03/07/2023 8:21 AM
LYNN, Mass. -- For the first time in franchise history, the North Shore Navigators will welcome players from the New Jersey Institute of Technology to their roster during the upcoming New England Collegiate Baseball League (NECBL) season.
Junior Andrew Eppinger was the only player to appear on both sides of the ball for the Highlanders last season, appearing in 16 games as a positional player and five as a relief pitcher. The Grafton native has filled a regular role in the starting lineup so far this season, posting a .304 average through his first seven games. He went 3-for-4 with a double in NJIT’s series-opening game at NC State last Friday after hitting his first collegiate home run against Purdue a weekend earlier.
Joining the North Shore pitching staff will be Eppinger’s classmate Croix Jenkins, a 6-foot-4 right-hander who has been an important pitcher for NJIT since his freshman year in 2021. Jenkins pitched in 15 and 14 games during his first two collegiate seasons, posting a pair of wins in each. Last season, the Barre native was 2-1 and struck out 14 batters in 23 innings of work. He went on to the Appalachian League and went 2-2 with three saves and fanned 24 in 25.2 innings for the Kingsport Axemen over the summer.
Eppinger and Jenkins both helped NJIT claim the America East Conference championship and make its first-ever NCAA tournament appearance in 2021. The Highlanders ultimately won a game at the NCAA Fayetteville Regional.
The Navs kick off their 16th summer of collegiate baseball on Wednesday, June 7 and will host their home opener at a renovated Fraser Field on Friday, June 9. The 2023 season includes 22 home games, as well as the return of the NECBL All-Star Game to Lynn on Sunday, July 23.