Week 1: Opening Weekend

By: Ryan Murphy

Tyler Nelin (George Mason) [Photo credit: Broken Bat Blog]

College baseball is officially underway once again, as NCAA Division I clubs across the country opened their seasons this weekend. As usual, Dutchmen alumni across the nation succeeded for their college teams, getting their seasons off to a great start.This week's edition of the Alumni Spotlight also includes results from the opening weeks of the season for players at the Division II, Division III, NAIA, and junior college level.

Note: All rankings are from the most recent poll from Perfect Game USA.

NCAA Division I

Tyler Nelin, George Mason- The 2015 Dutchmen utilityman was the offensive stalwart for George Mason on Opening Weekend, going 7-for-12 with 7 RBIs in a two-win output for the Patriots. Nelin drove in at least two runs in all three games, and recorded three in the season-opening game with UNC-Wilmington. Of the seven hits, three were doubles and one, an eighth inning blast in a 21-1 win over VMI on Sunday, cleared the fence for a home run. Nelin's two-run double in the sixth inning against Appalachian State on Saturday proved to be the game-winner in a 3-1 triumph.

Dom DiCaprio, No. 21 Rice- In Rice's four-game split with Texas in Austin, the 2015 Dutchmen catcher put together a stellar series for the Owls. DiCaprio drove in six of Rice's 15 runs, and went 4-for-9 in the three games he played during the set. Three of his four hits were doubles, and the sophomore reached base on 6 of his 13 plate appearances. He was instrumental in Rice's Sunday victory, doubling twice to drive in three runs in a 7-1 win over the Longhorns. He reached base four times in the series finale to help the Owls earn the split from their in-state rival.

Ernie Clement, No. 24 Virginia- Clement led Virginia to a 3-0 weekend from his perch at the top of the Cavalier lineup. The junior, who enters the season as the reigning ACC hit king, went 6-for-15 to record a .400 batting average on Opening Weekend. His five runs scored and six hits were both tied for team highs in Virginia's wins over Liberty, The Citadel, and Kansas. Clement drove in the game-winning run in the ninth inning of Sunday's battle with Kansas, which saw Virginia rally from a 6-0 deficit in the seventh to win, 9-6. Clement wore the Dutchmen uniform in 2014.

Nate Harris, Louisiana Tech- One of Albany's top relief pitchers from the 2016 season, Harris picked up where he left off with the Dutchmen. In the season opener against Arkansas-Pine Bluff, the senior righthander pitched the final three innings of a 11-0 win, and earned a save for his efforts. Harris allowed only two hits, and struck out four Golden Lions. He faced one more than the minimum in his three innings, and helped set the tone for a dominant three-game sweep by the Bulldogs.

Drew Robertson, Baylor- Baylor earned a season-opening sweep of Niagara, and the 2016 Dutchmen reliever closed out the first game of the sweep with 1.1 scoreless innings of work. Robertson struck out three of the four hitters he faced in his perfect outing, and got Baylor out of a bases loaded jam in the top of the eighth to preserve the 7-3 win. Robertson's Baylor and Dutchmen teammate, Troy Montemayor, also earned a save over the weekend with a scoreless ninth inning in a win on Saturday.

Danny Crowe, Elon- Crowe, a pitcher for the Dutchmen during the summer of 2013, was the only pitcher to take the mound twice for the Phoenix in Elon's series victory over Longwood. Crowe worked three total innings, with 2.1 coming in Friday's win. On Friday, he struck out three and allowed a run in a 10-5 win. He also retired a pair of hitters, including one on a strikeout, in the finale on Sunday. Only two of the eleven Longwood hitters to come to the plate were able to reach safely against the senior captain.

NCAA Division II

Mychael Goudreau, No. 23 Azusa Pacific- A member of this past summer's Dutchmen, Goudreau has been a key part of Azusa Pacific's 10-1 start to the season. The sophomore infielder is second on the Cougars' roster with 17 hits and 13 RBIs, and has posted a .340 batting average in 11 starts. He has hit safely in 10 of Azusa Pacific's 11 games, and has posted five multi-hit efforts. In this week's series with San Francisco State, Goudreau went 7-for-17 with five RBIs, led by a 3-for-4 performance with three runs batted in on Thursday in a 9-3 win.

Sean Aspinall, No. 23 Azusa Pacific- Aspinall, who starred for the 2014 and 2015 Dutchmen, has gotten off to a good start in his senior season at Azusa Pacific. The outfielder is hitting .304 over 10 appearances, and has driven in eight runs. Aspinall has started nine of the eleven Cougar contests thus far. His top performance in the opening weeks of the season was a three-RBI outing on February 9, where he drove in runs on a pair of singles and a sacrifice fly.

Kale Morton, No. 23 Azusa Pacific- Morton has made three starts on the mound for the 10-1 Cougars, and has logged a 2.50 ERA over his 18 innings. Morton, a pitcher from the 2016 Dutchmen, earned his victory on February 10, when he tossed six shutout innings in an 10-1 Azusa victory over CSU-San Bernardino. In 18 innings, Morton has struck out 11 hitters while walking only five, and has gone at least five innings in all three of his starts. Azusa Pacific is currently undefeated in Morton's three starting outings.

NCAA Division III

Dylan McGee, Trinity University- McGee saw time on the mound for the 2014 Dutchmen, and has not allowed an earned run in two appearances for the defending national champions. The righthander has struck out three in his 2.2 innings on the mound. McGee tossed 1.2 scoreless frames in the sixth and seventh innings of Trinity's 4-2 victory over Maryville on February 11. Dating back to last season, McGee has not allowed an earned run in 10.2 innings for the Tigers, and has surrendered only one unearned run.

Junior College

Anthony Forte, No. 12 LSU-Eunice- The Bengals have jumped out to a 13-0 record over the first three weeks of the season, thanks in part to the play of Forte, a 2016 Dutchmen outfielder. The freshman boasts a .314 batting average with 11 runs scored and six RBIs. He is also among the most patient hitters on the roster, drawing ten walks to build up a .478 on base percentage. LSU-Eunice's season-opener saw Forte drive in three runs on three hits in a 12-2 win over North Lake.

Micah McHugh, No. 12 LSU-Eunice- Joining Forte in powering LSU-Eunice's fast start is McHugh, a transfer from Ole Miss. The freshman infielder has driven in 11 runs, the second highest total for the Bengals. Three of his ten hits have gone for extra bases, and he has recorded a .303 batting average. McHugh's on base percentage sits at .465, due to ten free passes drawn on six walks and four hit batsmen.

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