closing for Gators
As a sophomore, Johnny Magliozzi is adjusting well to the spotlight on the diamond at the University of Florida. Anointed the Gators’ closer earlier this season, the hard-throwing righthander from Milton has responded with a team-high 11 saves.
Two saves shy of tying the program’s single-season mark, the 5-foot-10, 185-pound Magliozzi is tied for second in the Southeastern Conference.
“I love closing games,” said Magliozzi, who played at Milton High two seasons before transferring to Brookline’s Dexter School. “It’s really fun coming into the game with the lead in the ninth inning and ending the game for my team.”
On Saturday night, he came on in the eighth inning trying to close out a 2-1 win over Tennessee, but surrendered a run. He fanned the next two batters to end the threat, however, and earned the win, his fourth of the season, when the Gators plated a pair of runs in the 10th inning. He has converted 11 of his 13 save opportunities.
“The closer role really fits his personality well,” said Florida coach Kevin O’Sullivan, his squad 25-20 (12-9 SEC) after taking two of three games from Tennesseee this past weekend. “He’s a bulldog out there and he likes to compete. He’s probably been our MVP this year when it comes to our pitching.”
Relying on an active fastball that peaks at 94 miles (up from 86 during his days at Milton High), Magliozzi also likes to throw his slider against right-handed hitters and mixes in an effective change-up against lefties. In 23 games, covering 44.2 innings, he is 4-1 with a team-best 2.01 earned run average, striking out 37 with 10 walks.
As a freshman, working in middle relief and as a spot starter, he posted a 4-3 mark with a 5.03 earned run average in 16 appearances.
Typically college players are not eligible for the major league draft until their junior season, but as a 21-year-old, Magliozzi is eligible this year.
“Hopefully, some people are looking at me this season, but you never know,” said Magliozzi, who played for the Falmouth Commodores in the Cape League last summer, but hasn’t made any plans for summer ball this year. “I really love closing games, but I’d do whatever a pro team asked of me.”
O’Sullivan realizes that the MLB draft might force him to find a new closer next season.
“He’s pitched well enough to put himself in a good position when it comes to draft time,” said O’Sullivan. “He’s done well enough this year on this stage so that he will probably end up having a decision to make. All of our players have the ultimate goal of playing at the next level and I’m sure Johnny will get that opportunity.”
Wheaton’s Podbelski scores 500th victory
Wheaton College baseball coach Eric Podbelski recorded the 500th career win in an 8-3 win over Eastern Connecticut State University last week. A former standout at Plymouth-Carver Regional, Podbelski (502-188-4 record) entered the season with the seventh-best winning percentage among all Division 3 coaches in the country. He started the program in 1996, at the club level, but Wheaton was elevated to varsity status the following season.
The Lyons (27-10) have advanced to the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) tournament championship round for the fourth straight season. They will host the winner of the MIT-Babson clash for the NEWMAC title on May 4.
Junior closer Ryan Grant of Easton (1.31 ERA), who has been in 20 games, recorded his ninth save in an 11-8 win over MIT Saturday. Sean Ryan, a senior outfielder from Norton, is batting .350 with 11 doubles and 22 RBIs, while Walpole’s Matt Lavanchy , a freshman infielder and designated hitter, is at .348 with a team-high six triples and nine stolen bases. . . .
The Bridgewater State baseball team received outstanding performances from Easton’s David Holmes and East Bridgewater’s David Pierce last week. Holmes pitched a complete game in an 8-3 victory over Western New England, and Pierce batted .400 (8-for-20) with three doubles, four runs, and four RBIs in a 4-1 week for the Bears (19-13-1). Holmes is 3-0 on the season with a 3.90 ERA. Pierce is batting .384 with eight doubles and 25 RBI. Fairhaven’s Sean Riley leads the Bears in batting average (.392), RBI (30), and doubles (nine).
Hull’s Amy MacDonald was named Offensive Player of the Week in the Little East Conference after tallying eight goals and seven assists in a 2-1 week for the Plymouth State women’s lacrosse team. The sophomore attacker scored the game-tying goal late in regulation, and then added the game-winning goal in overtime in a 16-15 win at Connecticut College. The Hull High graduate is second on the team in scoring with 35 goals and 22 assists. PSU (12-2) has won eight in a row and is the No. 1 seed in the LEC playoffs that begin on Friday.John R. Johnson can be reached at email@example.com.