Felician Baseball Continues to Hit Home Runs
Felician University’s Golden Falcon baseball team has become the talk of the University since their breakout season in 2012. “It all started for me when we won that first regular season championship … [with] guys that really took pride in what they did,” shares coach Chris Langan. They have become a perennial NCAA Division II East Region contender under the guidance of coach Langan, posting a .546 winning percentage (.734 in CACC play). The Golden Falcons were a surprise winner of the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference regular-season title and finished as the runner-up in the conference tournament that season.
Here is a closer look at four of the players instrumental in the recent success of Felician baseball. Be sure to follow Felician Athetlics to follow your favorite athletes and cheer on your fellow Falcons!
Vasto was a late developer as a pitcher, having played mostly first base in high school at Henry Hudson Regional of Highlands, N.J. But after recovering from early career injuries, the left-hander become an asset to the Golden Falcons. During his junior 2014 season, Vasto was 6-3 with a 1.84 earned-run average, helping lead Felician to its first CACC title. He was voted the CACC Pitcher of the Year, First Team All-Region and to the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) Honorable Mention All-America Team. Vasto steadily rose through the Rockies’ minor league system and made his major-league debut on June 10, 2018. He is currently pitching for the Class-AAA Albuquerque Isotopes and was a member of the Rockies’ 40-man roster. Keep an eye out for Jerry’s return to the major leagues!
As with Vasto, pitching was an afterthought for Price in high school at Middlesex High. The 6-foot-9, 265-pounder was the Star-Ledger’s Hitter of the Year in 2013 and was known for prodigious home runs. And while he enjoyed one of the best offensive careers in Felician history as a designated hitter and first baseman, Langan and staff slowly developed his pitching skills, which they felt would make him a more marketable player. Price was a four-time all-CACC and three-time all-region selection as a position player, and is the Golden Falcons’ career leader in runs batted in. Toronto Blue Jays took a chance on signing him as a pitcher, and as of this article, is pitching for the Blue Jays’ advanced Rookie League team in Bluefield, W. Va.
Diesel recently completed one of the best and most decorated single seasons in Felician history, in any sport. After helping lead the Golden Falcons to their third consecutive CACC regular season championship and a trip to the conference finals, Diesel became the first Felician student-athlete to be named both All-American and Academic All-American. Matt's .435 batting average is second-best in school history and set season school records for hits (87), doubles (25), and RBI (65). He was also selected as the CACC Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year, encompassing all sports, the CACC Baseball Player of the Year, and the East Region Baseball Player of the Year. Diesel graduates as Felician’s all-time leader in triples (25) and second on the career lists for hits (231), runs scored (151) and RBI (154, second to Price’s 156).
Felician fans got a taste of Strickland’s talents when he was chosen as the CACC Rookie of the Year in 2015. A steady, consistent player, Strickland continued to put up impressive statistics throughout his career while earning the respect of his teammates as a de facto captain. A three-time all-region and three-time all-CACC performer, Strickland capped his career with an Honorable-Mention All-America nod in 2018 by the NCBWA. He holds career school records for games played (203), hits (264) and runs scored (175).
“These are really special players,” states Coach Langan. “I’m pretty excited about what the guys have done to put us in this position ... and the goal for me is to get us to a world series.”
Everyone at Felician University is proud of our amazing team over the past few seasons and we thank the friends, families and fans who come out to watch the Golden Falcons play. We look forward to Coach Langan and team to continue on its winning path. Go Falcons!