By John Cirillo with Diego Isio and Ivy Speight
The Fairfield University baseball team has turned up the heat with the dawn of springtime weather finally arriving in the Northeast. The Stags have caught fire and put together a 10-game MAAC conference winning streak, the longest in program history, and second longest in the country this season. Only Alabama State’s 18 triumphs in a row is better than the Fairfield skein of victories.
The roll has put the Stags atop of the MAAC with a 10-2 record (19-18 overall) after being selected to finished 8th in the preseason poll. Only two other teams have been selected lower and finished with more wins, Iona in 2010 and Quinnipiac in 2014.
Fairfield has found its form behind the trio of right fielder Jake Salpietro, shortstop Michael Conti and first baseman Mac Crispino. Jake and Michael are both hitting well over the .300 mark. Salpietro has had an incredible bounce back year in his senior season, batting a blistering .345 with 28 RBI, leading the club in both categories after hitting a meager .203 last year. He also shares the conference lead in home runs with seven. Conti has been hitting the laces off the ball, as well, batting .333 for the year, second on the team, while knocking in 1.
Crispino is second in both RBI with 20 and hits with 35 for the Stags. The slick fielding Mac has yet to make an error in 340 chances, with 317 put outs and 23 assists.
Starting pitchers Gavin Wallace (5-2), Kyle Dube (4-2) and Aaron Howell (4-2) have combined for 13 victories, almost 70 percent of the Stags total triumphs. Wallace and Dube have been the work horses with over 55 innings apiece.
John Signore has been the hard luck hurler in the rotation with a 1-2 mark, but is second in the country in strikeouts-to-walk ratio and walks per nine innings, allowing only three bases on balls in 48.2 innings. He also leads the team with a tidy 2.77 ERA, and has struck out 40 batters so far.
Mike Bonaiuto has led the bullpen corps with two saves and a .213 ERA.
The Stags winning streak began on April 2 against Rider, and they look to continue their roll on Saturday (twinbill noon and 3pm) and Sunday (12 noon)) at Manhattan in a three game series at Dutchess Stadium in Wappingers Falls, NY. In the interim, Fairfield hosts non conferences games vs. Sacred Heart (today, Tuesday April 26) and Stony Brook (tomorrow, April 27).