120 career runs, 198 hits and his 37 doubles.
Matuszak is a First Team selection in the outfield in his first season with the Blue Devils. He batted .345, second on the team, with 60 hits, 18 RBI and 36 runs scored. His on-base percentage of .438 was second on the team. He enters the tournament having reached base successfully in 13 straight games, nearing his previous best of 16 straight which he set earlier in the season.
Epps is an All-Conference selection for the fourth time in his career. He was a Second Team pick as a freshman, First Team as a sophomore and a junior, and now he is on the Second Team as a senior. Epps hit .294 with 50 hits, 13 doubles, four home runs and 29 runs batted in this season. His career in New Britain has been nothing short of spectacular. He is a .350 hitter in 200 career games played. He is third all-time in hits (256), fourth in doubles (46), first in home runs (29), second in RBI (175), fourth in runs scored (167), second in total bases (401) and ninth in slugging percentage (.548).
Epps becomes only the second Blue Devil in league history to be named All-Conference in each of his four seasons. He joins Rob Hosgood (2001-04), as the only Central player with four all-league selection in baseball in his career.
Sportman earns Second Team honors as a freshman at the utility position. He played both the outfield and shortstop on the season. He hit .284 with 48 hits, 32 RBI and a pair of home runs in his first season with the Blue Devils. In conference action he hit .319. He led the Blue Devils with 16 two-out RBI on the year. Earlier this season he had a string of 22 straight games having reached base, that is a team best.
The Blue Devils, who are the defending NEC Championships, have won four titles since 2002, the most of any team in the NEC. They hold an all-time record of 22-14 in tournament play, but are just 4-4 as the #4 seed. Central has won a title as the top seed, the second seed and the third seed, but never as the fourth seed. They open play on Friday at 12 p.m. at Dodd Stadium in Norwich.
Fans can catch all of the action live on NortheastConference.tv.