Aquilino dominates Southern

While Mike Aquilino wouldn’t admit it after the game, but the emotion he showed on the mound during Tuesday’s win over Southern sure made it looked like it wasn’t just another game. Aq pitched exactly to the reputation he has built in his 5 year career with New Haven, challenging hitters with his fastball, and enough secondary stuff to keep the opponent off-balance.

What’s interesting is that Aq has continued his success under new Head Coach Chris Celano, You can never know for sure how a pitcher is going to react to a new voice in his ear, particularly one that preaches pitching to contact to keep pitch counts down.

Wednesday was a vintage performance from Aq firing 7 shutout innings. Using some pinpoint command and an effective change-up Aq struck out 7, walked 2 (Sam Greenburg twice) and gave up 3 hits in a dominating performance.

He had some great help from his defense in this game though. While the sunshine was certainly welcome, winds in the 20-3o mph gusted out toward right field for most of the game made it a difficult experience in the field. Chargers had a few hard hit ground balls that made it hard to track the ball all the way in and led to 2 errors. But Ryan Brockett and Brendan Buckley both made outstanding plays going to their left in this game that took hits and probably runs away from the Owls.

The win gave the Chargers their second win in the division and an important first win vs. Southern. The new divisional format in the NE-10 has drastically changed the regular season. Games against divisional opponents are the only ones that count in your conference record when it comes to playoff positioning as the top 4 teams in each division qualify in some form for the conference tournament.

By beating SCSU on Wednesday, the Chargers now are in the driver’s seat in the 3 game series with the Owls that continues Wednesday April 11th at Viera Field. If the Chargers can win that game they will have a tie-breaker advantage over a team that may end up tied with them at the end of the season in the division. That could mean the difference between playing in the play-in game to the tournament or going to the double-elimination portion outright. Or it could be whether the Chargers get in at all. If the Chargers want any hope of qualifying for the regional, multiple wins in the conference tournament vs good teams will be needed.

Mike Aquilino was also featured in the New Haven Register:

http://nhregister.com/articles/2012/04/03/sports/doc4f7ba372b924a273531092.txt

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