The Queens College baseball team is really good this year — but we knew that already. As of writing this (April 13th), the Knights sit at 20-9 on the season with their .690 winning percentage trailing only Molloy University for the best in the East Coast Conference. More on the Molloy Lions later. While it’s true the Knights have struggled to tame the Lions thus far, their success throughout the season has been undeniable.
The Knights are currently ranked as the eighth best team in the East Region by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association Division II Poll, trailing mainly traditional powerhouses in the region. The Knights hold an impressive 16-5 non conference record, with six of those wins coming against other regionally-ranked teams. The Knights split a four-game series with #6 ranked Goldey-Beacom College, defeated #5 ranked Southern Connecticut State University in a three-game series, bested #9 ranked Wilmington University (Del.) in a one-off game, and took down the #7 ranked Lions in one game in a four-game in-conference series.
Half of the conference games the Knights have played thus far have been against the Lions, resulting in a 4-4 conference record which places them in fourth place in the ECC standings. However, don’t expect the Knights to sit at .500 for long. They, alongside the Lions, are the only teams in the ECC to have an above .500 record, with St. Thomas Aquinas College standing at 15-15 and the other four teams in the conference having a losing overall record.
Taking a glance at the statistical leaders in the ECC, you’re greeted with blue and red at nearly every statistic you look at. On the mound, the Knights have two pitchers dominating the field. Ace lefty Liam Pulsipher leads the ECC with an impressive 2.81 ERA and has a Pitcher of the Week honor under his belt. Danny Gargano’s eight saves leads the ECC, doubling the next closest person. Maybe we’ll start hearing trumpets at Hennekens Stadium here on campus instead of Citi Field.
Those two are just a few of the factors going into the Knights’ stupendous defense, which has given up a conference-low 166 runs. With only 36 errors through 29 games, the Knights have only a single error more than the conference-best Lions.
Don’t get it twisted though, the Knights offense is just as good as their defense. They have a conference-high 28 home runs and have been walked more than any other team with 151 walks tallied so far.
Transfer Anthony Fontana is a large part of that. He leads the conference with six homers, while utilityman Reed Hoskins is trailing him by one home run; it seems as if Hoskins has found that old magic he had when he was named to the All-ECC First Team two seasons ago.
Fontana isn’t only among the home runs leaders in the conference, as he’s also second in runs batted in — trailing only freshman Jorsixt Jimenez. Jimenez, a Queens native, has won back-to-back Rookie of the Week honors, and is shaping up to be a real contender in the Rookie of the Year race.
However, Jimenez and Fontana aren’t the only newcomers showing out in a Knights uniform. Transfer Francis Segarra is tied for fourth in the conference in batting average with teammate Marc Cisco, and is tied for third in total hits with Fontana at 40 apiece.
Returning players are doing their part too. Cisco, the reigning ECC Player and Rookie of the Year leads the conference in walks (29) and on-base percentage (.548). As mentioned earlier, Hoskins is one deep ball away from tying for first in home runs, but he also trails only Cisco in walks with 24 alongside Matt Filip. Hitting dingers and showing patience to get walked is a good combination, leading to him — again — trailing only Cisco in on-base percentage at .509.
Listing statistics our Knights are on top of in the conference could go on forever. The real concern is winning ballgames, and the Knights have proven they can do just that against anyone. The only team that has given them trouble is the aforementioned Molloy University Lions, who have won the last two ECC championships; with the most recent being in a victory over the Knights. In the only series between these two teams in the regular season, the Lions got the better end of the stick, winning three games to Queens’ one. However, two of those three games were decided by a mere two runs.
With a 22-11 record to Queens’ 20-9 record, the two are seemingly destined for a rematch of last year’s championship; so long as the Knights can dominate conference games like they’ve shown they can likely do.
While the Molloy hump has once again presented itself to the Knights this season, there’s no denying the Knights have the talent all-around to win the big one that has eluded them since 1998. Now it’s just a matter of the players buckling down and putting in the work to get gold.
All statistics are as of April 13. The Knights play a four-game series against Lincoln University from April 14 to 16.