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Ward named New England Player/Rookie of the Year

Ward named New England Player/Rookie of the Year

SMITHFIELD, R.I. – The New England Intercollegiate Baseball Association (NEIBA) named Bryant University baseball redshirt freshman Ryan Ward (Millbury, Mass.) the New England Player and Rookie of the Year on Tuesday.

Ward, the Northeast Conference Player and Rookie of the Year last week, also earned First Team All-New England. Senior Mickey Gasper (Merrimack, N.H.) joins him on the first team, while senior Jack Patterson (Suffield, Conn.) was a second-team selection and sophomores Chris Wright (Cumberland, R.I.) and James Ciliento (Mahwah, N.J.) made the third team.

Ward becomes the second Bulldog to win player of the year honors (Robby Rinn – 2016) and the second to win rookie of the year honors (Matt Albanese – 2014). He earns the double honor after posting the best offensive season in program history. In 56 games, Ward hit .409 with a program record 101 hits. He added 22 doubles, five triples, eight home runs, 52 RBI, 51 runs scored a program-record 157 total bases. Ward currently ranks first nationally in hits per game (1.80), second nationally in hits, fourth in batting average and sixth in total bases.

Gasper earns first team honors for the second-straight season after hitting .340 with 70 hits, 13 doubles, eight home runs, 43 RBI and 59 runs scored in 56 games. He posted a .468 OBP, a .539 slugging percentage and struck out just 20 times in over 250 plate appearances. Gasper set career-highs in hits, doubles, home runs and runs scored, while becoming the first player in DI program history to walk 40+ times in multiple seasons.

The NEC Pitcher of the Year, Patterson picks up second team honors after putting together one of the most powerful seasons for a pitcher in program history. He finished the year 6-3 with a 3.84 ERA and 101 strikeouts in 82 innings. The 101 strikeouts are the most by a lefty in program history and he is just the second pitcher in program history to strike out 100+ batters in a single season. Patterson struck out 10+ batters on four occasions and held opponents to a .247 batting average.

Bryant's starting first baseman in all but four games this year, Wright picks up his first All-New England honors. He finished the year with a .313 batting average, 61 hits, 10 doubles, five home runs, 36 RBI, 32 runs scored and a .405 OBP. Wright also became just the third different player to post 400+ putouts in a single season.

Ciliento's third-team recognition is also the first of his career. One of three All-NEC First Team outfielders, Ciliento finished the season second on the team with a .377 batting average. He posted 72 hits, 14 doubles, three home runs, 31 RBI, 46 runs scored and a .448 OBP. Ciliento played some of his best ball down the stretch, reaching safely 10 times in three NEC Tournament games.