Redhawk's Lucchesi named Pitcher of the Year, 5 others earn All- - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Redhawk's Lucchesi named Pitcher of the Year, 5 others earn All-OVC honors

JACKSON, TN (KFVS) - The Ohio Valley Conference announced its postseason baseball honors on Tuesday evening at the end of year baseball banquet.

Junior left-handed pitcher Joey Lucchessi headlined the event as he was named the 2015 OVC Pitcher of the Year. Lucchesi also earned First Team All-OVC honors.
Southeast had four Second Team All-OVC members. First baseman Ryan Rippee, shortstop Brandon Boggetto, designated hitter Garrett Gandolfo, and utility player Andy Lennington all appear on the second team. Freshman Trevor Ezell picked up All-Freshman Team honors.
Joey Lucchessi is the seventh Southeast Missouri player to be named the OVC Pitcher of the Year; the second-straight after Travis Hayes earned it a year ago. Lucchesi started the season as a reliever out of the bullpen but worked his way into the starting rotation the first week of conference play. In his first start in a Redhawk uniform against Eastern Kentucky on Mar. 9, Lucchesi allowed one run on five hits in seven complete innings. Lucchesi posted nine quality starts in 11 starts on the season. He worked seven or more innings in eight starts and finished the season with a 7-1 record. He posted a career-high 13 strikeouts in back-to-back starts against Murray State (Apr. 24) and Tennessee Tech (May 1). He combined for three shutouts on the season against UT Martin (Mar. 21), SIUE (Mar. 28), and Belmont (May 14). As a team, Southeast went 9-2 when Lucchesi started on the mound.
Lucchesi's 2.87 ERA ranks first in the OVC, 0.45 better than second place. He has a league best 87 strikeouts (9.59/game) and his .194 opponent batting average also ranks first in the league. Lucchesi allowed only 11 extra base hits on the season. Nationally, he ranks 24th with 6.17 hits allowed per nine innings.
Lucchesi, who hails from Newark, California, earned adidasĀ® OVC Pitcher of the Week three times on the season; the most since Dustin Renfrow earned it three times in 2007. Lucchesi transferred to Southeast Missouri this season from Chabot College.
"It is a tremendous honor to be recognized as the top pitcher in your league," said head coach Steve Bieser. "Joey is well deserving of this honor. He has made the proper adjustments and worked very hard this season to hone his craft. Lance Rhodes has done a tremendous job of mentoring him in his first season with us. It is a testament to the hard work of Coach Rhodes to produce back-to-back OVC Pitchers of the Year."

Ryan Rippee, who hails from Springfield, Missouri, is Southeast's home run (12) and RBI (54) leader. Rippee ended the regular season hitting .306 with a team-leading .569 slugging percentage. Rippee ranks 35th nationally in RBI and 43rd in home runs. Rippee also boasts a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage in OVC play; he has only one error the entire season. Rippee has started 50 games at first for Southeast. He tallied a season-high five RBI against Bradley on Feb. 28. He hit two home runs in three different games in 2015. Rippee leads the team with 19 multi-RBI games.
"Ryan is one of the most dangerous hitters in the league and has put together a fantastic season after making a position change to first base," said Bieser. "His offensive numbers are very impressive but don't discount his defense. He has only committed one error all season long and leads the league in putouts. This honor of Second Team All-OVC is well deserved for Ryan."
Branden Boggetto, a junior from Joliet, Illinois, appears on an All-OVC Team for the first time in his career. Boggetto, who has started all 54 regular season games at short, is arguably Southeast's most consistent hitter. Boggetto has tallied a team-high 21 multiple hit games and tied for a team-best 13-game hitting streak (Apr. 14-May 5). He also takes a 19-game one base streak into the OVC Tournament. The power-hitting shortstop has a .308 batting average with a .561 slugging percentage. He ranks behind Rippee for the team lead in slugging, RBI (52), and home runs (11). He leads the team with 21 doubles and 124 total bases. His 21 doubles ranks fifth in Southeast's single season record book. Nationally, Boggetto ranks 21st in doubles, 37th in doubles per game (0.39), and 53rd in RBI.
Bieser added, "Branden has put together one of the most impressive seasons I have seen from a shortstop. The combination of offense with superb defense is what makes him special. His play has been very consistent all season long. I am excited to watch him continue to develop and see what his future holds."
Garrett Gandolfo came to Southeast this season from South Mountain CC. Gandolfo, who hails from El Cajon, California, has started 42 games in a Redhawk uniform; 38 as the designated hitter. Gandolfo has 16 multi-hit and 14 multi-RBI games. Gandolfo strung together a season-long 13-game hitting and 17-game on base streaks in 2015. Gandolfo drove in six runs and blasted two home runs at Eastern Illinois on Apr. 10. He is the top Redhawk in the league with 1.09 RBI per game and 0.77 walks per game. Nationally, he ranks 38th in walks per game and 28th in RBI per game.
"Garrett has provided us that consistent approach in the middle of our lineup that we needed this season," Bieser said. "He put together a solid year in his first season in our program and the rest of the conference took notice by voting him on the second team. It takes a special hitter to DH and Garret fits the mold. He has done it all season long battling an injury."
Andy Lennington, a senior from Franklin, Tennessee, is the only Redhawk to have previously earned postseason conference honors. Lennington was named to the All-Freshman Team in 2012. With a .333 batting average, Lennington is the Redhawks' top hitter. Lennington has started 47 games this season. He started the first 22 games at third base before an injury knocked him out for seven games. Lennington then transitioned to the outfield, where he hadn't played since his freshman year and has split 21 starts between left and centerfield. Lennington has seven home runs, 11 doubles, and 45 RBI on the season. 
"Andy has been a mainstay in our lineup for four yeas now and has saved his best performance for his senior season. He has provided a lot of versatility in our program over the years, which has helped us be the best team we can possibly be. Offensively, he is a force that opposing teams have to plan for. I am excited to watch him down the stretch."
Freshman Trevor Ezell has been Southeast's most versatile starter this season. Ezell, a native of Alexander, Arkansas, has started every game as a true freshman. He has started 28 games at third base, 17 games in leftfield, eight at second base, and one as the designated hitter. Aside from the first seven games, where he hit second in the lineup, Ezell has been Southeast's leadoff hitter all season. He started his career on a 20-game on base streak, a team-best this season. He has the second-most multiple hit games (20) and has nine multi-RBI games. Ezell, a .318 hitter, leads the Redhawks in runs (61), hits (71), triples (3), walks (39), stolen bases (11), and at bats (223). Nationally, Ezell ranks 41st in walks, 55th in walks per game (0.77), sixth in runs, and 10th in runs per game (1.13). The freshman also has four home runs with 17 doubles and holds a .475 slugging percentage. He fell a leg shy of hitting for the cycle on three occasions this season. Ezell has cracked Southeast's top-ten lists for runs scored and walks. 
"Trevor has put together a wonderful freshman campaign," Bieser said. "It is quite an honor to be recognized on the All-Freshman Team. He came up just short of being named Freshman of the Year but I can honestly say there is not another freshman in out league I'd rather have on my team. He does things the right way and his future in our program is bright."
The Redhawks will begin OVC Tournament play Thursday at 7 p.m. Southeast will play the worst seed of games one and two winners.

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