PhilaU's Fernando Garza Named 2016 CACC Baseball Player of the Year; All-Conference Announced

PhilaU's Fernando Garza Named 2016 CACC Baseball Player of the Year; All-Conference Announced

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (May 9, 2016) -- Philadelphia University standout Fernando Garza on Monday was named the 2016 Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (CACC) Baseball Player of the Year, as announced by Commissioner Dan Mara. The announcement of Garza's major award highlighted a list of several CACC Baseball standouts who earned all-conference honors on Monday.

Garza was joined by fellow major award winners including Felician University's Matt Blandino (CACC Pitcher of the Year), Wilmington University's Julian Kurych (CACC Rookie of the Year) and Felician's Chris Langan (BSN Sports CACC Coach of the Year). Both Garza and Blandino also earned spots on the All-CACC First Team at second base and starting pitcher, respectively.

Voting for the all-conference and major awards was conducted by the league's 11 head coaches in the sport, while voting for the coach-of-the-year accolade was handled by conference's sports information directors.

Garza has been a standout both at the plate and on the mound this season. He leads the CACC with a .400 batting average, while also belting nine home runs and driving in 46 runs. Garza has stolen 20 bases, while also coming around to score 48 times.

Garza's runs, hits (72), doubles (22) and total bases (127) lead the conference, but those aren't the only numbers that pace the league. Garza's .400 clip is tops in the league, while his on-base percentage (.469) and slugging percentage (.706) also rank as the best marks in the CACC. His nine blasts are the second highest total in the conference, only trailing teammate Steven Wells, who has ripped 11 shots in 2016. Garza has had seven games this season with at least three hits, including three with at least four. He launched a pair of homers in a 13-7 triumph over Post University back on April 30.

On the mound, Garza is 3-3 this season with two complete-game performances. He struck out 59 and walked only 25, while compiling a 3.14 earned run average. He yielded just 22 earned runs over 12 appearances and 63.0 innings pitched.

Blandino has tossed several gems on the mound this season to earn the league's pitcher-of-the-year status. He has compiled a 7-3 record this year with a 2.28 ERA over 13 appearances and 12 starts. He leads the CACC in wins, starts, shutouts (2) and strikeouts (85).

Blandino fanned at least seven in as many games this year, including three double-digit performances. He struck out a season-best 14 in Felician's 1-0 win over Caldwell University on March 30. What was even more impressive was that he pitched all 10 innings in the win and did not yield a run, while only allowing three hits (no walks allowed).

Kurych had a terrific debut season for Wilmington, as he batted .298 with 20 RBI and 20 runs scored to win the CACC Rookie-of-the-Year accolade. He ranked sixth with 13 doubles and ninth with 51 hits. He played in 46 games as a freshman and had 16 multi-hit games, including a season-high four versus West Chester on April 25. In that game, he doubled twice, drove in a pair of runs and came around to score twice as well.

Langan was selected as the BSN Sports Coach of the Year after guiding the Golden Falcons to the CACC Regular Season Championship with a 16-4 conference record. Felician went 29-18 during the regular season and earned the top seed in this year's CACC Championship, which will continue with the double-elimination tournament Thursday-Saturday in Wilmington, Del.

Also announced on Monday was that both Wilmington University and Bloomfield College earned the CACC Baseball Team Sportsmanship Award for demonstrating outstanding sportsmanship, character and dedication throughout the 2016 season.

Joining Garza and Blandino on the All-CACC First Team were Wells (1B), J.R. Meneses (3B, Felician), Christian Adorno (SS, Wilmington), Matt Kleinstein (C, Felician), Matt Diesel (OF, Felician), John Kennedy (OF, Nyack College), Andrew LaMura (OF, Felician), Jose Corrales (Starting Pitcher, Nyack), Jay Kluka (SP, Wilmington), Dylan Lawrence (SP, Concordia College), Danny Naif (Relief Pitcher, Felician), Brennan Price (DH, Felician), Jason Polgano (Utility-Pitcher, Felician) and Brian Bilello (Utility-Non Pitcher, Concordia).

Seventeen (17) standouts also earned all-conference status by being placed on the second team. The list of honorees included Patrick Campion (1B, Chestnut Hill College), Alec Craig (2B, Chestnut Hill), Max Franzone (3B, Dominican College), Bruce Strickland (SS, Felician), Robert Slagle III (C, Chestnut Hill), Brendan Looby (OF, Chestnut Hill), Ryan Rivera (OF, Caldwell), Arbely Soto (OF, Dominican), Erik Bussey (SP, Nyack), Patrick Kelley (SP, Chestnut Hill), Pablo Matos (SP, University of the Sciences), Corey Pic (SP, Dominican), Dino Cattai (RP, Chestnut Hill), Kraigen Rasalla (RP, Dominican), Don Walsh (DH, Post), Mike Munson (Util-Pitcher, Post) and Michael Bernstein (Util-Non Pitcher, Caldwell)

The All-CACC honorees will be officially recognized at the CACC Baseball Championship Banquet on Wednesday night in Wilmington on the eve of the tournament. Day one of the double-elimination tournament will begin at 9 a.m. on Thursday with Felician taking on fourth-seeded Philadelphia, followed by second-seeded Chestnut Hill facing sixth-seeded Dominican at 12 p.m. The winner and loser brackets will break out from there.

The Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference is an NCAA Division II Conference composed of 14 institutions in Connecticut, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania. The member institutions are Bloomfield College, Caldwell University, Chestnut Hill College, Concordia (N.Y.) College, Dominican (N.Y.) College, Felician University, Georgian Court University, Goldey-Beacom College, Holy Family University, Nyack College, Philadelphia University, Post University of Waterbury, University of the Sciences, and Wilmington University.

Fernando Garza (Philadelphia University)

Julian Kurych (Wilmington University) 

Matt Blandino (Felician University) 

Chris Langan (Felician University) 

Bloomfield College
Wilmington University 

1B Steven Wells (Philadelphia)
2B Fernando Garza (Philadelphia)
3B J.R. Meneses (Felician)
SS Christian Adorno (Wilmington)
C Matt Kleinstein (Felician)
OF Matt Diesel (Felician)
OF John Kennedy (Nyack)
OF Andrew LaMura (Felician)
SP Matt Blandino (Felician)
SP Jose Corrales (Nyack)
SP Jay Kluka (Wilmington)
SP Dylan Lawrence (Concordia)
RP Danny Naif (Felician)
DH Brennan Price (Felician)
UTIL-Pitcher Jason Polgano (Felician)
UTIL-Non Pitcher Brian Bilello (Concordia) 

1B Patrick Campion (Chestnut Hill)
2B Alec Craig (Chestnut Hill)
3B Max Franzone (Dominican)
SS Bruce Strickland (Felician)
C Robert Slagle III (Chestnut Hill)
OF Brendan Looby (Chestnut Hill)
OF Ryan Rivera (Caldwell)
OF Arbely Soto (Dominican)
SP Erik Bussey (Nyack)
SP Patrick Kelley (Chestnut Hill)
SP Pablo Matos (USciences)
SP Corey Pic (Dominican)
RP Dino Cattai (Chestnut Hill)
RP Kraigen Rasalla (Dominican)
DH Don Walsh (Post)
UTIL-Pitcher Mike Munson (Post)
UTIL-Non Pitcher Michael Bernstein (Caldwell)