SHU Rallies in Ninth for Fourth Northeast Conference Championship
Trailing 4-3 entering the top of the ninth, the Sacred Heart baseball team rallied for the second time in four days, scoring two runs, and Dan Wertz completed the ninth to cap 5.1 innings of hitless relief, securing the Sacred Heart baseball program's fourth ever Northeast Conference Championship with a 5-4 victory over top-seeded and defending champion Bryant at Dodd Stadium. Continued.....
Head Coach: Sacred Heart University
The 2014 season marks Nick Giaquinto’s 26th season at the helm of the Sacred Heart Pioneers and 13th at the Division I level. Last year, Giaquinto led the Pioneers to 34 wins (tying a program record) and a fifth consecutive appearance in the NEC Championship game. The prior two seasons saw the Pioneers win back-to-back NEC Championships in 2011 and 2012. Overall, Giaquinto has led the Pioneers to three Northeast Conference Championships, the first coming in 2006. In 2011 the pioneers won a program record 34 wins en route to the NEC Championship. He begins the 2014 season with an all-time record of 526-628-2.
Giaquinto helped the Pioneers make the step up to Division I when they joined the Northeast Conference in 2000. After a difficult 12-38 (6-16, NEC) inaugural season, the Pioneers re-grouped and were one of the surprises in the NEC in 2001. The team improved to 22-23 overall (12-10, NEC) and battled for a NEC Tournament slot into the last weekend. The Pioneers qualified for the NEC Tournament in 2005 for the first time in school history, and backed that up with another appearance in 2006.
Giaquinto has played a significant role in building a rich tradition at the University. He guided the Pioneers to the NCAA Regional Tournament three times – finishing eighth in the country at the Division II College World Series in Montgomery, Ala., in 1992. Sacred Heart also won back-to-back ECAC championships in 1990-91 under his tutelage.
Assistant Coach: Sacred Heart University
Sacred Heart Head Baseball Coach Nick Giaquinto announced the hiring of Nick Restaino as assistant baseball coach for the 2014 season. Restaino becomes the Pioneers’ new hitting coach and will also be in charge of the catchers. He comes to Sacred Heart after serving as the hitting coach at Southern Connecticut State last season, where he helped lead the team to a first place finish in the NE-10 Southwest Division.
Prior to his time at Southern Connecticut State, Restaino was the Head Baseball Coach at Fordham University for seven seasons. In 2005, his first season as head coach, Restaino was named the Atlantic 10 Coach of the Year. Under his helm, the Rams registered a .590 winning percentage in Atlantic 10 play. He led his team to the Atlantic 10 Conference Tournament in four seasons, including a runner-up finish in 2007. Overall, he compiled 196 victories, including four over nationally ranked programs. Off the field, his Fordham team was recognized with the NCAA APR Public Recognition Award for academic progress six years in a row.
Before becoming head coach, Restaino served as an assistant at Fordham for six seasons. In addition, he had previous collegiate assistant coaching stints at Lehman College and Manhattan College. During his time as coach, Restaino has seen 13 of his players drafted into Major League Baseball. Additionally, six more of his players have signed professional MLB contracts. He has coached 14 All-Conference players, seven Louisville Slugger All-Americans, and six ECAC All-Stars. In 2008, one of his Fordham players led the NCAA in stolen bases.In addition to coaching, Restaino established the Complete Player Baseball Academy in 2005. As the founder and primary camp director, Restaino assists children in proper player development and improving their overall knowledge of the game of baseball.
Assistant Coach: Sacred Heart University
Wayne Mazzoni is in his eighth year as pitching coach for the Pioneers. Mazzoni comes to the Pioneers after working as pitching coach at the College of Holy Cross.
A 1991 graduate of Gettysburg College, Mazzoni spent the six seasons prior to Holy Cross as the head baseball coach and assistant athletic director at Post University in Waterbury. Prior to that Mazzoni was the pitching coach at Fairfield University and also served as an assistant at Nova Southeastern University in Florida.
Mazzoni, who earned a master’s degree in Sports Marketing from St. Thomas University, is also an established author and speaker. He has published articles in the ABCA Coaching Digest, NCAA News, Scholastic Coach, Baseball Digest, and Junior Baseball. He is the author of The Athletic Recruiting and Scholarship Guide, which helps high school athletes and parents with the recruiting process and is a frequent speaker at high schools regarding that topic. In addition, he was a recruiting speaker at the 2005 World Baseball Coaches Convention. He has appeared on ABC, Fox, and most sports radio stations around the country. He has a pitching video titled The Left-Handed Pick Off Move, which he presented at the national ABCA Convention in 2004. He also is part-owner of Shea 22 with Tim Shea, Head Baseball Coach at Southern Connecticut State University.