Zach Mathieu Named ABCA East Region Player of the Year; Baseball Features Four All-Region Selections
Roche lands on Rawlings Gold Glove First Team
After earning the honor from the ABCA this week, Mathieu is now the consensus East Region Player of the Year.
RINDGE, N.H. (May 22, 2012) – Sophomore first baseman Zach Mathieu (Derry, N.H.) of the No. 14/25 nationally ranked Franklin Pierce University baseball team has been named American Baseball Coaches Association East Region Player of the Year, as announced Monday by the ABCA. He headlines four All-East Region selections for Franklin Pierce, all on the First Team, as he is joined by freshman catcher Matt Walsh (Plymouth, Mass.), graduate student center fielder James Roche (Arlington, Mass.) and junior right fielder Nick LaCroix (Grafton, Mass.). In addition, Roche earned a selection to the ABCA/Rawlings East Region Gold Glove First Team.
No other team in the region matched Franklin Pierce's four selections to the ABCA All-East Region First Team.
It is the third straight year a Raven has garnered a major regional award from the ABCA, as Ryan Thompson and Jose Macias were named East Region Pitcher of the Year in 2011 and 2010, respectively. Mathieu is now a consensus East Region Player of the Year selection, having earned the award from all three organizations which present regional awards, as he was honored by both Daktronics and the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association last week.
The Northeast-10 Conference Player of the Year, Mathieu put together one of the most impressive offensive seasons in the nation, especially given that he played in a wood-bat conference. Through May 13, he ranked among the top 50 players in the country in runs per game (1.09), runs scored (59), hits (85), doubles per game (0.41), doubles (22), triples (5), home runs per game (0.24), home runs (13), slugging percentage (.712) and total bases (156). His total bases and hits totals ranked second and third in the nation, respectively. Currently, through the NCAA Championship East Regional, Mathieu leads the Northeast-10 in slugging percentage (.672), runs scored, hits (87) and doubles. In addition, he ranks among the top five players in the Conference in batting average (.370), triples, home runs and runs batted in (49).
Now a consensus All-East Region First Team selection, Mathieu was also selected as a semifinalist for College Baseball Lineup's Tino Martinez Division II Player of the Year Award and named to the All-Northeast-10 First Team this spring. He finished one hit and four doubles shy of tying the school single-season record in both categories. In addition, he finished four home runs behind Roche, who established a new school record for home runs in a season. Mathieu paced a lineup that leads the Northeast-10 in batting average (.324), on-base percentage (.390) and slugging percentage (.460).
Walsh has picked up right where Mike Dowd left off behind the plate for the Ravens. Through the East Regional, he ranks in the top 15 in the Northeast-10 in hits (71) and runs batted in (40). Over 216 at-bats while starting all 58 games at catcher, he hit .329/.385/.426 (AVG/OBP/SLG) with nine doubles, four home runs and 15 walks. He scored 32 runs, was hit by eight pitches and stole seven bases in 10 attempts. Defensively, he threw out 22.2% of baserunners who attempted to steal on him (14-for-63). Now a consensus selection to the All-East Region First Team, Walsh also earned Northeast-10 Rookie of the Year honors this spring, and landed on both the Northeast-10 First Team and Northeast-10 All-Rookie Team.
In his lone year in Rindge after three seasons at fellow Northeast-10 member Bentley, Roche did not miss a beat, batting primarily in the three-spot for the Ravens. Through May 13, he ranks in the top 50 in the nation in runs scored (55), hits (80), doubles (18), home runs per game (0.30), home runs (16), runs batted in per game (1.07), runs batted in (58), slugging percentage (.673) and total bases (146). Roche ranks in the top 10 in the nation in total bases (5th), home runs (7th) and hits (9th). Through the East Regional, he leads the Northeast-10 in home runs (17) and runs batted in (61) and ranks in the top five in slugging percentage (.661), runs scored (57), hits (84) and doubles (19). While starting every game in center field, he hit .361/.426/.661, worked 26 walks and stole 22 bases in 30 attempts. Roche is now a consensus All-East Region First Team pick and was named to the All-Northeast-10 First Team earlier this spring. Roche previously earned All-Region honors from the ABCA in both 2008 and 2009.
Defensively, Roche committed just two errors over 143 chances in center field to post a .986 fielding percentage on his way to being selected to the East Region Gold Glove First Team. He recorded 138 put outs and three outfield assists.
After surging to an All-Northeast-10 selection last year after missing the start of the season with injury, LaCroix hit from the beginning this year and started every game in right field. He currently ranks in the top 10 in the Northeast-10 in average (.355), hits (75), doubles (14), runs batted in (44) and stolen bases (23-for-28). Over 211 at-bats, he hit .355/.414/.488 with one triple, four home runs, 21 walks and 42 runs scored. An All-East Region Second Team selection by Daktronics and an All-Northeast-10 Second Team selection earlier this spring, LaCroix also earned All-East Region honors the ABCA as a freshman in 2010.
The Ravens wrapped up the 2012 campaign at 38-19-1, reaching the 35-win plateau for the seventh straight season. The team finished as a semifinalist in the NCAA Championship East Regional for the second year in a row and made its eighth straight appearance in the NCAA Championship.
For more information on Franklin Pierce Athletics, please visit the official website of Franklin Pierce Athletics (http://athletics.franklinpierce.edu). Also be sure to follow the Ravens through the Department of Athletics' official Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/FranklinPierceRavens), its YouTube channel (http://www.youtube.com/franklinpiercesports) and its Twitter feed (http://twitter.com/FPUathletics).