Last week's two pitching victories propel him to weekly honors
WILLIMANTIC, Conn. - Before the season began, 45th-year head coach Bill Holowaty felt that pitching - especially starting pitching - could be the long suit of the Eastern Connecticut State University baseball team in 2013.
So far, he has proven to be a prophet.
At right: Tom Darby
On Monday, senior lefty Tom Darby (Middletown, RI) became the second Eastern starting pitcher in two weeks to be named Pitcher-of-the-Week by the Little East Conference after he won two games in seven days during the week ending this past Sunday.
On Wednesday, Darby was additonally honored as the ECAC New England Division III Pitcher-of-the-Week.
The weekly honors are the first in the career of Darby, who recovered from arm problems last year (which had relegated him to two brief appearances in three season) to win all six of his decisions with a 3.12 ERA.
Through the first eight games (seven wins) of this year, Darby has been the anchor of a staff which has fashioned a 2.22 ERA with 82 strikeouts and 22 walks in 69.0 innings. In starting roles, Darby and fellow seniors Evan Chamberlain (Amston) and Andrew Merritt (Norwalk) and junior Greg Porter (Mystic) have struck out 54 and walked only 11 in 40 1/3 innings, with a miniscule 2.01 ERA. The starters have pitched into the fifth inning on all but one occasion.
Last week, the 6-foot-3 inch, 200 pound Darby won both of his starts at Baseball Heaven in Yaphank, NY against Purchase College and SUNY Old Westbury. In 12 innings, he fanned 19 and walked two and gave up only six hits (four singles) and two walks in 8-5, 4-2 victories, respectively.
Against Old Westbury, Darby struck out a career-high 12 in seven innings, giving up two singles and walking one en route to his first career complete game.
Darby is now 3-0 this year with a 1.06 ERA, 23 strikeouts and three walks in 17 innings to improve to 9-0 lifetime.
Last week, Chamberlain was selected as the LEC's first weekly Pitcher-of-the-Week for the second straight year when he opened the season by striking out a career-high ten batters against just two walks in five shutout innings in an 8-1 victory over New Jersey City University at Hoboken, NJ.
Joining Darby as the ECAC's top Division III pitchers last week were sophomore Seth Cornell of Houghton College, senior Richard Anderson of the College of Staten Island, and sophomore Dan Fein of Salisbury University. Cornell was the Upstate winner, Anderson the Metro winner and Fein the South winner.