The march to the College World Series continues as the Golden Rams continue to use timely bats and incredible pitching to move forward. As of this weekend the baseball team currently ranks fifth in the country with a 29-2 overall record and are unbeaten in PSAC play. Only Tampa, Mount Olive, Sonoma State and Southern Arkansas sit above West Chester in the NCAA Division II poll but, with another great week, the Rams could surpass one of those teams.
It was a very successful week as the Rams’ bats proved that not even rain showers and colder temperatures could keep them down. In three games the Rams scored 31 runs, 15 of them in two games against division rivals East Stroudsburg.
The Rams started the week by trouncing Wilmington 14-2, the second time this year that West Chester has beaten them by that score. Chris Ott (2-0) picked up the win in the nine inning affair and Matt Cotellese continued his hot streak going 3-4 on the day with three RBIs. As the current MVP for the Rams, Cotellese upped his average to .446 with 33 RBIs thus far.
Cotellese could quite possibly be the best player in Division II baseball right now. His bat has earned him back to back Player of the Week honors and his throwing arm has made most players think twice about testing him on the base paths. Not only does he seem to hit in every game and play the field well, Cotellese is also perfect on the base paths with ten steals in as many attempts. Watch for Cotellese to earn some high honors before this season ends.
Transfer student Frank Nunan has also been a great addition to this lineup, hitting from the nine-hole and adding a solid average of .390. Nunan also went 3-4 against Wilmington.
Some of the best bats the Golden Rams can boast are still just getting things going. Returning Rookie of the Year shortstop, Nick Spisak, is flying under the radar with a .360 average. That sounds completely ridiculous to say someone is under the radar with that high of a batting average, but teams play the Rams fearing the power bats of Cotellese and Pare. However, it is Spisak who gets on base and allows Cotellese to have 33 RBIs and Pare to have 28.
With seven of the Rams’ starters with averages well above .300 and other players like Thorp and Stumpo coming up with timely hits, it does not seem like any team on the Rams’ schedule that will visit Serpico Stadium will be able to walk through the gates without trembling.
Up next for the Golden Rams on their march to the College World Series will be the exciting finale of the Bill Giles Classic, which will be played at Citizen’s Bank Park. With the Philadelphia Phillies off to a rough start and the first dollar dog night at the park not until April 15, students can go and enjoy the beautiful sights of Citizen’s Bank Park and watch the Golden Rams add another accomplishment to their already long list in this season by thumping USP on Tuesday at 4 p.m.
Also this week, the Rams will visit Philadelphia University for a break from their long string of division rivalry before playing a home-and-home with Mansfield in division play. The first doubleheader will be at Serpico Stadium Friday afternoon at 1 p.m. before traveling to Mansfield the next day for another doubleheader.
Sounds like trouble for Mansfield, who currently sit in second place behind the Rams in the PSAC East with a 3-1 division record, 19-9 overall.
Ken Schmidt is a third-year student majoring in communication studies. He can be reached at KS609536@wcupa.edu.