SMITHFIELD, R.I. – Bryant University head baseball coach Steve Owens has been named the Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference (ECAC) Coach of the Year and four Bulldogs earned All-ECAC honors, the organization announced on Tuesday afternoon.
Senior first baseman Robby Rinn (Warwick, R.I.), junior outfielder Matt Albanese (East Haddam, Conn.) and sophomore pitcher James Karinchak (Walden, N.Y.) all earned First Team All-ECAC honors. Senior third baseman Zach Wood (Griswold, Conn.) picked up second team honors.
Owens, the Northeast Conference and New England Coach of the Year, picks up his first ECAC Coach of the Year honor. In his sixth season, he guided the Bulldogs to a 47-12 record, a fifth-straight NEC Regular-Season title, a third NEC Tournament title and a trip to the NCAA Regionals. The 47 wins are a school record and the Black and Gold have now won 40+ games in three of the last four years. Owens also reached two personal milestones during the season, winning his 200th game as a Bulldog on April 15 against Wagner and his 800th as a college coach on May 7 at LIU Brooklyn.
A second team selection last season, Rinn joins the first team this year after putting together a fabulous offensive season. The NEC and New England Player of the Year, he led the Bulldogs with a .373 average, 87 hits, 25 doubles, four triples, six home runs, 63 RBI and 54 runs scored. Rinn posted a .592 slugging percentage, a .438 OBP and accumulated 138 total bases on the year. He set a program record for doubles in a season, a DI program record for hits in a season and struck out just 17 times in 233 at-bats.
Albanese earns his first ECAC honors after a monster junior season that was cut short due to injury. In 49 games, Albanese hit .366 with 67 hits, 13 doubles, 11 home runs, 52 RBI and a team-high 56 runs scored. He slugged .639, posted a .471 OBP and also stole 15 bases. Albanese became the just the second player in DI program history to record 10+ home runs in a single season and he became the first player in DI program history to score 50+ runs and drive in 50+ runs in a single season.
Bryant's Friday starter, Karinchak earns his first ECAC honors after an incredible sophomore season that saw him set program records for wins and strikeouts. He finished the year 12-3 with a 2.00 ERA, 112 strikeouts and 43 walks in 94 2/3 innings. Karinchak's 12 wins are the most by any pitcher in school history and he became the first hurler in school history to record over 100 strikeouts in a single season. He won each of his first three starts of the year, including a 13-strikeout performance against George Mason, and was named the NEC Pitcher of the Year two weeks ago.
Wood took over as Bryant's starting third baseman this season and appeared in all but one game. He enjoyed a breakout year, hitting .324 with eight doubles, seven home runs, 38 RBI and 46 runs scored. Wood also showed patience, walking 26 times and posting a .425 OBP. Defensively, he posted a .925 fielding percentage. Wood had a career day at Boston College, collecting five hits and five RBI, and also homered in Bryant's NCAA Regional game against William & Mary.
About the ECAC
In the 76 years since its inception, the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) has emerged as the nation's largest Conference. The ECAC has grown considerably from its charter membership of 58, boasting over 300 member schools in Divisions I, II and III, ranging in location from Maine to Georgia, and westerly to Missouri. In the 2015-16 academic year, the ECAC will host nearly 100 championships in 32 men's and women's sports as the sponsors of over 5,800 varsity teams and 111,000 male and female Players.