SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

March 28, 2014

College notebook: Bingel settling in for Bryant baseball

The Next Level
Matt Williams

---- — There almost always comes a time in a dual-threat baseball player’s life when he has to choose between pitching and hitting.

Peabody’s Brandon Bingel is glad that time hasn’t come yet.

In his years at St. John’s Prep, Bingel was one of the best dual-threats in the Bay State, and he’s carried that over to his freshman campaign at Bryant University.

A shortstop at the Prep, Bingel is settling in on the other side of the infield for Bryant, which is 11-8 on the year. He’s appeared in 16 of Bryant’s games, with the majority of those appearances being starts at second.

Hitting college pitching has been a slight adjustment for Bingel, whose average is .171 on the year. He has a five-game hitting streak, however, as he’s becoming more comfortable at the dish.

“Getting used to facing guys that can throw any pitch on either side of the plate is probably the biggest adjustment,” Bingel said. “Things started out a little shaky, but its picking up for me lately.”

The velocity of college pitching isn’t a lot higher than it is in high school. Pitcher’s ability to control the plate and hit their spots is a much bigger adjustment. In high school, a pitch might come inside where you can focus on it. In college,you have to be ready for that same pitch to dip to the opposite side of the dish.

“We faced a few guys at Maryland that got up to the mid 90s,” Bingel said of Bryant’s season opening trip to the ACC rival. “It’s mostly upper 80’s, but all the guys have three pitches and good command.”

On the hill, the righthanded Bingel has only thrown two innings. He took one loss, and has given up three earned runs and four walks in that time. At 5-foot-10, Bingel brings decent velocity and a very strong cut fastball. As he adjusts to the college game, he’ll aim to improve command and attack hitters in the same manner he did in a dominant senior year at St. John’s.

“The coaches wanted me to be comfortable at second before I started to pitch more,” Bingel said. “I’m looking forward to getting on the mound, too. Things have been pretty good here so far.”

---

Northeastern has won 10 baseball games so far this year, and exactly half of them have been won by St. John’s Prep graduates.

Chris Carmain is 3-2 so far in 2014 with a career best 1.34 ERA. He struck out a career-high eight in a win over Niagara and limited then No. 23 ranked Texas A & M to two hits, two walks and no runs over seven innings.

Freshman Dustin Hunt has the other two Prep centric wins for the Huskies. He sports a 2.39 ERA and a team-best 30 strikeouts.

---

The St. Anslem baseball team has to thank Bishop Fenwick for at least some of their pitching.

Senior Zach Brian, a righty from Stoneham that graduated from Fenwick, is 3-1 for the Hawks with a solid 2.51 ERA. He has 30 strikeouts in 28.2 innings pitched, and leads St. A’s in both cattegories.

Fellow Fenwick grad Joe Levasseur, a freshman, is still looking for his first college win. He’s made three starts and has struck out 10.

St. John’s Prep grad Nick Bragole has grabbed a spot in the Hawks lineup as a freshman. He has three doubles and nine RBI early in the year.

---

Masconomet graduate Blair Shrewsbury had scored a goal in all nine games this season for the Bates women’s lacrosse team. A junior mid, Shrewsbury had 18 goals and six assists on the season, including a hat trick in a narrow loss to Endicott earlier this week.

---

Salem State’s men’s lacrosse team is benifitting from local talent. Captain Frank Lento, who is from salem, is the Vikings team leader in assists (11) and has 12 total points. Fellow Salem native Nate Staples has been a staple in the midfield with two goals and two assists, and Beverly’s Max Gansenberg has contributed four helpers from the midfield spot.

---

David Ruggiero, the 2011 Salem News Player of the Year out of Bishop Fenwick, has found his stroke at Worcester State. A sophomore infielder, Ruggiero is leading his team with a .333 batting average. He has a perfect fielding percentage as well.

---

Hard throwing righty Pat Ruotolo of Peabody had a strong start to the season for the UConn baseball team. The freshman has thrown 16 innings in 10 appearances, and he’s struck out 15 batters so far. He’s sporting a batting average agaisnt of .256 and an earned run average of 2.25.

Ruotolo, who threw three no-hitters as a junior at Peabody, is 1-3, and earned his first collegiate victory in an extra innings game against Lipscomb in late February.

---

Salem’s Sarah Chasse was a strikeout machine in her days pitching for the Witches, and not much has changed during her college career at Suffolk University. In her first two varsity season, Chasse racked up 240 K’s, and she has 32 punchouts in nine games so far this season.

---

Peabody’s Bobby Losanno has earned a starting job in the outfield at Merrimack College. His 10 stolen bases so far this season rank fifth in the Northeast-10.

---

Masconomet graduate Tim Towler is on pace to set a career high in goals in his sophomore season at Merrimack. After scoring seven goals and 13 total points as a freshman, he has six goals so far this season.

---

Do you know an athlete competing at The Next Level? E-mail bsports@salemnews.com