PDS Alum Franzoni is producing a great debut season for Xavier Baseball showing Power Down the Stretch
X-MAN: Luke Franzoni is playing a game for the Xavier University baseball team this spring during his first season. Former Princeton Day School Standout Franzoni had an excellent debut season for the Musketeers, hitting .254 with 11 homers and 35 RBIs in 43 games. (Photo by Jason Whitman, courtesy Xavier University)
By Bill Alden
Luke Franzoni boosted his performance for Princeton Day School in 2018, hitting 18 games with 0.538 with 10 homers and 25 RBIs.
When Franzoni reached college level that spring and joined the Xavier University baseball team, he fought for the Musketeers early with just one hit in his first 13 bats.
But in Xavier’s home game against Evansville on March 22, Franzoni regained his power stroke and went 2-4 with a homer and five RBIs.
“Having been out for a long time, we all wanted to bring good energy for the first home games,” said the 6’2, 185-pound Franzoni, who played for the Musketeers both inside and outside this spring.
“We knew they had a really good pitcher on the hill that threw quite hard. I knew he was likely to be throwing a lot of fastballs so I tried to keep up to date. The home run was in the center left, that was a really good feeling for the first one. It was only my second success this season so it was good to be able to do it that way, to help the team and give them energy. “
That feat proved to be a turning point for Franzoni as he helped the team through the rest of the spring, eventually hitting the .254 with 11 homers and 35 RBIs as Xavier hit an overall record of 27-31.
When Franzoni pondered his progress, he attributed it to being more confident on the plate.
“With the pitching and some adjustments over the course of the season, the comfort level has definitely been reached, mainly from the approach point of view,” said Franzoni.
“My coaches helped me with this and were more aggressive in the count earlier. I did my best there; I jumped in the first place I saw. It was tough at the beginning of the year when a lot of my bats hit a pinch. I would hesitate and take a seat where I could swing. “
Starting his college career with a game on February 15 in traditional North Carolina powerhouse was a thrill for Franzoni.
“That was a great first experience when I was playing at a big school like this,” recalled Franzoni, who made a pinch-hit appearance at the opener.
“They had some really good fans and it was a really cool atmosphere in this stadium for my first college game.”
A week later, Franzoni scored his first goal in a 7-1 win at Samford. “It was my first start and I was a little nervous before this game when I saw I was starting,” said Franzoni.
“I didn’t have the best shot at UNC. It was good to have that hit and get a confidence builder. It was definitely a high and low season for me. “
Franzoni and the Musketeers got into the BIG EAST game and did some great things as the squad set a 12-4 league record and reached the finals of the conference’s postseason tournament.
“The conference game was great, both teams were always great, although our record at the beginning of the season didn’t show exactly what we wanted in terms of wins,” said Franzoni, who won the BIG EAST All-Tournament 2019 team as an outfielder , at 0.375 with three home runs with six RBIs.
“We played some really good teams early on and got some experience in hostile environments like Texas and Arizona State. We rode that energy out. “
A really good moment in the BIG EAST game for Franzoni was when he faced former PDS teammate JP Radvany when Xavier was playing for Villanova in early May.
“It was fun to see him before the game,” said Franzoni von Radvany, who played first base for the Wildcats during his main season.
“My uncle [PDS baseball coach Brian Dudeck] was at the game. I knew some other children on Villanova when I played summer ball with them. It was one of the first times I played against people I knew well. “
As Franzoni wants to build on his rookie campaign, he is currently playing summer ball for the Albany (NY) Dutch of the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League (PGCBL) and will face 22 games with a homer and 10 RBIs by July 14th .242.
“It definitely helps me stay sharp every day,” said Franzoni, noting that his older brother Paul, a former PDS star and aspiring junior star catcher at the New Jersey Institute of Technology, is also in and out of the league competes with the Amsterdam Mohawks.
“I’m starting to play a little first base just to learn and get more experience there. Our first baseman was a senior this year, he was a really good player and we’re just trying to replace him and I could play there. It’s a little different from other positions; I’m starting to feel a little more comfortable there. I’m also working on limiting strikes. My number of strikes has been quite high this year and I’m just trying to be consistent. “
Looking ahead to the 2020 season, Franzoni believes that Xavier can reach a higher level of play.
“We want to make progress for our team,” said Franzoni. “We made a good run in the playoffs this year and lost in the championship. Losing that sucked, but I think we’re going to be very hungry this year to keep working and getting better. “