With summer baseball underway, 15 Knights are competing in eight leagues across the country. As July quickly approaches, many leagues are closing in on their all-star breaks and Knights are highlighting all-star and prospect showcase rosters alike.
Dominic Castellano was selected to represent the Harrisonburg Turks as a Valley Baseball League All-Star and Zack Austin and Cole Russo each secured a spot on the Florida Collegiate Summer League prospect roster for the National Alliance of College Summer Baseball (NACSB) Prospect Games.
Castellano has been electric for the Turks in the first half of the summer. Making five relief appearances, he has not allowed an earned run or an extra-base hit, holding opponents to a .186 average. With his 0.00 ERA in 12.1 innings of work, Castellano remains the only pitcher in the league sporting a zero ERA with more than nine innings under his belt and one of only 10 with the mark in more than four innings pitched.
In his first outing of the summer, Castellano faced the minimum in three no-hit innings, two of them perfect. Castellano retired eight hitters in order following a leadoff walk that was erased by a pickoff move from the Turks' backstop. He hasn't slowed down since game one, giving up only eight hits and three unearned runs over his 12.1 innings. His 17 strikeouts are in the top three for Harrisonburg.
Our guys looking good at the All Star Game?? pic.twitter.com/oPvgJFlvvN— Harrisonburg Turks (@HbgTurksVBL) June 25, 2023
(Castellano is pictured second from the left)
Austin and Russo were each selected to represent the Florida Collegiate Summer League in the NACSB Prospect Games, traveling across state lines to Lynchburg, Virginia as two of the league's top prospects. The NACSB Prospect Games featured eight summer collegiate leagues, and the Florida League prospect team faced off against some of the nation's top prospects over two games in as many days.
Austin appeared in the Florida League's first game Tuesday against the Valley League. Dubbed a "fireballer," Austin fanned two in his inning, notching a pair of swinging strikeouts from his first two hitters and working a scoreless seventh frame.
Working up a solid summer resume, Austin has appeared in seven games for the DeLand Suns with one start. Getting off to a hot start, Austin didn't allow a hit or an earned run until his fifth appearance and his 2.45 ERA is among the top seven in the league among qualifying pitchers. In 11 innings of work, he has struck out 12, allowed only three hits and earned a save.
The final game of the day goes to the @floridaleague!@Nicholls_BSB's Edgar Alvarez led the way at the plate with three hits and two runs scored.— NACSB (@NACSBbaseball) June 28, 2023
Fireballers @zaust1201 (@UCF_Baseball) & @VandyBoys' Grayson Moore combined for six strikeouts over three innings to lead Florida! pic.twitter.com/TTNHmpIfGe
Russo got the start behind the dish in the Florida League's Wednesday matchup, seeing action against the Southern Collegiate Baseball League. He drew a full-count walk in his first at-bat in the second inning and then drilled an 0-1 pitch into right field for an RBI single, recording the FCSL's first hit of the game in the away half of the fourth frame.
Hitting an impressive .343 with the Sanford River Rats, Russo is second on the team and in the top seven across the league in batting average. He's notched three multi-hit games and reached base in 11 of his 13 games with an at-bat. Russo has extended his on-base streak to seven games, reaching twice or more in five of those contests. Russo also sits in the team's top three in RBI (10), walks (10) and hit by pitch (2), and he is the only River Rat to record a triple.
M4: Big Ru doing Big Ru things! @ColeRusso22 (@UCF_Baseball, @FCSLRats) puts us back on top with a single to Right Field to score @LoganChapman23 (@GTBaseball, @FCSL_Lightning)!— Florida League (@floridaleague) June 28, 2023
Southern 2 #NACSBProspectGames pic.twitter.com/ljbOqC0liW
Castellano and the Turks resumed their regular season Tuesday, while Russo and Austin will make their way back to the Sunshine State and return to their respective FCSL teams Thursday.