DARTMOUTH, Mass. – The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth baseball team placed three student-athletes on the D3 Baseball All-New England Teams on Monday as Matt Cronin (Framingham, Mass.) earned Pitcher of the Year and First-Team honors while Nate Tellier (Attleboro, Mass.) and Jose Vasquez (Roxbury, Mass.) both landed on the Second-Team by the collegiate baseball publication.
Cronin earned the first regional major award in program history, as the right-hander was tabbed the New England Pitcher of the Year weeks after capturing the same honor for the Little East Conference. Additionally, he became the first Corsair to land on the All-New England First-Team since 2015 when alumni Cory DeMederios accomplished the feat. Tellier and Vasquez both etched spots for themselves on the All-New England Second-Team, marking the first selections to the Second-Team since George Agostini did so as a senior in 2015.
In ten appearances, including nine starts, the righty has fanned 67 batters across 63.2 innings and has yielded just 35 hits for seven earned runs. His six wins are tied for second in the conference while ranking second in the league with 67 strikeouts and a share for second place in wins (six). Per NCAA.com through games as of May 21, Cronin's sparkling 0.99 earned run average is tied for second in the country alongside Nick Powers of New England College.
For the 2018 campaign, Cronin transitioned from relief pitcher to a starting role and instantly made an impact on the program's staff. In the Corsairs' first game of the year at the New England Baseball Complex against Worcester State, the Framingham, Mass. native struck out three in as many innings to nudge the squad to a 10-2 win before departing for Florida. He made his first career start on the bump of the historic Henley Field in Lakeland, Fla. against Wartburg, scattering six hits over five shutout innings alongside eight strikeouts. For his efforts, the junior got his first of multiple accolades this year by receiving LEC Pitcher of the Week. He led the Corsairs to a pivotal conference win over the Warriors by finishing with just one hit allowed to lower his ERA to a nation-leading 0.35. The sensational performance earned him a spot on the Apr. 23-29 D3Baseball.com Team of the Week, elevating his performance from the conference spectrum to the national platform.
Tellier was named to the LEC Second-Team, and now the D3 Baseball All-New England Second Team, wrapping up the season as the team leader in nearly every offensive category for the Blue & Gold, including batting average (.382), hits (63), triples (three), runs batted in (37), runs (34), stolen bases (19), on-base percentage (.464), slugging percentage (.570). In the field, Tellier has patrolled the field with ease, topping UMass Dartmouth outfielders in total chances (70), putouts (62), assists (seven), while recording the least number of miscues (one) for a share of second on the team in fielding percentage (.986).
Predominantly the Blue and Gold's leadoff man this season, Tellier has done a tremendous job all year of setting the table for the squad – to start the season, the outfielder had reached base safely in the first 18 games of the campaign. He sits at 18 multi-hit contests in the 2018 circuit, including several clutch base-knocks that helped propel UMass Dartmouth in a handful of come-from-behind victories. On Mar. 16 with the Corsairs tied 3-3 in the ninth against Clarkson University (N.Y.), the sophomore tattooed a two-out RBI triple over the centerfielder's head to plate the game-winning run, salvaging the nightcap and forging a doubleheader split against the Golden Knights. Later on, in the season on Apr. 26, the Attleboro native proved to be the difference in a competitive Thursday afternoon battle with Suffolk University, winner of the Great Northeast Atlantic Conference (GNAC) for four straight years. In UMass Dartmouth's fifth consecutive win, he blasted two homers, including a two-run laser in the seventh to top the Rams, 4-3. It was not the first time this year that he got to trot around the bases a pair of times in a single ballgame, as he uncorked a solo and two-run dinger the weekend before versus Western Connecticut.
Vasquez joins the aforementioned duo as part of the D3 Baseball All-New England Second-Team honor marks the first of his collegiate careers and comes following a season that saw him burst onto the scene offensively for the Corsairs. In 35 games played, the junior was amongst the top-five on the team for hits (44), RBI (25), runs (25), batting average (.367), and was tied for second on the squad with homers with four.
On two separate occasions in the 2018 campaign, Vasquez had hitting streaks of 5-plus games. From March 31 to April 12, the junior first baseman put together a seven-game streak, with five of those coming in the multi-hit variety. During that span, he had a stellar 4-for-5 showing, scoring four runs and driving in three more in an April 15 victory over Roger Williams. It marked the first of two four-hit contests during the seven game-hitting streak. As if that was not impressive enough, Jose was blanked at the plate in just one game before running off a string of 13 games with a hit from April 14 to May 4, including six of his 13 multi-hit games for the year. From April 21 to the 26, he was scorching hot at the dish as he swatted homers in three-straight games to headline a 9-for-16 streak offensively while driving in eight runs and scoring another five himself to lead the Corsairs to four-straight victories. In the field, the junior improved his fielding percentage from a season ago, finishing with a .966 mark with just 10 errors in 296 chances.
The Blue and Gold concluded its season with an overall record of 25-15. It is the third time in the past four years that UMass Dartmouth has accomplished the 25-victory feat, posting its highest winning percentage (.625) since 2004.