BOSTON – Matt Brenner and Chuck Gibson of the Suffolk baseball team took home the Suffolk Athletic Department top honor, as the senior co-captains were named the 2016-17 Charles Law Student-Athlete Award honorees Friday afternoon by Director of Athletics Cary McConnell.
The recipient(s) of this distinguished award is recognized in honor of the late Charles Law, who's work ethic and due diligence embodied what it means to be a student-athlete; excel both academically and athletically.
Law established Suffolk University's Athletic program in 1946 and remained as the University's Athletic Director for 33 years. Throughout that time, he coached the Rams' basketball team for three decades, winning the admiration of his players and peers as "Dean of New England Basketball Coaches" and directed his last two teams to NCAA Division III post-season tournament play to complete his career with 295 victories. He also served as the President and Treasurer of the New England Basketball Coaches Association and was nominated for membership to the Citizen Savings Athletic Foundation's Coaches Hall of Fame.
"Both Matt and Chuckie are deserving of this award for what they have accomplished throughout their careers, both academically and athletically," Associate Director of Athletics, Head Baseball Coach Anthony Del Prete said. "Both exemplified the true meaning of student-athlete, excelling in the classroom and on the baseball diamond. Our program's success over the past four years during their time at Suffolk has been a reflection of the quality students and athletes that they are."
The dynamic catcher, pitcher combination, who paced Suffolk to unparalleled success over the last four years, will be recognized this fall at the 2017 Suffolk Hall of Fame Ceremony Friday, Oct. 13.
Brenner, who graduated cum laude as a double major in Finance and Global Business from the Sawyer Business School with a 3.61 GPA, has left a footprint on the Rams' as one of the most influential catchers in the program's storied history. The two-time All-GNAC honoree, checked a tally in the first column quite often in 2017 highlighted by a D3Baseball.com First-Team selection. Not only was it a first all-region honor for the 6-footer from Eliot, Maine, but also marked the inaugural Suffolk catcher to be named one of the top nine players in New England by the national association. Brenner also joined an elite group of Rams as the third-ever backstop to pick up All-New England recognition by the ABCA/Rawlings in conjunction with the NEIBA, and did so in first-team fashion.
Gibson directed the hill for the Rams in over 206 innings across 43 contests, with 26 starts, 10 complete-games and two shutouts in his college career. His impressive 18-6 career record came behind a 2.61 career ERA, which is good for fifth all-time in Suffolk's history, with 142 career Ks, to graduate as one of the most successful arms to throw for the program.
His standup senior season was one for the ages. Gibson's 8-1 record featured a 1-0 GNAC Championship game over Johnson & Wales, that saw the GNAC Tournament MVP sit down eight batters, including the final four, three of which were swinging, to secure the Rams' threepeat crown. The complete-game, three-hit, no-walk, eight-K outing secured Gibson's spot as HeroSports.com DIII Pitching Hero for the Week, as well as the first-ever Ram to earn a place on D3Baseball.com Team of the Week. The GNAC Pitcher of the Year, who calls Malden, Massachusetts, home, also collected Ws over nationally ranked foes Saint Joseph's (Maine) and a pair of wins over the Cardinal of St. John Fisher. The righty tossed five complete games, which is good for 10th in New England this season and sits tied for 20th in the nation with eight wins landing fourth on Suffolk' single-season list and third in the region. The 6-foot righty put together a 1.77 ERA, which is good for seventh on the Rams' single-season list and eighth across New England, and 51 strikeouts through 71.1 frames. Gibson picked up multiple accolades throughout the season including two all-region recognitions, a first-team nod from ABCA/Rawlings in conjunction with NEIBA, as well as a second-team selection from D3Baseball.com and a spot on the all-conference first team.
The Entrepreneurship major maintained the highest GPA among his baseball classmates, graduating magna cum laude with a 3.75. Among his academic peers he was the backbone to two successful crowd fundraising startups including WarmUp Coffee, which won Suffolk Entrepreneurship's Pitch Competition. His academic rap sheet features eight Dean List's and Athletic Director nods, respectively, and three spots on the GNAC All-Academic Team.
Throughout their four seasons together, the Brenner, Gibson battery worked 145.2 frames together. The Rams' ace boasts a 2.42 ERA with 109 strikeouts with Brenner behind the dish. Overall, the duo paired for 13 victories, seven of which came in complete-game efforts, and both of Gibson's collegiate shutouts came with Brenner at the plate.
The duo, that is a part of the seventh winningest four-year class in Suffolk baseball history, helped the Rams to 106 victories, 44 of which came against conference foes, and lifted three consecutive GNAC trophies to punch three straight tickets to the NCAA Division III Championship.
In the program's seventh trip to the Big Dance at the 2017 NCAA New England Regionals, the pair was crucial ingredients to lead Suffolk to where no Rams' team has gone before, the winner's bracket. Gibson commanded the mound as Brenner caught the five-hit, three-walk, nine-strikeout, complete-game 4-0 shutout over then-No. 22/18 St. John Fisher. The victory marked the first NCAA Tournament win under three-year head coach Del Prete and first-ever shutout by Suffolk in the tournament. The Rams would go on to do the unthinkable once more with a thrilling 1-0, 11-inning walk-off win over No. 25 Aracdia the next night to seal its spot in Championship Sunday. Their collegiate careers closed with a setback to eventual New England Regional winner then-No. 17/19 UMass Boston before being eliminated by the regional runner-up, fifth-seeded Babson.
Brenner and Gibson got the chance to take the diamond one last time together this after as they represented the Rams at the 2017 NEIBA All-Star Game at McCoy Stadium.