May 24, 2012

Baseball Puts Four on NEIBA All-Star Team

Mathieu, Roche, Walsh, LaCroix selected among best in New England

Full NEIBA All-Star Game College Division Release (PDF)

LaCroix LaCroix earns his second selection in three years as a Raven to the NEIBA All-Star Game.

RINDGE, N.H. (May 24, 2012) – Sophomore first baseman Zach Mathieu (Derry, N.H.), graduate student center fielder James Roche (Arlington, Mass.), freshman catcher Matt Walsh (Plymouth, Mass.) and junior right fielder Nick LaCroix (Grafton, Mass.) of the Franklin Pierce University baseball team have all been selected to participate in the New England Intercollegiate Baseball Association All-Star Game, as announced Thursday by the NEIBA. This year's game is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Monday, June 4 at LeLacheur Park in Lowell, Mass.

The four Ravens will join other All-Star selections from Division II and III programs from across New England to form the College Division Team. Meanwhile, Division I All-Stars comprise the University Division Team. The Division I participants have not yet been selected, but amongst Division II and III institutions, no program could match Franklin Pierce's four selections. A year ago, the Ravens had five players selected to the event.

The consensus East Region Player of the Year, as well as 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).

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).

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 a consensus All-East Region First Team pick and was named to both the All-Northeast-10 First Team and the ABCA/Rawlings East Region Gold Glove First Team earlier this spring. He was previously selected to the NEIBA All-Star Game after his sophomore season at Bentley in 2009.

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). 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.

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 First Team selection by the ABCA, an All-East Region Second Team selection by Daktronics and an All-Northeast-10 Second Team selection earlier this spring, LaCroix was previously selected to the NEIBA All-Star Game after his freshman season 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).

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