Baseball players; Ostrowski honored by NAC
May 16, 2008
Dave Beyer, Sports Information Director
The Benedictine University baseball team – co-champions of the 12-team Northern Athletics Conference (NAC) – received several honors on the recently released list of post-season awards for the league. The Eagles finished the season 26-17 overall and 17-5 in the NAC.
Leading the team to its first conference title since 2004 was no small task on a roster with just five seniors among its 49 players, but veteran head coach John Ostrowski did just that and was honored by the NAC as its “Coach of the Year.” For Ostrowski – who just completed his 36th season at the BU helm with a record of 825-647-15 (.560) – it was his fourth league “Coach of the Year” honor of the 2000’s and his first since BU joined the NAC as a charter member in 2006-07.
It also marked the 16th time that Ostrowski has guided an Eagles’ team to a conference crown. It was the 26th season at .500 or above while Ostrowski was at the helm and the 15th time one of his teams has posted 25 or more victories in a campaign.
Freshman pitcher Jake Thompson (Woodridge, Ill./Downers Grove South H.S.) was named as the NAC’s “Rookie of the Year,” as well as being named to both NAC honorable mention and to the All-Rookie Team. Thompson had an overall earned run average of 2.98 in 54 1/3 innings pitched. In NAC games, opponents hit just .184 against him (best in the league) and an overall opponent batting average of .236.
Named to the First Team All-NAC list were the trio of Rick Porcaro (Tinley Park, Ill./St. Rita H.S.), Kevin Graham (Crete, Ill./Crete-Monee H.S.) and Matthew Brewer (Brookfield, Ill./Lyons Township H.S.).
Porcaro, a junior designated hitter, finished the 2008 season as the Eagles’ top batter, sporting a .424 average with 67 hits and a .633 slugging percentage (15 doubles and six homeruns). He scored 35 runs, while driving in 39 more. In the final NAC statistics, Porcaro ranked among the league leaders in: Average (2nd), slugging percentage (3rd), hits (2nd), on-base average (4th), doubles (4th), total bases (2nd tie), homeruns (7th) and at-bats (10th).
Porcaro was also among the NAC’s top clutch hitters. He had the third-best batting average with two out, while also sporting the second-best RBI production with two out, as well.
Graham, a sophomore outfielder, was second on the Eagles with a .359 batting average and also earned the NAC’s “Student-Athlete of the Week” award once down the stretch drive in leading BU to a share of the title. Graham drove in 26 runs and scored 24. He had 11 doubles, two triples and drew 13 walks. He also had a .982 fielding percentage in 56 chances.
Brewer, a junior transfer in 2008, found himself relegated to pinch-hitting duties in the NAC tournament, but still garnered enough respect to earn an All-NAC award. Brewer hit .315 overall, with 40 hits and 32 runs scored in 127 at-bats. He slammed a team-leading eight homeruns, while also adding two triples and seven doubles. Brewer drew 26 walks and was 16-for-18 in steal attempts.
Joining Thompson as a NAC honorable mention selection was junior pitcher Dan Vincenti (Downers Grove, Ill./St. Francis H.S.). Vincenti appeared in 17 games and had a 1.89 ERA in 19 innings of work. He had a team-high seven saves, with 14 strikeouts to just six walks. Opponents hit .240 against him.
Also named to the NAC’s All-Rookie Team was freshman Bobby Voss (St. Louis, Mo./DeSmet H.S.). Voss gave Benedictine stability in the middle, starting 42 of the Eagles’ 43 games at shortstop. Voss hit .262, but made more of a name for himself with his sparkling defensive plays and ability to get to balls that otherwise might have been hits. Voss scored 30 runs and drove in 24.
Benedictine University is located in Lisle, Illinois, just 25 miles west of Chicago, and has branch campuses in Springfield, Illinois, and Mesa, Arizona. Founded as a Catholic university in 1887, Benedictine enrolls nearly 10,000 students in 56 undergraduate and 19 graduate programs. Forbes magazine named Benedictine among "America's Top Colleges" for the sixth consecutive year in 2016. Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (hlcommission.org). For more information, contact (630) 829-6300, firstname.lastname@example.org or visit ben.edu.