HOBOKEN, N.J. (May 1, 2020) – With the unfortunate and abrupt end to the 2020 spring sports season brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Stevens Institute of Technology Department of Athletics will spotlighting the seniors of each of our spring teams over the next series of Fridays, who each saw their potentially final season on Castle Point come to a premature end.
The next team featured in the “Senior Spotlight” series is baseball. The Ducks abbreviated 2020 season came to an end with a 5-7 overall record with five of those seven losses coming by two runs or less.
The 2020 senior class consisting of Shaye Bartnick, Chandler Brierley, A.J. Falconite, Michael Frissora and Patrick Rood compiled 68 total victories in their four years on Castle Point. In that time, the Ducks produced a 37-17 record in Empire 8 Conference play and won the Empire 8 regular season title in 2018 with an impressive 15-3 conference record.
“This senior group was really fun to be around,” head coach Kristaps Aldins said. “What stood out to me was how much they cared about the game of baseball and their own personal development. It was clear from the beginning of the fall that they, as a group, were dedicated to making the 2020 season a success. The five of them certainly had very different personalities, but each was an absolute joy to be around. We are hoping that some will return next year. But for those who do not, it’s certainly been a great ride. Our seniors moving on to different chapters of their lives can leave Stevens knowing that they have so much to be proud of. They leave us with a ton of amazing memories that we will never forget.”
The first senior for the Ducks is Bartnick, who made 55 total starts in his career. The senior out of Brockport, New York, posted an impressive .280 batting average and .464 on base percentage in his career. Bartnick had a stellar freshman campaign, hitting .298 while sitting second on the team with nine doubles and third on the team with a .447 on base percentage. He also sits among the single-season leaders in program history for walks as he reached first via base on balls 32 times in 2017.
“From a baseball standpoint, Shaye works counts better than nearly any other hitter I have ever seen,” Aldins said. “But he has done so much for our team both on and off the field. Shaye’s lasting imprint on our baseball program will end up being much larger than what any statistics can measure.”
Brierley, who was named No. 13 on the top 20 Division III MLB Prospect List by Perfect Game earlier this season, had a stellar career on the hill for Stevens. Last season, Brierley struck out 13.2 batters per nine innings which ranks among the program’s all-time single-season leaders. The senior from Ridgewood, New Jersey, was also named a Collegiate Baseball Newspaper Player to Watch in 2020 after leading the team in batting average against in both 2018 and 2019.
“Very few student-athletes have been more committed to their baseball development than Chandler, who has played summer collegiate baseball at the highest levels possible,” Aldins said. “Even more meaningful to me has been his development as a leader for our program.”
Falconite, meanwhile, looked poised to continue his fantastic career with the Ducks with another solid season in his senior campaign. A 2019 Second Team All-Empire 8 selection, Falconite led the team with 44 hits, four home runs and 28 RBI in 2019 while hitting .333 and posting a .446 on-base percentage. The senior from Marlboro, New Jersey, had a knack for getting on base as he reached base safely in 64 of the 71 games he started in his career, including all 12 games of the 2020 season.
“A.J. works so hard both on and off the field and is such a talented individual,” Aldins said. “I remember so many times when I’d be working late and head to my car in the eighth Street Lot and hear that ping coming from our batting cage. I wouldn’t even need to look; I knew it was A.J. That really says it all about the standard of excellence that he sets for himself.”
Frissora was on track to have possibly his best season on the mound for the Ducks in his senior campaign, posting a 2.91 ERA with 22 strikeouts over 21.2 innings this season. Frissora shined in the 2019 Empire 8 Tournament, giving up just three hits and not allowing a run over 5.0 innings of relief to earn E8 All-Tournament Team honors for the first time in his career. Frissora led the team with a 2.85 ERA in 2019 and holds an impressive 3.24 ERA and 1.89 strikeout-to-walk ratio in his career.
“What a story Michael ended up crafting during his time at Stevens,” Aldins said. “From a walk-on candidate his first year to developing into our no. 1 pitcher his senior year, Michael simply worked his tail off. I can say with as much certainty as I’ve ever felt that Michael reached his maximum potential baseball-wise, which is pretty much as big of a compliment a coach can give to a student-athlete.”
Rood, the final senior for the 2020 class, also carved out an impressive career at Stevens. The senior out of Huntington Beach, California, started 109 of the Ducks’ 137 total games in his career. Rood had a career year in 2018, posting career highs in batting average (.313), doubles (7), and home runs (3). He also registered 22 multi-hit games in his career, 13 of which came in his sophomore season. In his career, Rood has driven in 52 runs with 20 doubles and six homers while also swiping 14 bases.
“Patrick has been a steady presence within our baseball program from the day he arrived on campus,” Aldins said. “After memorably hitting a home run in his first collegiate at-bat vs Kean in spring 2017, he went on to have a banner sophomore year, developing into one of the most feared hitters in the Empire 8. Patrick also ended up being one of the most versatile student-athletes we have seen, having played nearly every position in the infield.”
The 2020 senior class advanced to the Empire 8 Tournament in each of their first three seasons with the Ducks. Stevens went 28-8 in Empire 8 conference regular season contests in the last two seasons and became just the fifth team in program history to win at least 26 games in a single season in 2018.
“On behalf of our entire coaching staff, we thank the class of 2020 for all that they did and continue to do for Stevens Baseball,” Aldins said. “We wish them nothing but the best moving forward.”
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