Philly College 9 Notebook: Eastern's Clarke continues to mash; Villanova off the best start in eight years

Philadelphia College Baseball Notebook
Nearly every local college baseball program has opened the 2020 campaign (we see you Delaware Valley), so now is the time to unveil our newest addition to our college baseball coverage with the Philly College Nine, a weekly notebook highlighting various aspects of the college baseball scene from around the Philadelphia-area.

Across three divisions, the Philadelphia Baseball Review provides coverage of nearly 20 programs in the region. I do my best to ensure I'm not missing anything, but that's an arduous task when there could be almost 75 games on the schedule in any given week.

If you (player, fan, parent, coach) know of a story lead or if there's something that you believe is deserving of coverage, drop me a line.

One of the primary goals of the Philadelphia Baseball Review is to promote the quality of play in the Philly-region. When I publish a story highlighting a program or profiling a player, it does more than shine a light on that particular school - it benefits the entire scene, and that's my goal.

Now, some notes as we prepare for a busy weekend around the Philly-region.

Division I
It's tough to get too excited about early season results, but Villanova sitting at 5-5 through the first ten games of the season is a notable accomplishment (highlighted by a 16-1 trouncing of Saint Louis). The five wins over ten games marks the best start for the Wildcats since 2012. Also, props to freshman Lucas Latrenta who is leading the club with a .333 average, .994 OPS, and a pair of homers with eight RBIs.

Penn lost two of three last weekend to a quality Kennesaw State club. The Quakers are now in Florida for an eight-game stretch where they'll face some stiff competition in Florida International (7-3), Florida Atlantic (8-4), and Stetson (9-2).

La Salle has dropped four straight after winning four of six to open the season. The Explorers head to Wofford (10-3) for a series this weekend.

Saint Joseph's with face Florida Gulf Coast (5-7) this weekend. Hurler Jordan DiValerio has been outstanding on the bump, posting a 1.06 ERA through three starts (3-0). He's limited opponents to a .164 batting average while collecting 26 strikeouts over 17 innings.

Division II
John Contoudis has been mashing the ball for Chestnut Hill (.476/.762/.520) with eight RBIs through the first five games of the season. As a team, the Griffins are hitting .319 - more than .100 points better than their opponents. Beyond Contudis, Ameri Uzzell is also performing well offensively (.478/.511/.556).

West Chester has four regulars all hitting above .400 in Nick D'Amore, Justin Horn, Hunter Reeser, and Drew Jarmuz. D'Amore leads the bunch with 14 RBIs and a pair of dingers. The Rams - as a team - have outslugged their opponents .539 to .262 through the first six games of the season.

Division III
Liam Clarke of Eastern is on a ridiculous streak at the plate right now, hitting .500 (16-for-32) over the first eight games of the year. He has 30 total bases, is slugging .938, has an OPS of 1.517, and already has eight doubles. He leads all D3 hitters in the Philly-region in nearly every meaningful offensive category.

Billy Manzo of Immaculata has a 1.09 WHIP over two starts. He's posted a 2.45 ERA while collecting ten strikeouts over 11 innings. The Macs face No. 23 Rowan on Thursday before heading to Florida for a nine-game stretch.

Swarthmore is off a 3-0 start and pitching has led the way. The staff has a cumulative ERA of 0.67 and has collected 26 strikeouts over 27 innings. Ryan Warm leads the way with nine strikeouts and a perfect 0.00 ERA over eight innings.
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Follow Patrick on Twitter: @PGordonPBR

BY PATRICK GORDON
Managing Editor
pgordon@philadelphiabaseballreview.com

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