June 3, 2014
PHILADELPHIA, Pa. - Freshman second baseman Todd Czinege (Overland Park, Kan.) and senior relief pitcher Matt Meurer (Katy, Texas) each were recognized by the Big 5 on Tuesday afternoon in an announcement of several year-end awards. Czinege was selected as the Co-Rookie of the Year in Philadelphia and was named the All-Big 5 selection at second base. Meurer was one of two relievers to earn a spot on the All-Big 5 team and he also garnered a spot on the Big 5 All-Academic Team. The awards are voted on by the coaches and sports information directors of the five area Division I baseball teams.
In his first season playing collegiate ball Czinege led Villanova in batting and topped the team in a total of four offensive categories. He was one of four players on the team to start in all 50 games during the year and he finished the season with a .306 batting average to go along with a .353 on-base percentage and a .434 slugging percentage. Czinege had a team-high 38 runs batted in and also led the Wildcats with 60 hits and five sacrifice flies. He was also tied for the team lead with four home runs and five stolen bases and added to his stat line with 26 runs scored, seven doubles, three triples and nine sacrifice bunts. Czinege was named a second team All-BIG EAST selection following the end of the regular season.
Some of the best games of the season for Czinege came against local opponents. In a win at Temple he hit a grand slam and finished the day with three hits overall, five runs batted in and a stolen base. Czinege also went 3-for-5 with a double, two runs batted in and two stolen bases in a win at La Salle and had another game versus the Explorers in which he was 2-for-4 with a walk, two runs batted in and a steal. Overall he batted .378 with a .512 slugging percentage in weekday games.
Meurer was a consistent and dominant force at the back end of the bullpen for Villanova and left a mark on the Wildcats record book for both single-season and career totals. He appeared in 28 games this season and had nine saves while compiling a 1.21 ERA in 44 2/3 innings. The games pitched and saves totals are each tied for the second-most in a single season in school history and Meurer finished the year with a 1-3 record and 32 strikeouts while giving up just 41 hits and seven walks. He joined Czinege in receiving second team All-BIG EAST recognition.
In a stretch of 13 appearances from April 4 through May 13, Meurer logged 17 1/3 innings without allowing an earned run. He wound up not allowing an earned run in 24 of his 28 games pitched during the year and had his best outings in BIG EAST play. Meurer pitched in 11 of 18 conference games for Villanova and had five saves with a 1.23 ERA over 14 2/3 innings. He appeared in all three games of series against St. John's and Butler, and a two-run single against him during the final weekend of the season accounted for the only earned runs he allowed during the BIG EAST season.
Despite pitching for just three seasons in a Wildcats uniform Meurer finished his career ranked second in school history with 73 career appearances. He had six wins, 10 saves and 96 strikeouts over 128 2/3 innings for Villanova, including 54 games pitched just in the last two years. As a senior this season he became the first Wildcats pitcher to earn All-BIG EAST honors since Mike Loree in 2007.
Meurer has been as consistently successful in the classroom as he has been on the mound. He is a three-time member of the BIG EAST All-Academic Team and also earned a spot on the Big Five All-Academic squad for the second straight year. Meurer majored in Mechanical Engineering and graduated with a 3.256 grade-point average.
The complete list of Big 5 awards is listed below.
PHILADELPHIA BIG 5 BASEBALL AWARDS
Player of the Year: Collin Forgey, Saint Joseph's
Pitcher of the Year: Jordan Carter, Saint Joseph's
Co-Rookies of the Year: Todd Czinege, Villanova and Patrick Krall, Temple
Co-Coaches of the Year: Fritz Hamburg, Saint Joseph's and Ryan Wheeler, Temple
Team of the Year: Saint Joseph's
Student-Athlete of the Year: Collin Forgey, Saint Joseph's
Philadelphia Big 5 Team
C - Brian O'Keefe, Saint Joseph's
1B - Robert Amaro, Temple
2B - Todd Czinege, Villanova
3B - Stefan Kancylarz, Saint Joseph's
SS - Kevin Baron, La Salle
OF - Collin Forgey, Saint Joseph's
OF - Rick Brebner, Penn
OF - Justin Korenblatt, La Salle
OF - Chris Hueth, Saint Joseph's
DH - Tommy Cunningham, Saint Joseph's
SP - Jordan Carter, Saint Joseph's
SP - Connor Cuff, Penn
SP - Matt Hockenberry, Temple
SP - Daniel Thorpe, Saint Joseph's
RP - Matt Meurer, Villanova
RP - Steven Schuler, Saint Joseph's
Philadelphia Big 5 Academic Team
La Salle - Shawn O'Neill (P)
Penn - Austin Bossart (C)
Saint Joseph's - Collin Forgey (OF)
Temple - Ryan Kuehn (P)
Villanova - Matt Meurer (P)