WILLIMANTIC, Conn. – Only the third different player in the history of the Eastern Connecticut State University baseball program to be named Best Hitter and Best Pitcher in the same season, Mike Susi ’98 is the third announced inductee for the 2019 Eastern Athletics Alumni Hall of Fame. The 26th induction ceremony and social is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 19 at 4 p.m. at the Student Center Café and Betty R. Tipton Room.
An outfielder/DH and right-handed pitcher from Waterford, Susi had a major impact on the program after transferring to Eastern as a junior, batting .379 – tenth-highest all-time –and winning ten games as a starting pitcher in 15 starts in a two-year career (1992-93). Projected over a four-year career, Susi would have had 222 hits and 30 home runs, and would have achieved 20 pitching wins.
Tickets for the induction ceremony and social are priced at $50 each and can be reserved by contacting committee chair Scott Smith at 860-465-4326 or at email@example.com. A 4 p.m. reception will be followed by the 5 p.m. ceremony. A buffet dinner will follow the conclusion of the ceremony.
Susi becomes only the fifth individual to be voted into the Hall of Fame inductee as only a two-year athlete at Eastern, joining former All-Americas Judy Pemberton (track & field), Kim Durocher (softball), Brian Cassidy (baseball) and Steve Boskus (baseball).
Batting primarily third or fourth in the lineup, Susi earned first-team All-New England recognition and second-team All-ECAC accolades each year, and was a second-team ABCA All-America as a senior in 1993, when he helped propel the Warriors to the New England Regional championship and a spot in the NCAA Division III national tournament. That year, he was presented the Best Hitter Award and the Best Pitcher Award, following only two others – Eastern Hall of Famers Pete Daniels (1988) and Gary Kinel (1969-70-71)– to win both awards in the same season.
Consistency was Susi’s trademark. As a junior, he batted .380 with 52 hits, 40 RBI and 21 extra-base hits and was 4-1 in eight starts with a 4.20 ERA (ten of the 21 earned runs he allowed during the season came in one game) in 45 innings as a pitcher; as a senior tri-captain, he batted .378 with 59 hits, 36 RBI and 26 extra-base hits and was 6-1 in seven starts with a 2.18 ERA in 45 1/3 innings as a pitcher.
Susi recorded all three of his career complete games in the final three starts of his career – allowing only 12 hits and fanning 28 -- and saved his only career shutout for the final start of his career in the national tournament. The first two
complete games came at Alumni Field against UMass Dartmouth – a four-hit 7-2 win that capped the team’s seven-game winning streak May 11, and a two-hitter in a 4-1 second-round win in the NCAA Division III New England Tournament. For the top-seeded and No. 16 nationally-ranked Warriors, Susi was named tournament MVP. In addition to the two-hit win over UMass Dartmouth, he drove in four runs with a two-run double and two-run home run in an opening win 7-2 win over Brandeis which avenged a regular-season extra-inning loss to the Judges at Alumni Field.
As significant as those two previous complete game were, he saved the best for last. Pitching with a fractured right wrist in the national tournament in the final start of his career, the right-hander submitted what is generally agreed upon as one of the two most significant post-season pitching performances in program history. The 5-foot-9, 185 pounder matched his career-high with 11 strikeouts in a complete-game, six-hit 1-0 win, handing Cal Lutheran its first shutout in 164 games. Mike threw 162 pitches and left nine runners in scoring position.
After losing his first start of the season at UC-San Diego in 1993, Susi won the final six pitching decisions of his career, capped by the career-ending three straight complete-game performances.
In his 79-game career, Susi had two or more hits 36 times, including one five-hit game, ten three-hit games and 25 two-hit games. On the day his fanned 11 in the 7-2 complete-game win over UMass Dartmouth, he reached 100 career hits in only his 70th game in an Eastern uniform. He was 3-for-3 with a hit-by-pitch in that game, attaining the milestone with a two-out RBI single in the fifth inning.
Ranked seventh all-time with a .645 slugging percentage, Susi began his career batting .500 (8-of-16) in his first five games and never went hitless in as many two games in a row that year. In his second season, he hit safely in 13 straight games beginning with the spring trip to California, batting .481 (26-of-54) with 14 RBI and belting four of his season total of six home runs in the final five games of that streak.
Following his junior season, Susi was named to the annual New England College All-Star Game at Fenway Park. Batting sixth in the order as the starting designated hitter, Susi doubled and scored against future Detroit Tigers draft pick Dave Verduzco of Yale University.
Susi has over 15 years of experience as a collegiate assistant coach – including three seasons under Hall of Fame coach Bill Holowaty at Eastern – and has spent the last eight years as head baseball coach at E.O. Smith High School. At Smith, Susi has directed seven of his teams to state tournament berths and led the program to its first-ever conference title in 2015. Twenty-five of his players have been named all-conference and four All-State and 15 have gone on to play collegiately. An instructional assistant at E.O. Smith, Susi resides in Waterford.