XULA baseball
Xavier

XULA baseball wins major honors after first year

Xavier (XULA) University of Louisiana had a banner first-year after re-starting its baseball program. It took home a bundle of awards.

NEW ORLEANS — Xavier University of Louisiana (XULA) baseball’s Juwan Fitch and Adrian Holloway received major awards Monday from the website blackcollegenines.com and were among eight from XULA to be honored.

In the small-school division — NCAA Division II and NAIA members — Fitch was chosen Pitcher of the Year and named to the first team. Holloway was selected Coach of the Year.

XULA’s other first-team selections are relief pitcher Jamal Allen, utility player Jose Fulgencio and catcher Tristan Rodriguez. Pitcher Nigel Mayfield and Co Co Simoneaux were named to the second team.

XULA’s 15th-year publicist, Ed Cassiere, was named Sports Information Director of the Year.

Playing baseball for the first time since 1960, XULA finished 27-11, placed second in the Black College World Series and third in the Association of Independent Institutions Championship tournament. XULA ranked 54th out of 186 NAIA teams in the Bo Chip Power Index.

Fitch, a freshman left-hander from Baton Rouge, La., a graduate of the Dunham School and a transfer from Baton Rouge Community College, was 8-0 with a 2.96 ERA.

Holloway leads the second era of XULA baseball after six seasons (2014-19) at Selma (Ala.) University, where his Bulldogs made six consecutive national tournament appearances and three times qualified for the United States Collegiate Athletic Association World Series. Holloway’s first XULA team averaged 7.5 runs per game and ranked third with 3.37 stolen bases per game and a .219 opponent batting average. Eleven times XULA reached double-digit runs, and XULA won 11 in a row from March 7-April 3.

That XULA win streak started with a 4-2 victory at city rival Loyola, which is No. 8 in the NAIA coaches poll entering nationals.

Allen, a sophomore right-hander from Birmingham, Ala., a graduate of Ramsay High School and a transfer from Wallace Selma (Ala.) Community College, was 4-1 with a 1.96 ERA. Fulgencio, a freshman from Orlando, Fla., and a graduate of TNXL Academy, hit .313 with two home runs, 23 RBIs and 16-of-18 stolen bases.

XULA Rodriguez
Tristan Rodriguez makes contact with the ball. (Steven J. Gaither/HBCU Gameday photo)

Rodriguez, a sophomore from Kissimmee, Fla., a graduate of New Beginnings High School and a former College of Central Florida standout, hit .301 with eight homers, a team high, and 20 RBIs. Mayfield, a right-handed sophomore from Wailuku, Hawaii, a graduate of Baldwin High School and a transfer from Nunez Community College, was 6-2 with a 4.98 ERA.

Simoneaux, a junior from Port Allen, La., a graduate of Brusly High School, and a transfer from Southern, hit .266 with three homers and 27 RBIs and ranks 13th in the NAIA with 0.74 stolen bases per game. Simoneaux stole 24 bases in 28 attempts.

Cassiere has chronicled the XULA reboot, beginning with the Sept. 24, 2019, announcement that baseball would return. He helped XULA land major coverage in the New York Times newspaper — a Feb. 23 takeout by James Wagner. The award from blackcollegenines.com is Cassiere’s 95th in a sportswriting and sports information career that dates to 1974.

XULA baseball wins major honors after first year
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