PAWTUCKET, R.I. – Four University of Massachusetts Dartmouth baseball players were recognized by the Little East Conference office on Tuesday morning, as the conference announced its 2017 Baseball All-Conference and Major Award honorees.
All four Corsairs, including seniors Sean Callahan (Colchester, Vt.), Taylor Cacciola (West Greenwich, R.I.) and Ezequiel Sanchez (Mantai, Puerto Rico) and sophomore Erick Ramirez (Boston, Mass.), were named to the Second Team as voted upon by the LEC head coaches.
Callahan earns his debut on the All-Conference lists following a standout senior campaign on the mound. In 12 starts, he compiled a 4-3 record en route to a career-best 2.79 ERA and 63 strikeouts. His ERA currently ranks fifth amongst all LEC pitchers, while his strikeout total sits third. Callahan compiled a team-high 71 innings, yielding 76 hits and merely 22 earned runs and 18 walks. The team captain was particularly sharp in LEC competition, fanning 33 in 38.2 innings with an opponent batting average of .250 and ERA of 2.79. In four separate outings on the season, Callahan registered seven strikeouts, including an eight-inning outing against Plymouth State on April 15 when he held the Panthers to just four hits in a 3-0 shutout win. During the Corsairs' LEC Tournament run, the ace anchored UMass Dartmouth to two victories, including a 6-3 win to knock out top-seeded Southern Maine on May 13.
In his four-year career, Callahan finishes with a 3.31 ERA, good for 12th all-time amongst pitchers in program history, and a 13-10 record in 196 innings pitched. With 7.07 strikeouts per nine innings, he owns the 14th-best mark in the UMass Dartmouth record book.
Cacciola repeats as a LEC Second Team honoree at first base after pacing the UMass Dartmouth roster with a .380 batting average on 2017. In 44 games, he amassed a team-best 60 hits, good for fourth in the LEC, 18 doubles, a triple, six home runs and 35 RBIs. With 25 extra-base hits, Cacciola posted the fourth-best slugging percentage in the LEC at .620 to go along with a .487 on-base percentage. In the LEC circuit, the West Greenwich, R.I. native drove in eight runs with eight extra-base knocks, scoring 11 runs. Starting on March 17, Cacciola strung together a 13-game hit streak including seven multiple-hit outings, and capped the run with a 3-for-5 performance with three RBIs and a home run in the Corsairs' 15-9 win over Western New England.
With a .343 career batting average, Cacciola closes his time at UMass Dartmouth with the 22nd-best average in program history. In 148 career games, he recorded 162 hits (12th in program history) including 44 doubles (fourth in program history) and 10 home runs, driving in 90 RBIs.
As the Corsairs' shortstop, Ramirez started all 44 contests for the Corsairs in his sophomore season and is making his debut as an All-Conference recipient. With a .308 average in 172 at-bats, he dropped 53 hits, good for second on the Corsair roster, connecting for 17 doubles, two home runs and 27 RBIs. Ramirez successfully completed 20 of his 22 stolen base attempts, the third-highest total in the LEC and second-highest for UMass Dartmouth. In LEC play, he registered a hit in all but one outing, finishing with a .356 average with 21 hits and six RBIs. Ramirez closed the year on a productive note, putting together a nine-game hit streak from April 18 to May 4, and generated his strongest performance at the dish with a three-RBI, 3-for-5 game against St. Norbert on March 13 that included a pair of doubles.
Through two seasons, Ramirez has played in 84 games for UMass Dartmouth, knocking 93 hits including 24 doubles to drive in 44 runs.
In his lone season at UMass Dartmouth, Sanchez made an immediate impact as an outfielder for the Corsairs. With his .356 average in 40 games, the senior drove in 27 RBIs on 52 hits consisting of 12 doubles, two triples and four home runs. Several of Sanchez's strongest performances came in LEC contests, as he dropped 18 hits in 50 at-bats for a .360 average to send in seven RBIs. In the Corsairs' series with Eastern Connecticut on April 29, he went a remarkable 6-for-9 on the doubleheader, driving in four runs in the opener with a double and a two-run homer.
Sanchez was one of the most impactful players for UMass Dartmouth during the LEC Tournament. In five games, he connected for five hits and two RBIs with a .318 average, stealing a team-high four bases on five attempts. In left field, he posted a perfect fielding percentage with 16 put-outs.
In head coach Bob Prince's seventh season, UMass Dartmouth posted a 25-20 overall record with a 9-5 in LEC play. The Corsairs matched their highest win total in Prince's tenure, and racked up eight wins over eventual NCAA Tournament teams. As the No. 3 seed for LEC Tournament, UMass Dartmouth advanced to its first LEC Championship game since 2013, knocking out top-seeded Southern Maine before falling to No. 2 seed UMass Boston in the finale.