Home Runs, Hot Bats Underscore Navs' Dominant Week in College Ball

03/11/2024 3:13 PM

Until the North Shore Navigators assemble at Fraser Field to begin the 2024 New England Collegiate Baseball League (NECBL) season in early June, the team will be highlighting its incoming players’ top performances each week on nsnavs.com and social media.

Below is the third installment of the Navs' College Baseball Report, which will appear weekly on Mondays.

LYNN, Mass. — Home runs were the story for many incoming North Shore Navigators, as the long ball played a big part in players’ hot streaks in college baseball over the second weekend of March.

Kyle Wolff (Boston College) exemplified the slugging outburst, highlighting his successful weekend against NC State with the first multi-home run game of his college career. The first baseman homered in back-to-back innings during the series finale, getting his first in the fourth before slugging another in the fifth that made it a one-run game. He was 4-for-5 with three RBI in the game and finished the weekend 8-for-17 with two doubles and five runs scored. Wolff currently leads the Eagles with a .333 batting average and 18 hits on the season.

Going yard for the first time this season was Alex Luccini (UMass Lowell), who went 2-for-5 against Oral Roberts on Saturday. His two-run homer came in the clutch, tying the game at 4-4 with two outs and two strikes in the ninth inning. Luccini collected a total of four hits, five RBI and three walks over the week for the River Hawks.

Returning NECBL All-Star Matt Chatelle (Merrimack) jumped on the home run train, hitting his first of the season in Friday’s Northeast Conference-opening set against Coppin State. Another returning Navigator with a performance to note was pitcher Brett Dunham (Northeastern), who shut down Georgia Tech’s bats last Wednesday with two strikeouts over a perfect final inning in the Huskies’ 7-0 win. 

Staying on the mound, Sawyer Duarte (Middlebury) was another veteran Navigator who had a successful weekend, pitching six innings in the Panthers’ second home game of the season against Castleton on Saturday. Duarte allowed just two singles all afternoon while striking out a career-high eight batters. 

Middlebury got success out of the arm of Owen Tross as well, who earned the win after tossing five innings of one-run ball in a Friday matchup against Keene State. Tross struck out four and allowed no extra-base hits to secure his first win of the season. 

Back to the bats, Andrew Bianco (Seton Hall) went 3-for-10 over the weekend, highlighted by a Saturday game where he went 2-for-4 with a three-run home run. Bianco’s first long ball of the season gave Seton Hall needed breathing room in an eventual win over North Florida. Bianco also scored following his second hit of the day, coming in both times he reached base. 

Dayton got strong performances out of both future Navigators on its roster in a four-game weekend series against South Dakota State. Ryan MacDougall drove in three runners, thanks in part to a two-run single in Friday’s 15-5 win. MacDougall also drew three walks in Sunday’s series finale, which the Flyers won 16-6. Mason Dobie reached base 12 times for a .600 clip over the four games, going 6-for-13 with six RBI and six walks in the series. Dobie capped off his brilliant weekend with a two-run home run on Sunday, his first homer of the season.

The home runs didn’t slow down against ranked opponents either, as Reece Moroney (Rhode Island) collected a hit in each of the Rams’ three games against No. 4 Texas A&M. He hit his first home run of the season on Sunday and finished with two runs scored and two walks in the series against the Aggies.

Kyle Jones (Stetson) collected four hits and four RBI in a four-game weekend sweep of Bradley to continue his over-.300 start to the season. Jones doubled to drive in two runners on Saturday. The center fielder also upped his season stolen base total to seven after swiping four bags during the series, while walking once and striking out just one time. Jones brought his on-base percentage to a team-best .472 and has struck out the fewest times of any Hatter hitter with more than 25 at-bats.

Jake Kulikowski (Miami) and Zach Fjelstad (Ohio State) both collected run-scoring doubles over the weekend. Kulikowski drove in two with his double in the fourth inning to give Miami its first runs against No. 13 Virginia on Sunday, while Fjelstad brought one home to score on Saturday against Cal Poly. 

The Navigators will return to historic Fraser Field and the NECBL for their 17th summer season in 2024, with first pitch set for Tuesday, June 4. Stay up to date on the latest Navs news — including further updates on current and former players — by visiting nsnavs.com and following the team on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.