Wednesday, November 26, 2014 - 3:56:54 AM

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Baseball Bearcats honored by AEast

LOWELL, Mass. - On the eve of the America East Baseball Championship, six Binghamton players earned recognition for their performances in 2014. At the conference’s annual tournament picnic and awards ceremony Wednesday night at LeLacheur Park, senior center fielder Bill Bereszniewicz and junior left fielder Jake Thomas were announced as first team all-conference selections. Junior pitcher Jack Rogalla and senior second baseman Daniel Nevares were named to the second team and freshmen Eddie Posavec and Jextin Pugh earned All-Rookie honors. In addition, both Bereszniewicz and Thomas were chosen to the All-Academic Team – each for the second time.

It marked the 11th straight year the Bearcats have produced at least four all-conference players.

Bereszniewicz was an easy choice as one of the top-three outfielders after he led the America East in three offensive categories: batting average (.366), triples (5) and stolen bases (21) and played a stellar center field throughout 2014. He ranks among the top-four in the conference in seven offensive categories and has been a spark plug in the No. 2 spot in the batting order with a .435 on-base percentage. It’s the first all-conference honor for Bereszniewicz, who was an All-Rookie selection back in 2011.

“It was a well-deserved honor for an outstanding young man who has had an terrific season both offensively and defensively,” head coach Tim Sinicki said. “Bill has been our most consistent player all year and we are expecting a great effort from him over the weekend.”

Thomas earned his second straight first-team all-conference honor after another productive season in the heart of BU’s batting order. He hit .294 with a team-high six home runs and 31 RBI. Thomas had an on-base percentage of .412 and added 10 stolen bases (10-of-12) and six outfield assists to his credentials. Thomas was named America East Player of the Week twice (April 8 & 21). The junior from Merrick, N.Y. was also an America East All-Rookie selection 2012.

“For Jake to earn back-to-back first-team honors shows that he is the model of consistency,” Sinicki said. “I think people have come to realize that he is one of the most dangerous offensive players in the conference. Jake is very deserving of this honor and we look forward to him having a big weekend for us.”

Rogalla, BU’s starting pitcher for its tournament opener against Hartford Thursday night, earned his first all-conference selection. He won five games and carries a 3.29 ERA into the postseason. Opponents are hitting just .237 off him and he has collected 61 strikeouts in 82 innings this spring. The red-shirt junior’s 61 strikeouts ranks fourth in the league while his 82 innings pitched is third.

Nevares was tabbed all-conference for the third straight year. A slugger with a slick glove at second, Nevares has amped up his offense and now has five home runs, 12 extra-base hits and a team-high 34 RBI. Nevares was tabbed America East Player of the Week on May 5 after a monster week of three home runs and 12 RBI. The Puerto Rico native was a first-team selection last year and a second-team honoree in 2012.

“Jack and Danny had very solid years and performed admirably for us this season,” Sinicki noted. “They have been valuable pieces since they stepped into this program and it was nice to see them rewarded for their efforts.”

Posavec has been outstanding behind the plate after being pressed into exclusive catching duty in early April. In addition to handling the pitching staff without a day off (26 straight games), he’s been steady with the bat, hitting .315 with nine doubles. Posavec also has refuted the typical “slower catcher” label by stealing 8-of-9 bases. Posavec was named America East Rookie of the Week on April 8 when Binghamton swept the weekly awards.

Pugh has contributed as a pitcher and a hitter in his first collegiate campaign. On the hill, he has a 4.13 ERA in 17 appearances with 25 strikeouts in 32.2 innings. He provided a spark at the plate in BU’s regular-season finale at Albany, driving in two runs to help the Bearcats sew up the No. 3 seed.

“Jextin and Eddie both contributed significantly throughout the course of the year,” Sinicki said. “Jextin gave us quality innings out of the bullpen when we suffered some injuries and is counted on as a two-way player. Eddie stepped up behind the plate after an injury to the starting catcher and produced both offensively and defensively. I was not surprised that he earned this honor because he worked extremely hard this season.”

Bereszniewicz made the All-Academic Team for the second time in the last three years with his 3.45 grade-point average in Management & Finance. Thomas earned a repeat selection with his 3.53 GPA in Management. Bereszniewicz and Thomas are the fourth and fifth Binghamton players to be named to multiple All-Academic teams. In total, the Binghamton baseball program has produced 23 all-academic selections and have had at least two players named to the team eight of the last nine years.

“The fact that Bill and Jake were first-teamers and all-academic selections speaks volumes to their dedication and commitment to the mission of the program, athletic department and University,” Sinicki stated.

(Courtesy: BU Athletics)

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