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TCNJ baseball lands six on All-Region teams

Ewing, NJ … The American Baseball Coaches Association released its 2016 NCAA Division III Mid-Atlantic All-Region teams and The College of New Jersey had six players earn regional honors.


Seniors Patrick Roberts (Hillsborough, NJ/Hillsborough), Garen Turner (Hainesport, NJ/Rancocas Valley), and Steven Volpe (Cherry Hill, NJ/Eastern Regional) were all named to the Mid-Atlantic All-Region First Team.


Senior John Rizzi (Long Hill, NJ/Watchung Hills) and sophomore Joe Cirillo (Fairfield, NJ/DePaul Catholic) were selected for the All-Region Second Team. Rounding out the six Lions was sophomore Zachary Shindler (Wantagh, NY/Wantagh), who received All-Region Third Team honors.


The teams are voted on by members of the American Baseball Coaches Association and the process is led by the ABCA NCAA Div. III All-America Committee. ABCA/Rawlings All-Region first-team selections are nominated for ABCA/Rawlings All-America honors. ABCA/Rawlings All-Americans and Gold Glove winners will be announced on the evening of Thursday, May 26, 2016.


Roberts had an outstanding season, leading TCNJ in batting average (.385), hits (67), and home runs (6). He drove in 50 runs, scored 46, drew 26 bases on balls, and boasted an on-base percentage of .466. Roberts was also an excellent right fielder, making just two errors and recording 88 putouts. 


Turner led the Lions with 53 runs batted in and matched Roberts with 98 total bases and Rizzi with 13 doubles. He scored 35 runs and also stole 12 bases in 13 attempts. Turner hit safely in all eight post-season games and finished the season with a 10-game hitting streak. He belted five home runs and five triples.


Volpe posted an 8-1 record and a 2.68 earned run average. His last three starts were all big games and he came through in the clutch in each of them. Volpe tossed eight scoreless innings in the opening round of the NCAA regional tournament, blanking an Ohio Wesleyan team that entered with the second-highest batting average (.350) in the nation. In one of this best outings of the season, Volpe received a no-decision at Kean University after giving up one unearned run in 10 innings.


Earning regional honors for the second time in his career, Rizzi spearheaded the second team. He led the nation in stolen bases by more than 10 swipes with 46. Rizzi batted .325 with 55 hits and 58 runs scored out of leadoff spot. He also walked 22 times and was hit by a pitch a school record 20 times, lifting his on-base percentage to .460. Rizzi also broke the record at TCNJ in career stolen bases with 99. Following an outstanding tournament, Rizzi was named to the NCAA Mideast Regional All-Tournament Team.


Cirillo registered an 8-2 record in 11 starts for the Lions. He tossed a complete game and combined for two shutouts during the season. Cirillo copped wins in his first four starts of the season and then his final three. He led the Lions to post-season wins over Rowan University and St. Joseph’s College of Long Island. Cirillo is now 14-3 in his career at TCNJ.


On the third team, Shindler was selected from the shortstop position. He finished the season with a .333 batting average, 55 hits, 42 runs scored, a team-high six triples, three home runs, and 85 total bases. Shindler blasted all three of his homers in the post-season. He cleared the fence twice in the New Jersey Athletic Conference Championship tournament and also homered against the College of Wooster.


The ABCA, founded in 1945, is the primary professional organization for baseball coaches at the amateur level. Its 8,200-plus members represent all 50 states and 23 countries. Since its initial meeting of 27 college baseball coaches in June 1945, association membership has broadened to include eight divisions: NCAA Division I, II and III, NAIA, NJCAA, Pacific Association Division, High School and Youth. The 73rd annual ABCA Convention will be held Jan. 5-8, 2017 in Anaheim, California.