Season Recap: Baseball Team Bounces Back From 2015; Wins Ivy League Title
PRINCETON, N.J. – Just one season removed from a 7-32 campaign, the Princeton baseball team won the Ivy League Championship Series and finished with 24 victories. Here’s a season recap on the Tigers.
Signature Wins: After dropping the first game of the series vs. Georgetown in extra innings, Princeton bounced back with two victories. In the finale, junior Chad Powers threw a complete game shutout to help the Tigers take three out of four from the Hoyas (Mar. 20). In the team’s 4-0 victory, Powers scattered seven hits and struck out one hitter over nine innings. 18 of his 27 outs were ground balls. Freshman Joseph Flynn hit his first collegiate home run with a two-run blast in the second frame.
The Tigers began Ivy League play with a 4-0 weekend at Clarke Field (Apr. 2-3). The team’s two wins over Dartmouth were of the walk-off variety as Billy Arendt’s double in game one and Flynn’s single in game two proved to be the difference.
One game after fighting out of a bases-loaded jam in the bottom of the seventh inning for an 11-9 victory, Princeton scored 25 runs to complete a sweep of Brown (Apr. 10). The Tigers broke a program record with 36 runs in a doubleheader. Junior Zack Belski helped power Princeton in the nightcap with a program-record eight RBIs, topping a record that has stood for 84 years and been shared by six Princeton players.
The 25 runs are the most Princeton has scored in a game since May 7, 1992 (Monmouth), and the second-most in program history; on March 29, 1974, Princeton scored 29 in a win over Ursinus.
In game three of the Ivy League Championship Series (May 15), the Tigers found themselves down to their potential last at-bat of the season. Princeton’s winning rally started with a hit by Hoy. A walk by junior Danny Baer and Belski hit-by-pitch load the bases with no out. Flynn was also hit-by-a-pitch, tying the contest at 1-all. Yale would make a pitching change, bringing in Drew Scott. Scott got a strikeout, but then threw a wild pitch that scored Baer and sent Princeton to the NCAA Tournament.
Ivy League Pitcher of the Year: Chad Powers
Ivy League Coach of the Year: Scott Bradley
All-Ivy League: Billy Arendt (first team), Zack Belski (first team), Jesper Horsted (first team), Danny Hoy (first team), Chad Powers (first team, unanimous), Nick Hernandez (second team), Keelan Smithers (second team)
Lafayette Regional All-Tournament Team: Danny Hoy
Ivy League Pitcher of the Week: Chad Powers (Mar. 22, Apr. 19, May 4)
Ivy League Player of the Week: Zack Belski (Apr. 12), Billy Arendt (Apr. 19)
Ivy League Rookie of the Week: Jesper Horsted, Joe Flynn (Apr. 12)
CoSIDA Academic All-District: Chad Powers (May 5)
Notes: The Tigers finished with 24 wins … Princeton won its eighth Ivy League title and made its 12th appearance to the NCAA Tournament … The Tigers were 45th in the country in double plays per game (0.93) … The team placed in the top 100 nationally in WHIP (1.35, 67th), hits per allowed nine innings (8.61, 68th), ERA (3.95, 77th) … Powers was the first Tiger to win Ivy League Pitcher of the Year since Mike Ford in 2013 … The team’s five All-Ivy first team players were the program’s most since 2000 … Hoy finished in the Ivy League’s top ten in runs (41), hits (55), doubles (11), home runs (five), RBI (28), total bases (81), stolen bases (nine), batting average (.322) and slugging percentage (.474) … Nick Hernandez was second in the conference in RBI (33) while Zack Belski was tied for fourth (28).
Looking Ahead: Five of Princeton’s seven all-conference players return next year including Powers, the Ivy League Pitcher of the Year. The Tigers will need more pitching depth though as they graduate three players who made at least four starts and one of its top relievers.