Heading into the 2019 season, New England Baseball Journal highlights the top-20 college hitters at New England schools.
UConn | Junior | SS | Staten Island, N.Y.
Prato commands shortstop for the Huskies and gets it done with the bat, too. He hit .324 with 23 RBI and 42 runs scored as well as a team-leading 79 hits and 18 stolen bases. Prato had multiple hits in 24 of the Huskies’ 59 games and reached base at a .388 clip. After helping UConn to the NCAA tournament as the No. 1 team in New England last year, Prato hit .261 in 33 games as a member of the Cape Cod Baseball League’s Bourne Braves during the summer.
Bryant | Redshirt Sophomore | OF | Millbury, Mass.
Ward enjoyed one of the best seasons of any Division 1 hitter in the country, regularly standing atop the Bryant lineup as only a redshirt freshman. He was the first player in Bryant’s Division 1 history to hit above .400 in a season as his .409 average ranked fourth nationally. He led all of college baseball with 1.8 hits per game and set program records for hits (101) and total bases (157). He struck out only 10 times over 247 at-bats during his monster season.
Northeastern | Senior | 1B | Westwood, Mass.
Farrell hit .342 in 56 games for the Huskies, who earned their second conseutive Colonial Athletic Association regular-season title. However, his power numbers stood out the most. The former Xaverian Brothers High School standout led all New Englanders with 63 RBI and posted a whopping 1.043 OPS. In addition to hitting 11 home runs, he hit 16 doubles and eight triples, meaning that 35 of his 77 hits were for extra bases.
Maine | Senior | IF | Miami, Fla.
Casals was a force in the America East Conference last year while playing several positions. Third base was his primary spot, but he produced at the plate no matter where he played, hitting .304 with a league-leading 14 home runs — including three multi-homer games — and 49 RBI. Casals slugged .597 to lead the Black Bears and also posted 11 doubles. He was a unanimous selection to the All-America East first team.
Bryant | Junior | OF | Mahwah, N.J.
Ciliento has taken over the top spot of the lineup with Ryan Ward and shortstop Jimmy Titus (Stafford, Conn.) both back to full health this spring, but the junior was a key cog last year as a first-team All-Northeast Conference performer. He hit .377 with three home runs and 31 RBI in 2018, ranking second to Ward on the team with 72 hits, including 14 doubles. Ciliento led the Bulldogs with eight runs scored and drove in three more through six games this spring.
Sacred Heart | Redshirt Sophomore | IF | Darien, Conn.
Frasca took the field as a Pioneer for the first time last spring after transferring from Division 3 Suffolk University and posted the top returning average on the team at .307. Also a key reliever who went 4-1 with a save on the mound, Frasca drove in 25 runs during his debut season at the Division 1 level and saw 10 of his 55 hits go for doubles, many coming during his 13 multiple-hit games.
Boston College | Sophomore | OF | Sudbury, Mass.
Galland burst onto the scene while playing in all but one game for the Eagles as a true freshman. He finished second on the team with a .316 average and 54 hits, including 10 doubles, but he made the biggest impact on the game once he reached first base as he successfully swiped 28 bags in 31 attempts. Galland finished with 36 runs scored and 68 total bases. He then hit .262 for the Cape Cod League’s Harwich Mariners.
Dartmouth | Senior | 2B | Hopedale, Mass.
Sullivan was the ultimate breakout player for the Big Green last season after he stepped to the plate only 20 times through his first two years. The Rivers School product was 27-of-50 to start his junior campaign and finished the year with a team-leading .340 average. In addition, he scored 35 runs and led the entire Ivy League with a .456 on-base percentage that was aided by 29 walks.
Quinnipiac | Senior | OF | Southington, Conn.
Though he hit only.232 during his second season after transferring from San Jacinto College, Scafariello brings his power stroke back to a Bobcats lineup that led the New England region with 58 home runs. The in-state product and All-MAAC first-team selection hit 15 homers while also recording 12 doubles and 45 RBI. He became Quinnipiac’s all-time Division 1 home run king with his first of this season and the 31st of his career.
Quinnipiac | Junior | IF/C | Bow, N.H.
Vulgamore brings a combination of hitting for average and power to Quinnipiac as he finished his second collegiate season with a .298 average, 10 homers and 40 RBI in 53 games. He slugged.495 with 62 hits, ranking third on the team in that department. Scafariello was the only other MAAC player last season to finish among the league’s top 10 in homeruns, RBI and stolen bases, the latter of which he totaled nine.
Hartford | Senior | OF | Ramsey, N.J.
Bardzell hit .316 for the Cape Cod Baseball League’s Bourne Braves over the summer after earning his second straight All-America East nod for the league champion Hawks. During the spring, he led the conference with a .343 batting average, .619 slugging percentage and 43 RBI. His 13 doubles, five triples and nine home runs all were team-leading marks that furthered his totals from a freshman season in which he hit .268.
Hartford | Junior | IF | Ansonia, Conn.
Ardito held the title as being one of the hardest Division 1 hitters in New England to strike out last season as he did so only 13 times in 193 at-bats for a 14.8 rate that was 16th nationally. The Notre Dame-West Haven graduate hit .295 with 12 doubles, three triples and 29 RBI to rank second among the team’s returning players. He was named second-team All-New England as a third baseman.
UMass Lowell | Senior | 1B | Medford, Mass.
Passatempo is the most powerful hitter in the River Hawks’ Division 1 history as he entered the spring with 26 home runs and 114 RBI in 150 career games. Last season, the Malden Catholic and Salisbury School product hit .304 with 10 doubles, eight homers, 32 RBI and 43 runs scored en route to earning All-America East second-team honors. He also was an All-Rookie pick earlier in his career.
Yale | Senior | 1B | Pound Ridge, N.Y.
Dey entered the 2019 campaign with 83 RBI in 120 career games for the Bulldogs after hitting seven home runs and driving in 35 during a junior year that ended with first-team All-New England honors. Regularly the Yale designated hitter and a relief pitcher, Dey posted a career-high 52 hits last year with six doubles and one triple. He hit .306 with 22 runs scored and slugged .476.
Holy Cross | Junior | SS | Westfield, N.J.
Rinaldi was a regular on the infield for the Crusaders last season and earned All-Patriot League first-team honors after hitting .320 with 29 runs scored and 48 hits, including a team-high 10 doubles, in 44 games. The hit parade continued into the summer as he remained on Fitton Field as a member of the Futures League’s Worcester Bravehearts and led the circuit with a .379 average and ranked second with 61 hits.
Division 2 & 3
So. New Hampshire | Junior | 3B | Bow, N.H.
Blandini established himself as one of the top hitters in the entire East Region after he took over a starting slot last season. In 58 games during the Penmen’s run to the Division 2 College World Series, Blandini hit .325 with 13 doubles, 10 triples, two homers and 49 RBI, ranking in a tie atop the region in the last category. The Bow, N.H., native also walked 30 times to help his .412 on-base percentage and stole 15 bases before hitting a home run in this season’s opener.
Bentley | Graduate | IF | Arlington, Mass.
Samko returns to the diamond as a graduate student for the Falcons after ranking second in the Northeast-10 Conference and tops on the team with a .374 batting average last season. The regular second baseman and a top-two hitter in the batting order, Samko led the team with 40 runs scored and drove in 36 thanks to nine doubles, three triples and a home run. He posted 67 hits, the most by a Falcon since 2002, after missing the entire 2017 season due to injury.
Wheaton | Junior | C | Cumberland, R.I.
Though seven Division 3 hitters from New England finished with better than a .400 average last season, Raposo’s .434 mark was the highest in the region by 22 points and ranked in the top 35 nationally. The Wheaton backstop hit 19 doubles, three triples and three homers among his 69 hits and slugged .648. After earning All-NEWMAC first-team honors during the spring, Raposo hit .260 with 17 RBI in 28 games for the Futures League’s Martha’s Vineyard Sharks.
Western New England | Senior | IF | Riverside, Conn.
Loparco was the straw that stirred the drink for one of New England’s top offenses a season ago, leading the region with 55 runs scored. The Greenwich High product and rising senior was the Commonwealth Coast Conference Player of the Year as a .382 hitter with 12 doubles, two triples, a home run, 37 RBI and 19 stolen bases. Over his career, Loparco has scored 106 runs, and he has hit safely 153 times for a career .327 average.
Westfield State | Senior | OF | Bellingham, Mass.
Crowley is the top returning power hitter in New England’s Division 3 ranks as he slugged 12 home runs and drove in 55 for the Owls as a junior. The Bellingham, Mass., native ranked fourth in the MASCAC with his .373 average in 43 games after hitting at a .395 clip as a sophomore. Despite the slight average drop, his RBI total increased by 15 and his home runs by five to lead the region’s hitters. Crowley also hit 14 doubles and four triples and walked 27 times.