Before the season started there were high expectations for the 2018 NEC baseball team, and through 14 games the Pilgrims have exceeded those expectations. With a 9-7 win over Nichols College on March 26th, the Pilgrims improved to 11-3 on the season, and have now won 10 games in a row. With conference play and their home opener scheduled for Saturday, the Pilgrims are poised to have possibly the best season in school history.
The season began for the Pilgrims on March 4th, and the team did not get off to the best start by losing three of their first four games. However, the Pilgrims have not lost since, in fact they have outscored opponents 96-28 through the stretch. The streak began with a 15-1 win over Chatham University in Myrtle Beach and has featured outstanding performances such as a three game sweep in New Jersey over Centenary University and a doubleheader sweep over Lasell College this past weekend.
Before the season, the captains stressed that this would be a team effort this season, and to this point it certainly has been. While there have been some outstanding individual performances, it has taken the whole team to get off to such a good start. Currently the Pilgrims have four players with a .400 batting average or higher in Jamie Carey, Evan Delaney, Xavier Nunez and Joe Palliotte. They have an additional four hitters who are hitting above .300 in Justin Carey, John Prentice, Christian Aybar and Stanley Vargas.
While the Pilgrims have done a great job hitting for average, they have also shown a great amount of power, with nine players having at least one homerun, and Aybar and Justin Carey tied for the team lead with three. Additionally, four Pilgrims are currently at double digits in RBIs, with Xavier Nunez leading the team with 17. Once again, it speaks to the full team effort that 15 Pilgrims have driven in at least one run through the first 14 games.
So far this season NEC has been outstanding at the plate, but also on the mound. Pitching has been a major strong point for the team. In 10 of the 14 games thus far, the Pilgrim pitching staff has allowed three or fewer runs, in addition in two out of their three loses, they only surrendered two runs.
The pitching staff has been a team effort, lead by Nick Powers who is 3-0 with a 1.09 ERA in 24.2 innings pitched and Shayne Audet who is 4-0 with a 1.44 ERA in 25 innings pitched. Additionally, Jamie Carey and Jake Scanlan have been a big part of the staff with important contributions as both starters and out of the bullpen. Some notable relief pitchers have included Joseph Pascucci, who has pitched well in four appearances, and Jeam Castillo, who has yet to allow a run in his six innings of work.
The 10 game winning streak and 11-3 record highlight a very positive start to the season and a terrific showing in non-conference action. On Saturday, the games become even more meaningful when the Pilgrims have their first game in Henniker and open NAC play with a doubleheader against Thomas College.
Disclaimer: All statistics are according to NEC Athletics and are accurate as of Monday March 26th.