Hartford, Conn. – The Trinity College baseball team, under the direction of fourth-year Head Coach Bryan Adamski, ended the 2018 season with an 18-15 record and finished in a three-way tie for second in the East Division of the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) with a 7-5 mark in conference play. The Bantams lost out on the tie-breaker, falling short of the post-season, but saw a handful of great performances by a core that will return next spring and should set the squad up to compete for the conference championship next season.
The Bantams opened up the season in Lexington, South Carolina for the first time ever after normally starting the season in Florida. The team got off to a rocky start, falling in its first two matchups of the season, but bounced back with consecutive victories against Rochester and Roger Williams. Trinity put up 16 runs against Rochester, led by sophomore Mack Lauder (Chappaqua, N.Y.) and senior Brendan Pierce (Hingham, Mass.) who hit a three-run home run and an inside-the-park grand slam, respectively, and held on for a 3-2 victory against Roger Williams. The Bantams fell twice to Case Western Reserve in their final two games in The Palmetto State to return to New England with a 2-4 overall record.
Trinity dropped three straight games back north before breaking the slump with a 3-2 victory over Westfield State on the back end of a doubleheader on March 24. Against the Owls, sophomore Alex Herbst (Clarendon Hills, Ill.) picked up his first win of the season on the hill, coming on in relief and allowing no runs on just three hits in three innings of work. This set the stage for a pivotal early season NESCAC East series at Tufts University where the Bantams came away with two clutch wins to take the series.
Against the Jumbos, junior 1B Johnny Stamatis (Ridgefield, Conn.) had three hits, scored twice and added a crucial ninth-inning RBI to lead the way in a 6-5 victory in game one. Senior closer McLane Hill (Marlborough, Conn.) picked up his fourth save of the spring in the one run victory. On Saturday, sophomore RHP Alex Shafer (Baltimore, Md.) allowed five hits and just one earned run with four strikeouts over 6.2 innings and classmate Alex Rodriguez (South Windsor, Conn.) hit a bases-loaded triple to key a five-run sixth inning in Trinity's 5-2 victory. The Bantams fell, 4-2, in the third game of the series but put themselves in a good position after the first weekend of divisional play.
After defeating Dean College, 10-8, during the week, the Bantams had another strong weekend against a NESCAC East opponent, this time Bowdoin College. After falling, 15-8, in Friday's game, Trinity bounced back with a doubleheader sweep on Saturday to pick up yet another series victory. Shafer picked up his third win of the year on the bump, going the distance in the seven inning game while striking out six and allowing just a single walk. The Bantams won game two thanks to timely hitting and a gutsy team pitching effort as rookie Justin Olson (Avon, Conn.) picked up his second career victory in relief while junior southpaw Erik Mohl (Milton, Mass.) collected the save. Senior Cooper Mooney (Southbury, Conn.) and classmate Carter Snyder (Lemont, Ill.) both went 3-for-5 with a pair of RBIs in the final game of the series to lead the way offensively.
A 7-4 mid-week loss to the Williams College Ephs preceded a three-game sweep of the Colby College Mules over the following weekend to make it three-straight NESCAC East series victories for Trinity. The Bantams outscored the Mules, 31-6, in the series and sat at 7-2 in the division ahead of their final divisional series of the year versus Bates. The squad defeated Mitchell College, 9-4, on April 17, but turned in a tough weekend versus the Bobcats, falling in all three games by a combined four runs. The sweep proved to be costly as Tufts beat Bates two-of-three times the following weekend to set up a three-way tie for the final NESCAC East playoff spot, which ultimately went to the Bobcats.
The Bantams finished the season strong, winning four of their final six games, highlighted by a 7-6 victory over in-state NESCAC West rival Wesleyan University on May 5. Trinity scored 40 runs in its final six games of the season to put the season total at 193 (T4th in NESCAC). The Bantams finished second in the league with 65 stolen bases, second in triples (17), second in home runs (16), fourth in RBIs (172), third in OBP (.386), and second in slugging percentage (.416). Trinity's pitching staff also finished second in the conference in ERA (4.40) and gave up the second fewest hits to opponents (276).
Sophomore Matt Koperniak (Adams, Mass.) enjoyed a breakout season, landing him on the 2018 D3Baseball.com All-New England Region Third Team as well as the All-NESCAC First Team. He led the Bantams in hits (47 in 121 at-bats, 6th in NESCAC), home runs (5, T3rd in NESCAC), total bases (75), slugging percentage (.620, T2nd in NESCAC), on-base percentage (.483, 6th in NESCAC), and batting average (.388, 2nd in NESCAC). He finished with 26 runs, nine doubles (T9th in NESCAC), two triples, 20 RBI, 20 walks, and nine stolen bases (T10th in NESCAC) in as many attempts while starting all 33 games. Mooney also was named to the All-NESCAC First Team, leading the Bantams in runs (27), doubles (13, 3rd in NESCAC), getting hit by a pitch (6) and RBI (24), while batting .372 (4th in NESCAC), slugging .521 (8th in NESCAC), and posting a .432 on-base percentage. He finished with 45 hits (7th in NESCAC) in 121 at-bats and adding a triple, a home run, nine walks, and nine stolen bases (T10th in NESCAC) in 13 attempts in 32 games (all starts) as Trinity's second baseman. Mooney recorded 57 put-outs and 70 assists with just five errors for a .962 fielding percentage and turned 19 double plays.
Senior captain Christian Orsini (Livingston, N.J.) enjoyed a career year with a slash line of .304/.376/.382, 16 RBIs, 31 hits, four doubles and 11 stolen bases. Stamatis capped off his junior year with 18 RBIs while Rodriguez and Pierce drove in 17 and 16 runs, respectively. Shafer and Mohl finished as a solid 1-2 punch on the hill for Trinity as Shafer led the starters with five wins, a 2.52 ERA (7th in NESCAC) in 56.0 innings pitched, and Mohl finished with a 6.61 K/9 ratio. Hill led all pitchers in the conference with seven saves and 14.06 strikeouts per nine.
Trinity had a successful year in the classroom as well, as Mooney, Hill, Stamatis, senior Anthony Egeln Jr. (Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.), junior Brad Whitman (Salisbury, Mass.) and sophomore Colby Fortin (Bow, N.H.) were each named to the NESCAC All-Academic squad thanks to their hard work in the classroom. Egeln Jr. was also named to the NESCAC All-Sportsmanship team as well.
This spring marked the final season for Mooney, Hill, Orsini, Egeln, Snyder, Pierce, Nick Fusco (Orange, Conn.), Ryan Vultaggio (Vero Beach, Fla.), Tyler Forgione (North Branford, Conn.), Matt Toth (New Canaan, Conn.) and Dan Marini (Nahant, Mass.). Over the last four years, this group has helped the Bantams compile 69 wins and reach one NESCAC Championship game while establishing themselves among Trinity's all-time leaders in numerous statistical categories.