SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Sports

April 30, 2010

Jean DePlacido column: Danvers' Oxford ripping the baseball for Holy Cross

Eric Oxford has been a fixture at first base for the Holy Cross baseball team since his freshman year.

The junior from Danvers has been tearing the cover off the ball this spring despite not being completely healthy. Oxford suffered a torn labrum during the fall baseball season and has been playing through the injury this spring.

"I'll probably need to have surgery in the summer," said the former Danvers High star, who has played in all 40 games for Holy Cross (starting all but one). "At the beginning of the year it was bothering me a little more, but it's my non-throwing shoulder — which makes things a lot easier."

The Crusaders have a 22-19 overall record, 9-7 in the Patriot League. Oxford is batting .300 with 45 hits in 150 at-bats. Eight of the hits have been doubles, two have been triples and three have been home runs. He has 29 RBI and a .440 slugging percentage.

"My home run production is down some this year — I think I had 10 last season — but my average is higher," said Oxford. "Usually I bat third, but sometimes move around to fourth or fifth. Honestly, I have no preference.

"The team is off to the best start in 10 years. To be honest, this is the first time since I've been here we've been over. 500. We're in second place, and the top two seeds in the Patriot League get home bids, so that's our main goal. We have to finish up strong and keep it going in the playoffs."

Oxford stepped right in as a starter and has been a key member of the team ever since. The sociology major loves everything about Holy Cross.

"I'm really pleased I came here because it's a great school for academics and athletics," said Oxford. "I can go home whenever I need to, but it's also just far enough away from home."

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