Horvath undefeated on the mound, batting over .400 for Greenmen

Steve Batko
Correspondent
Aurora catcher Andrew Horvath at the plate.

It takes more than just an impressive pop-time and a .400 batting average to be able to commit to play baseball at the University of Akron. Andrew Horvath is all that and more for Aurora, which is looking to make some noise in the upcoming postseason.

Horvath has been red-hot at the plate for Aurora, which has an 11-4 overall record.

Hitting .429 with 17 runs batted in this spring, the senior catcher is doing some damage at the plate, but that is just the beginning for Horvath.

“Andrew is the full package as a player,” said Greenmen coach Michael Brancazio.

“He is so coachable and has a tremendous attitude, and he is a wall behind the dish,” said Brancazio of Horvath’s catching skills.

Last week, Horvath amassed six hits, five RBIs and also collected a save on the mound in two victories over University School (9-8 on Saturday) and at Kent Roosevelt (12-10), in league action April 28.

Quietly, the right-handed batting and throwing Horvath has posted a 3-0 record as a relief pitcher with a pair of saves and an earned run average of 2.17.

“Andrew has really contributed to our pitching and hitting-wise, he is staying on top of the ball and hitting line drives,” said Brancazio. “He hits the ball to all fields.”

In the non-league home win over US, Horvath went 3-for-4 at the plate with three RBIs and he had a double.

Horvath had a three-hit, two-RBI contest at Kent while earning a one-inning save as sophomore hurler Andy Eichenauer (1-1) earned his first win for Aurora.

Besides pounding out 15 hits, five doubles and posting 10 walks in the league win at Kent, the Aurora offense also had 19 hits in an impressive 14-5 league road win at Tallmadge April 27.

“Our top of the order has been getting on base a lot and guys like Horvath are driving in some runs,” said Brancazio, who had used senior Sean Fritinger in the lead-off spot in the order in place of injured junior standout Chase Gerbrick (.429), who is out with a concussion.

“Sean is having a tremendous season,” said Brancazio as Fritinger has a .400 average and 17 runs scored.

Aurora's Mikey Mylott at the plate.

Pacing the power part of the lineup, senior Mikey Mylott has six home runs, eight extra base hits and 23 RBIs.

Juniors Ryan Weber (.410 with team highs of 25 hits and 20 runs), Tyler Fernandez and Anthony Dolata have contributed to the offense, along with consistent sophomore Ben Schechterman.

Dolata and junior classmate Kurtis Miller have filled in well at second base and Dolata’s bat has been a pleasant surprise.

“Anthony is hitting over .500 and does not strike out — we will have to find a spot for him,” said Brancazio.

In the win at Kent, Dolata went 3-for-3 with two runs, two RBIs, a double, and a stolen base. In the win at Tallmadge, he was 2-for-3, with two RBIs and two runs.

Gerbrick is week-to-week while senior Michael Carpenter (a Washington and Lee University commit) is back after a left knee injury and will likely DH for Aurora.

“Michael’s bat is too important, but I did not anticipate he would be back this soon,” said Brancazio.

Mylott was credited with the pitching win against US while junior Colin Skolaris had a solid two-inning hitless pitching stint. Fernandez and Schecterman each had two RBIs.

“Colin pitched well and the guys have really embraced our pitch by committee approach,” said Brancazio. “We do have to get our starters on more of a routine with the postseason coming.”

Junior Hunter Lane (2-0) got the win at Tallmadge as seniors Mark Luke and Fritinger also were used along with sophomore Nathan Balkissoon. 

Luke had six strikeouts in 3⅓ innings of work and figures to be a key hurler.

Brancazio is also excited about the next man-up approach as well as the production of his bench.

In the win over US, juniors Zach Geier and Mike Mancine each scored a run while senior Ben Duncan had a key sacrifice fly to score a runner and collect an RBI. Duncan has pinch-hit this spring as well as seeing some time at DH and at first base.

“Ben is an intelligent young man and has had some good moments,” said Brancazio. “He has a compact swing and he drove in a big run against US and at Kent, Ben got a fastball and ripped a double.”

Miller and Weber each had two RBIs at Kent as did junior Kepler Rhoden, who also went 2-for-3 with two runs, a double, and a steal. 

Mylott went 3-for-4 with a home run and fours RBI at Tallmadge, plus the Bradley University recruit also had a double and scored twice.

Despite a late arrival due to a bussing delay, Aurora also got a huge game from Weber, who went 3-for-5 with three RBIs and three runs while Schechterman had three hits and two runs. 

Brancazio liked how his club responded to the adversity against a quality league team on the road — it’s the grit he hopes his team can display in the postseason as Aurora has its sectional draw May 9.