May 21, 2014

Five Pioneers Earn All-NEC Honors

NORWICH, Conn - Five Sacred Heart baseball players earned All-Northeast Conference honors Wednesday evening as announced by the conference at the annual NEC Tournament banquet at Dodd Stadium.  Junior right-hander James Cooksey (Norwalk, CT) earned First Team honors, while freshman Zack Short (Hurley, NY), senior Kody Kerski (Waterbury, CT), freshman Keith Klebart (Orange, CT) and sophomore Jayson Sullivan (Charlton, NY) were all named to the Second Team.

Coming out of the bullpen, Cooksey put together one of the most dominant pitching seasons in SHU history. The side-armer nearly racked up a sub-one earned run average in 53.2 innings this season. Cooksey's 1.01 ERA leads the NEC and ranks second in the entire country. In conference play, Cooksey recorded a 4-1 record and allowed just one earned run in 33.1 innings. Currently, the Connecticut-native hasn't allowed an earned run in his last 18 innings of work.

In his first season wearing red and grey, Zack Short has been nothing short of spectacular. Starting in 52 of 53 games for the Pioneers this season, Short batted a team-high .335 with a .423 on-base percentage. Short reached base safely in a team-high 43 games this season and scored a team-leading 40 runs.  Short was named Northeast Conference Rookie of the Week twice this season, and is currently sixth in the league in hitting and third in the NEC in on-base percentage.

Also in his first season with the Pioneers, freshman Keith Klebart found himself all over the diamond and thus was named All-NEC utility player. Playing five positions this season, Klebart ranked fourth on the team with a .288 batting average to go along with 17 RBI and 18 runs scored. Klebart was named NEC Rookie of the Week on March 24th after going 7-for-18 with six RBI in a four-game series against Cornell.

Coming off a successful junior season, Kody Kerski took his game to another level in his final year in Fairfield. The hard throwing righty led the Pioneers with seven wins this season, including victories over Tulane, Southeastern Louisiana, St. John's, and Cornell. Kerski has a 2.37 earned run average in a team-high 79.2 innings pitched this season. Kerski ranks second in the NEC with 69 strikeouts, while only walking 14. In non-conference play this season, the Connecticut-native had a 4-1 record with a 2.37 ERA. Kerski was named NEC Pitcher of the Week twice this season, after wins over Tulane and Cornell.

The final member of the All-NEC Second Team was sophomore outfielder Jayson Sullivan. Sullivan became a big-time run producer for the Pioneers this season, knocking in a team-high 35 RBI. Sullivan is the reigning NEC Player of the Week, his second such award this season. The speedy center fielder went 9-for-18 with 10 RBI against Quinnipac and Central Connecticut State last week. Sullivan also leads the team with 11 doubles, four home runs and a .443 slugging percentage this season.

Sacred Heart begins its quest for a fourth Northeast Conference championship Thursday afternoon against Central Connecticut State. The third seeded, Pioneers, will take on the Blue Devils at 3:30 p.m. We will have live audio of all the action on the Pioneer Sports Network.