Smith, Groh and Crean Named First Baseball Award Winners of 2008

Release: 02/25/2008
Courtesy: America East Communications

CAMBRIDGE, Mass.-- Senior Curt Smith (Willemstad, Curacao/Peter Suyvesant) of the Maine baseball team captured the first America East Player of the Week of the 2008 season with strong performances at the plate last week. Binghamton senior Zach Groh (Reading, Pa./The Perkiomen School) took home the Pitcher of the Week, while Albany second baseman Kyle Crean (Miller Place, N.Y./Miller Place) earned his first collegiate weekly honor as Rookie of the Week. Click here for full Weekly Release in PDF.

Smith had an outstanding opening day for the Black Bears, including a 2-for-3 game with a run scored and three RBI in a comeback win over Delaware State. Smith followed that up with a 4-for-5, three run, RBI performance in the second game of the doubleheader. He also blasted a home run in each game and finished the day with a .750 batting average.

Groh tossed five shutout innings in his first outing of 2008. That performance earned him a combined shutout win against James Madison. Groh gave up just three walks and three hits, and recorded three strikeouts in the performance.

Crean played all three games for the Great Danes, making 10 plate appearances and rounding the bases for three runs. The rookie blasted two hits, drove in one run and drew two walks. In the 12-4 win over Notre Dame, Crean went 1-for-4 with an RBI and two runs scored.

Team Notebooks:

UAlbany (1-2 overall, 0-0 AE record) went 1-2 to open the season at the Clearwater Invitational at Jack Russell Stadium in Clearwater, Fla... Opened the season with an 8-3 loss to Iowa on Friday, Feb. 22... Junior Dave West (Toms River, N.J./Toms River North) blasted a two-run home run in the seventh inning to bring UAlbany within 6-3... On Saturday, Feb. 23, the Great Danes lost a 5-4 decision to Liberty... UAlbany jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the second inning on run-scoring hits by junior left fielder Gary Pitcheralle (Mechanicville, N.Y./Mechanicville/Alfred State), junior Zac Halloran (Albany, N.Y./Bishop Maginn) and senior catcher Tom Zink (Guilderland, N.Y./Guilderland/Hudson Valley C.C.)... The Great Danes won their final game of the invitational on Sunday, Feb. 24 over Notre Dame, 12-4... UAlbany opened the scoring with a run in the first inning on an RBI-double by senior Mike Konstanty (Oneonta, N.Y./Oneonta/Winthrop)... The Great Danes tallied five runs in the second inning to take a 6-2 lead, highlighted by Zink’s two-run double and followed by a two-run homer by sophomore Brendan Rowland (Albany, N.Y./Colonie Central)... Junior designated hitter Ryan Gugel (Batavia, N.Y./Batavia/Genesee C.C.) drilled a two-run homer in the fourth inning to give UAlbany an 8-2 lead... UAlbany scored their final four runs in the top of the seventh inning on run-scoring hits by freshman Kyle Crean (Miller Place, N.Y./Miller Place), Rowland and Konstanty... Junior left-hander Dave Noble earned his first win by pitching two scoreless innings, yielding just one hit.

Binghamton (1-2, 0-0) opened its season by winning one of three games at James Madison. The Bearcats took the opener 4-0 before dropping a twinbill, 8-7 and 3-1... Senior ace Zach Groh (Reading, Pa./The Perkiomen School) notched his 18th career victory (18-8) with five shutout innings. Groh (1-0), a two-time first team America East all-star and its 2006 Pitcher of the Year, struck out three before giving way to classmate Gio Yannuzzi (Binghamton, N.Y./Binghamton), who tossed four shutout innings of relief for his second career save... Offensively, junior shortstop Kyle Klee (Rochester, N.Y./McQuaid Jesuit) went 6-for-12 in the series, with two doubles and three RBI... The Bearcats had to replace six position starters from last spring's 28-win, record-setting team. Head coach Tim Sinicki's opening lineup featured five underclassmen and just two players who started the America East championship game last May.

Maine (2-0, 0-0) began the season with a doubleheader sweep of Delaware State University... It is the first time that Maine has started the season 2-0 since 2003 when the Black Bears began 3-0... The Black Bears belted five home runs on opening day including a pair by Curt Smith (Willemstad, Curacao/Peter Stuyvesant) and Mark Ostrander (Hopkinton, Mass./Hopkinton)... Ostrander had a pair of home runs in the first game including a two-run shot to tie the game in the top of the seventh inning... Matt Howard (Weston, Mass./Weston) also homered on Sunday in his first collegiate at-bat... Billy Cather (Worcester, Mass.) had a hit in both games for Maine on Sunday to extend his hitting streak to 18 games dating back to the 2007 season... Maine had eight doubles in the two games on Sunday... Maine will finish its series with Delaware State on Monday with a doubleheader before traveling to UNLV next weekend for a series.

Vermont (0-0, 0-0) opens its 111th baseball season with a three-game series at defending Sun Belt Champion New Orleans this weekend ... Head coach Bill Currier begins his 21st season at the helm of the Catamounts ... Currier has 13 letterwinners back including two key players who were redshirts a year ago, junior LHP Joe Serafin (Tarrifville, Conn./Simsbury), a first-team America East All-Conference selection in 2006, and senior IF/OF Miguel Magrass (West Roxbury, Mass./Salisbury), a career .346 hitter who was the 2004 America East Rookie of the Year ... Serafin leads a deep starting rotation that also includes junior LHP Justin Albert (Hull, Mass./Hull) who was second in the conference last year with a 2.21 ERA, 1.65 in conference games and senior 1B/RHP Kyle Henry (Brattleboro, Vt./Brattleboro/Connecticut), who led the conference with six complete games. Henry also led the Cats with 5 HR and 28 RBI ... Senior Kyle Massie (Rutland, Vt./Rutland) will anchor the left side of the infield at third base. He led the team with 12 SB in 2007 ... A pair of talented transfers are among UVM’s 13 newcomers ... Sophomore IF/OF Justin Milo (Edina, Minn./Edina/Cornell) hit .426 at Cornell in 2007 and was a first team, All-Ivy League selection ... Junior OF Todd Allen (Oriskany, N.Y./Oriskany/Herkimer County CC) was a two-time NJCAA Division II All-American at Herkimer County CC ... SS Matt Duffy (Milton, Mass./St. Sebastian’s) and OF Mark Micowski (Haddam, Conn./Xavier) highlight the 10 rookies on the Catamounts.