Saint Louis will head to the Atlantic 10 conference championship for the third time in school history. This visit, the Billikens are the top seed in the tournament for the first time. The conference tournament has been good to the Bills, as SLU has won the tournament in both of its previous appearances.
The Billikens opened the final week of 2012 with a win over Missouri Valley foe Southern Illinois in Sauget, Ill. Saint Louis then took on the Northwestern Wildcats of the Big Ten. The Wildcats snapped SLU’s win streak at nine games with a 1-3 loss on May 18. The Bills responded to win the final game of the series and end the regular season on a high note with a 4-0 shutout on May 19.
BILLIKEN RECORD BOOK:
• Senior Travis Parker holds SLU’s all-time mark in career saves with 22. He also broke his own single-season save record with his 11th save on May 13. He now has 12 on the seaon.
• Junior Mike Levine is second all-time in career assists with 533. Nick Steiner holds the all-time mark at 562.
• Junior Alex Alemann is second all-time in career wins with 21. Dave Sever holds the all-time mark with 22.
• Freshman Alec Solé is second in single season assists with 184, Mike Levine is third with 182. Levine currently holds the single season record with 187 in 2010.
• Alex Alemann is tied for eighth in single season wins with 7.
• Travis Parker is tied for the most appearances in a single season with 26. Joe Buehler set the SLU standard of 26 in 2004.
• On March 6, 2012 against Southeast Missouri State, the Billikens set a school record for runs scored in a contest with 22. They also set the standard for HBP with 7.
• From March 4 through March 25, Saint Louis recorded 13 straight victories, a program-best win streak.
• The 4-0 victory over Northwestern on May 19 was the Billikens’ 40th victory of the season, a new standard at Saint Louis.
ACROSS THE DIAMOND
The Minutemen enter the A-10 tournament as the fourth seed. UMass has one of the top pitching duos in the conference, led by Dennis Torres and Joe Popielarczyk. The Minutemen have a team ERA of 3.64, third-best in the A-10. Offensively, Rob McLam sets the table for UMass with a .333 average and a .445 on-base percentage, both team bests. Earlier this season, Saint Louis dropped two of three contests against UMass at home.
The Spiders have powered their way to the no. 5 seed in the A-10 tournament. Richmond has blasted 56 home runs this season, the most in the conference. They are led at the plate by Chris Cowell, who leads the NCAA with 18 long balls to go a .273 average. On the hill, Zak Sterling boasts a 2.91 ERA with a 6-1 record.
The Flyers share the regular season conference title with the Billikens with a 17-7 conference mark. The duo of Brian Blasik (.347) and Bobby Glover (.339) pace the Dayton offense. The Flyers lead the A-10 with a .295 team batting average and 156 stolen bases. The Dayton pitching staff has a 4.94 team ERA. Tim Bury is the top pitcher on the staff with a 3.01 ERA and a 7-2 record.
The Rams enter the A-10 tournament with the three seed. Jeff Roy leads the squad in batting average (.364), slugging (.498) and on base percentage (.449). URI has great one-two punch at the top of their rotation with Sean Furney (2.85 ERA) and Anthony Pisani (1.71 ERA). Rhode Island leads the conference in runs scored with 358 on the season.
The Hawks are making their first postseason tournament appearance and have earned the six seed. Ryan Pater is the top hitter for St. Joseph’s, boasting a .279 batting average. He also has a team-best 11 steals. Kyle Mullen is the top starter for the Hawks with a 6-4 record and a 3.13 ERA. His 78 strikeouts are fourth-best in the A-10.
COMMANDING THE ZONE
The Billikens pitching staff has the fewest walks allowed (127) in the A-10 and is third in strikeouts (374). In 84 innings pitched, Alex Alemann has allowed 19 free passes, fourth in the A-10 among starting pitchers.
SHUTTING THE DOOR
At the end of the game, Travis Parker has thrown 36.2 innings over 26 appearances, notching 12 saves. He has also struck out 32 and has not allowed an earned run this season. Parker has now gone 39.1 innings without allowing an earned run, dating back to last season.
AK LEADS THE WAY
Alex Kelly has had a terrific junior year for Saint Louis. The left fielder leads the team in batting average, slugging percentage, runs scored, hits, RBIs and home runs. He and fellow transfer Grant Nelson are the only Bills to start all 52 contests this season.
WALK LIKE A BILLIKEN
The Billikens own a .382 on-base percentage this season, best in the A-10. Their 250 walks are second in the A-10. Senior Marco DiRoma leads the team with 38 free passes, third in the conference. Junior Mike Levine is second in the A-10 with 19 hit by pitches. The Billikens have finished in the A-10 top three in walks in every season of head coach Darin Hendrickson’s tenure
SEASON OF THE STREAK
Saint Louis has had streaks of all varieties this season. Junior Grant Nelson has had the longest hitting streak of the year at nine games. Nelson also has a season-best 26-game on base streak. Earlier this season, the Bills rattled off 13 consecutive wins, a SLU record winning streak. Junior Alex AlemannTravis Parker is currently on a similar streak of 39.1 innings.
had a 32.1 inning streak without allowing an earned run to start the season. Senior
The Billikens were ranked 30th in the Mar. 26 Collegiate Baseball Newspaper to earn the first national ranking in school history. The Bills have made the NCAA postseason tournament three times, but have never earned a spot in any of the national polls.
VIGLIAROLO EARNS A-10 ROOKIE OF THE WEEK
Mike Vigliarolo powered the Billikens to a conference sweep of St. Bonaventure to put Saint Louis in a tie for first place in the A-10. TAgainst the Bonnies, the Smithtown, N.Y., native hit .500 (5-10) with a .600 slugging percentage and .545 on-base percentage. In addition to his balanced production at the plate, he showed prowess in the field, going error-free in 26 chances on the week.
ALEMANN NAMED A-10 PITCHER OF THE WEEK
Junior RHP Alex Alemann earned Atlantic 10 Pitcher of the Week honors for his efforts in the series opener against Northern Illinois. It is the second time he has been honored. Alemann also received accolades on Mar. 5 for his game against St. Mary’s College.
KELLY EARNS CONFERENCE HONOR
Junior Alex Kelly won Atlantic 10 Player of the Week on Feb. 27 for his series against Mount St. Mary’s. In the four-game series, the Fort Collins, Colo., native ripped his second home run of the season, while maintaining a .583 average. He also crossed the plate eight times, while adding a double and a RBI.