Merchant is National Leader

UVM Senior right-handed pitcher Jamie Merchant of the is second in the nation with a sparkling 0.95 earned run average while the Catamount pitching staff is third in among NCAA Division I teams with a 2.53 team ERA. Merchant has been dominating this season for coach Bill Currier’s Catamounts who are 18-6 overall and 3-1 in the America East. In five starts he is 4-0 allowing just four earned runs, 24 hits and six walks in 38 innings. He leads the team with 41 strikeouts and opponents are hitting just .173 against him, second in the America East.Along with Merchant, three other Catamounts rank among the top seven pitchers in ERA in the America East. Senior righty Jeff Dixon is second at 1.15, sophomore lefty Derek Miller is third at 1.71 and junior lefthander Justin Bissonnette is seventh with a 3.47 ERA. Dixon, at 6-0, is the conference leader in wins while Miller (3-1), named America East Pitcher of the Week on Monday, leads the league with two shutouts and has the lowest opponent batting average, .168. Vermont’s outstanding team ERA of 2.53 is nearly a run and a half better than the next in the America East (Maine, 3.94) and is just below only traditional baseball powers Virginia Commonwealth (2.38) and the nation’s third-ranked team, Rice (2.42). It is slightly ahead of Florida State (2.56) and Cal. State Fullerton (2.67), who are the #1 or #2 teams in the nation in the USA Today-ESPN, Baseball America and Collegiate Baseball News polls. UVM, New England’s top-ranked team and #12 in the Northeast, is also 12th in the nation with a .750 winning percentage and is 46th in the nation in unofficial RPI (Ratings Percentage Index). -SportsInfo