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Ward named ECAC Rookie of the Year; Three earn All-ECAC honors

Steve McLaughlin Photography
Steve McLaughlin Photography

SMITHFIELD, R.I. – Led by redshirt freshman Ryan Ward (Millbury, Mass.), the Bryant University baseball team placed three players on the All-Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) teams announced on Thursday.

Ward becomes the first player in program history to earn ECAC Rookie of the Year honors, while also becoming the fifth player to earn first-team honors. Seniors Mickey Gasper (Merrimack, N.H.) and Jack Patterson (Suffield, Conn.) were All-ECAC Second Team selections.

The postseason honor comes the same day Ward earned Third Team All-American honors from the Collegiate Baseball newspaper. One of only two players to play in and start all 56 games, Ward hit .409 with 101 hits, 22 doubles, five triples, eight home runs, 52 RBI and 51 runs scored.

Ward accomplished all this while playing 32 games in the outfield and 24 games at second base. Prior to batting third in the Northeast Conference tournament, Ward served as Bryant's leadoff hitter for 43 games and proved to be one of the best in the country at it, going 19-for-40 (.475) with three home runs in his first at-bat of the game.

The ECAC Player of the Year in 2017, Gasper takes home second-team honors after another impressive offensive season. He started all 56 games for the Black and Gold and finished the year with a .340 average. Gasper posted 70 hits, 13 doubles, eight home runs, 43 RBI, 59 runs scored, 42 walks and a .468 OBP. He became the first player in DI program history to post 40+ walks in multiple seasons and graduates as the DI program leader in OBP (.469).

Patterson, the NEC Pitcher of the Year, posted some of the most dominant numbers in program history this spring. He went 6-3 with a 3.84 ERA and 101 strikeouts in 82 innings. Patterson allowed just 75 hits and struck out 10+ batters on four occasions. He is the first lefty to strikeout more than 80 batters in a season and is only the second pitcher in program history to strikeout over 100 batters in a single year. The highlight of Patterson's season came when he struck out 12 in a three-hit shutout of Central Connecticut.