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BPM College Baseball Preview

By BPM, 01/01/10, 7:44AM EST

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It is almost that time again, baseball season is upon us and BPM wanted to give you a little insight into things to come for the 2010 season. So breakout your blankets and travel mugs of hot chocolate, because February will be here before you know it. We certainly aren’t blessed with warm weather and can’t guarantee it will be above 50 degrees for game day, but what BPM can guarantee is that you will see some great baseball on both the college and high school levels.

What will 2010 bring? Will the Dowling Golden Lions make it back to the NCAA division II College World Series? Will St. Dom’s have a Catholic High School victory repeat? Will Patrick Anderson be able to turn his 16 new freshmen into a collegiate power-house? Will New York Tech be a dominate force in their first season in the Great West Conference? All we know is that anything is possible and we are certain that we have some good baseball ahead of us.

A very special thank you from the BPM team, to all of the coaches and sports information directors at each of the colleges, universities and high schools. We appreciate all of your hard work and efforts in helping us to compile the information that is found within the 2010 BPM Baseball Preview. 

To all of the athletes and coaches, BPM wishes you your best season to date, both on and off the field!

 

Adelphi University Panthers

The Adelphi University baseball team is fresh off an East Coast Conference regular season and tournament titles in 2009. The Panthers fell to Dowling College in the NCAA East Regional Championship game, 1-0, ending their season with a 34-16 overall record.

Adelphi will look to continue their success in 2010 in their first year in the Northeast-10 Conference. Franklin Pierce University and Assumption College, who are members of the NE-10, both made the NCAA Tournament last year. Even with the Panthers losing three guys who hit over .300 to graduation, they return a very solid pitching staff, as well as some key offensive contributors.

Seventh-year Head Coach Dom Scala feels that the Panthers pitching staff could be as deep as eight starters and Scala is comfortable throwing any one of them at any given time. "I am a firm believer in pitching and defense," said Scala. "We have that and I am confident that it will be our cornerstone this year."

Mike Bartlett

Junior starting pitcher Keith Couch is coming off a dominating 2009 campaign. Couch went 9-2 last season with an ERA of just 1.31, striking out a team-high 75 batters in 89.1 innings of work. He was also an All-ECC selection, while also being named All-Region. Senior pitcher Mike Bartlett posted a record of 5-2 during the 2009 season with an ERA of 2.53, striking out 39 in 64 innings pitched.

Senior third basemen Weidlein, a Third-Team All-Conference selection in 2009, hit .265 with 22 RBI, 14 runs scored and 41 hits, while slugging .361 and posting an on base percentage of .328. 

Senior pitcher Mike Scudero missed the 2009 season due to injury, but was an All-Conference honoree in 2008 after appearing in 10 games, throwing 48.2 innings and striking out 50, with an ERA of 2.40. The first game of the 2010 season is February 23 vs. Concordia (NY), 3pm EST on the Panther’s home field in Garden City, NY.

For the full 2010 schedule and more information. Please visit www.adelphi.edu.

Briarcliffe College Seahawks

The Briarcliffe baseball program will shoot for their fifth straight USCAA National Tournament bid in 2010. The Seahawks, who won the USCAA National Title in 2006, will count on strong pitching and defense along with timely hitting. Captain and All-American Lee Ranta, who enters the season with a lifetime 18-5 mark, will anchor a pitching staff that head coach Gary Puccio calls, “one of the best I have ever had”. Sophomore Vin Aprano had a sensational freshman campaign and figures to be even better in 2010. A healthy Rick Doht fills Briarcliffe’s 3rd spot in the rotation. Both Aprano and Doht pitched for North Babylon High School.  The fourth starter will be Chris Brezinski, a freshman from Farmingdale High School. Brezinski had an outstanding fall, giving up just one run in eleven innings of work. The bullpen is much stronger than last year, with seventh inning man Jeff DeLuca the only holdover. Kurt Stettner, a freshman from Comsewogue has been named the closer. Dan Harty, Rich Ireland and Rafael Perez are battling for the eighth inning role as well as the fifth starter spot.

Jeff Deluca

 The infield returns Reggie Smith at second base, someone Puccio calls, “the best overall second baseman I have ever coached”. Third baseman Dave Darcy hit over .300 last year in his freshman campaign, and should be a major RBI guy for the Seahawks. Tom Locrotondo and Gabe Ermarrino are battling for the shortstop position. Freshman sensation Kevin Licul, the cleanup hitter for Levittown Division last year, will man first base. Kevin Burke will also see time at first while also securing the lefty-hitting designated hitter role. 

In the outfield, the Seahawks defensive strength, captain Tim Coglietta will once again man centerfield. He will be flanked by Sean O’Malley in left (second on the team in on base percentage last year) and the return of Sam Braverman in right. Braverman, who was out all of last year after Tommy John surgery, hit 6 home runs and had 31 runs batted in his freshman campaign in 2008. Anthony Mele, an All County graduate of Island Trees High School, is expected to see a lot of outfield play as well.

Behind the plate is where the Seahawks lack experience, but if the fall was any indication, it shouldn’t be too much of a problem. Freshman Joe Solomeno of Sachem High School, Eric Weiner of Deer Park High School and Dave Haskin of Seaford High School all figure to get time. The catchers combined to throw out over 50% of potential base stealers in the fall. 

The team plays its home games at PAL Complex in Holbrook, NY. The road schedule this year includes a four game series at the University of Dallas as well as trips to Virginia, Massachusetts, and Ohio. So does Puccio expect the Seahawks to get bid #5 despite the tough schedule? “We’ve been there before. We will be there again. I have a lot of faith in this team.”  

The road back to the National Championships begins for Briarcliffe in Virginia on February 19, 2010. The first home game for the Seahawks will take place March 13 against SUNY Old Westbury. 
 
For the full 2010 schedule and more information. Please visit www.bcl.edu.

C.W. Post-Long Island University Pioneers

The C.W. Post baseball team looks to rebound after a disappointing, injury-plagued 2009 season that saw them post a 13-32 record. However, with a strong core of the lineup returning, the Pioneers will look to return to the form of 2008, where they won an East Coast Conference title and a berth in the NCAA East Regional.  Head coach Pete Timmes believes his squad will be quicker and more athletic this season.

“In the ECC, it could be anyone’s year,” Timmes stated. “Obviously Dowling is the team to beat, advancing to the College World Series last season.  But we had a strong fall, and we are looking to come out and compete right away.”

Bryan Bonin

Pitching will be the team’s first and foremost strength, with a good mix of veteran and rookie hurlers that should be one of the top rotations in the ECC. Seniors Bobby Kay and Pete Budkevics look to head up the rotation, both have previous all-conference and all-region accolades that can attest to their talent. Senior Brian Saldana will also look to cap a strong career, with Timmes looking to use him exclusively out of the bullpen.  Fellow senior Mark Czerniawski posted strong numbers last season, earning a second-team all-conference nod, and looks to repeat the performance this spring. The Pioneers are strong up the middle, with catcher Brian Anderson returning for his fifth year after losing last year due to injury. The veteran backstop has outstanding defensive abilities and handles the pitching staff very well, in addition to being a solid bat in the middle of the lineup. 

At shortstop for his final season will be senior Bryan Bonin. A standout on defense and a solid bat at the top of the lineup for the past three seasons, Bonin will look to put up strong numbers in his last season. With a career fielding percentage of .937, the shortstop will anchor an otherwise young infield.

Vying for spots in the Pioneer infield will be several freshmen, starting with Anthony Corona, who looks to earn a spot at first base and behind the plate, splitting time with Anderson at both positions. Casey McKay is slated as the second baseman, taking over for a graduated Kyle Walker. Highly touted freshman Kevin Chenicek will likely see a majority of the action at the hot corner, and also see time on the mound and possibly in the DH slot.

In the outfield, senior Mike Callaghan will make the move to right field, taking advantage of a strong throwing arm that will limit runners looking to take the extra base. Freshman speedster Zack Graczyk will take over in center field, and several players will compete for time in left field, with freshman Joe Armenti, sophomore Eddie Bartley and senior Kyle Dean as the leading candidates for the starting job.

C.W. Post’s first home game is February 28 vs. Franklin Pierce. Conference play kicks off March 19 vs St.Thomas Aquinas, and continues vs.  Dowling in a five-game series beginning March 23.

For the full 2010 schedule and more information. Please visit www.cwpostpioneers.com.

Dowling College Golden Lions

The 2009 season will go down as the most successful campaign in program history to date for the Dowling College baseball team. After making their first ever trip to the World Series, the Golden Lions finished the season with a 35-16 record. The 35 victories were a single season program record, eclipsing the 34 victories of the 2004 squad.

So what should we expect in 2010? With only 4 seniors graduating off the record breaking 2009 squad, the 2010 edition of the Dowling Baseball team should be positioned for a deep run into the NCAA Tournament to defend their East Region crown.

Dowling will return seven starters and four pitchers who tossed more than 45 innings including Daktronics and the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association National Pitcher of the Year, Gabriel Duran.

Colin Barnathan

Also a First Team All-American by three different publications, Duran returns after an outstanding sophomore season in which he set the program’s single season record for wins. The righty from Brooklyn, NY, finished the 2009 season with a 10-2 record (including a no-hitter with 14 strikeouts against Felician College), a 1.30 ERA, and 83 strikeouts in 89.1 innings.

East Regional Most Outstanding Player Buddy Cipoletti, Marc Rutledge, and Nicholas Albero are also back on the pitching staff that led the nation in earned run average.

Among returning position players, the Golden Lions have four all-conference players back. Frank Intagliata and Colin Barnathan, both all-conference first teamers in ’09, are back after tying for the team lead in hitting with a .314 average. Barnathan, who was also a Daktronics All-Region selection, also finished third on the team with 28 RBI. First baseman Daniel Pembroke returns for his last season after a breakout junior campaign in which he hit .304 and led the team in homeruns (4) and RBI (34). Eddie Squeri, a slick fielding shortstop who also hit .284 with 28 RBI, is the Golden Lions fourth returning all-conference player. 

Dowling’s biggest hole to fill will come behind the plate after the graduation of four year starter and Tampa Bay Rays’ 50th round draft pick, David Wendt. Taylor Bargiacchi, who hit .352 in 54 at-bats and threw out 33% of attempted base-stealers in 2009, and newcomer 
Daniel Masiello will fight for time to replace Wendt. 
Other newcomers who could make an impact in their first season in navy blue and gold are Joe Candela, and All-League player from Westhampton High School, and Sean Craig, also and All-League selection from Rocky Point High School.

Dowling will start their season with a double header vs. Franklin Piece on February 20 at the Golden Lion sports complex in Brookhaven, NY.

For the full 2010 schedule and more information. Please visit www.dowlingathletics.com.

Farmingdale State College Rams

The Farmingdale State Rams  baseball team gears up for the 2010 season ranked #13 in Collegiate Baseball Newspaper's NCAA Division III Pre-season Poll. In 2009, the Rams captured their second consecutive Skyline Conference Championship and their first-ever New York Region Championship to advance to the NCAA Division III College World Series for the first time in school history. As one of just eight teams to appear in the World Series, Farmingdale faced DIII powerhouses Shenandoah and Chapman.

With a final season record of 30-17 and a D3baseball.com ranking of #18 in the Nation, the Rams graduated seven players but will look towards the 15 returning upperclassmen (including 12 seniors), along with some key transfers, to continue the Championship streak under fifth year head coach Keith Osik. Osik holds a career coaching record of 96-69 and was named the 2009 ECAC Metro and New York Region Coach of the Year.


Zak Nersesian

Highlighting the returnees, junior first baseman and 2009 Skyline Conference Player of the Year, Kevin Curtis, batted .407 last season, leading the team in hits (55), RBI (44) and total bases (70). Senior outfielder Frank Ennis, batted .336 with 34 RBI and 11 doubles. Senior outfielder Donny Moscatelli, finished the year batting .342, was second in RBI with 38 and had a team-high 152 at-bats. Senior designated hitter Mike Labrozzi, led the team with 39 runs scored. Senior centerfielder Frank Yera, led the team with a .415 batting average and held a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage to win the 2009 New York Regions ABCA/Rawlings Gold Glove Award. Junior outfielder Matt Weingartner, who hit .484 with a .742 slugging percentage over 17 games, will be a key asset once again this year.

Senior catcher Zak Nersesian and sophomore catcher Frank Scarlato had solid years in '09, both offensively and defensively. Nersesian (.333) and Scarlato (.354) split time behind the plate, catching for a pitching staff that had a low ERA of 3.03 in Skyline Conference games.

The pitching staff will feature key returnees in sophomore right hander Chris Phelan and senior right hander Steve King. Phelan finished his rookie season with a 5-1 record and 3.97 ERA in six starts and 18 appearances. King held batters to a .189 average and went 5-4 overall in seven starts, posting a 4.12 ERA. Senior Patrick Gilbride, will help out the bullpen.

Notable transfers for this season are sophomore second baseman Danny Devito, junior third baseman Nick Wiwczar, junior outfielder Ryan Rubenstein and senior pitcher Ian Solomon. Devito and Rubenstein, transfers from Suffolk West, helped the Longhorns capture their third straight Region XV Championship in '09. Wiwczar, a transfer from Suffolk East, will look to see his way into the starting lineup at third base. Soloman, a transfer from Division II New Haven, will help stack the rotation with some talent. He threw for two years at UNH, making eight appearances his freshman season and seven appearances last year.

Some freshman recruits for the Rams include Ron Remi, a shortstop from St. Anthony's; Terrance Bohanen, an outfielder from Patchogue-Medford; Vinny Messana, a pitcher from Centereach; Matt Holder, an infielder from Connetquot; and Eddie Balzer, a pitcher from William Floyd.

For the full 2010 schedule and more information. Please visit www.farmingdalesports.com.

Fordham University Rams

Upon the Ram’s fourth Atlantic 10 Championship  in six seasons, the 2010 Fordham baseball team has plenty of young and experienced veterans to make another strong run in the Atlantic 10, challenging Charlotte, Xavier, and Dayton for the league crown.
The Rams, who finished with a record 22-31 overall last season, 16-11 in the conference, are led by sixth year head coach Nick Restaino, who has put together a nice mix of young arms with experienced fielders and hitters.

The pitching staff will welcome back senior captain J.P. Mack for a fifth season into the rotation for 2010.  Mack, a 6’3” left hander, led the Rams' starters in innings pitched (97.0) and strikeouts (48), while earning Atlantic 10 Pitcher of the week once during the season.  Other returning impact pitchers are senior Brando Casalicchio, John Flanagan, Max Krakowiak, Jordan Grangard and Daniel Munday.
Flanagan established himself in the starting rotation by midseason in 2009, posting a 6-3 record, while Krakowiak has had an impressive offseason, looking to improve on his 2009 numbers, where he suffered through an injury plagued season.

Mike Mobbs

Casalicchio, Grangard, and Munday will head up the bullpen. Grangard was the team leader in ERA at 4.47, appearing 21 games with two saves, while Munday made 20 appearances, recording 39 strikeouts in 52 2/3 innings and three saves. After battling elbow problems, Casalicchio will move to the bullpen with a slightly altered delivery that was very effective in the fall, and is relishing his new role.

The pitching staff will also get a boost from the additions of junior transfer Brian Prendergast (6’4”, RHP) and freshmen left-handers Rich Anastasi and Ryan DeMartino. Pendergast, brings an imposing frame to the hill and was a freshman All-American at Manhattan, while the addition of Anastasi and DeMartino gives the Rams' depth in their ability to match-up with left-handed hitters, while bring very good velocity to the hill.

Despite losing two All-Atlantic 10 caliber players in utility player Danny Leach and first baseman Bobby DiNardo, the Rams still return seven starters, including all three outfielders and middle infielders.
The Rams' return middle infield sophomores Nick Martinez and Brian Kownacki after starting most of their freshmen season. Second baseman Martinez is coming off a .356 batting average in conference play. Kownacki, a staple at shortstop, bat .284 with 29 RBI.

The biggest key to the Rams' success will be the return of Como to heart of Fordham's line-up, having played in just three games last season before going down with a season-ending knee injury. In his lone series, Como was a big offensive contributor, collecting six hits and five runs scored at Florida Atlantic.

Behind the dish the Ram's will mainly see senior Angelo Ponte and junior Chris walker get most of catching duties. Walker had a breakout season as a sophomore in 2009, leading the Atlantic 10 with eight pickoffs and rating seventh in base runners caught stealing. Ponte brings a pretty good bat, hitting three home runs and 21 RBI in 2009.

Ryan McCrann is also back and will see time at both first base and as DH this season. The left-handed hitting senior registered a team-high 15 double, four home runs and 23 RBI. The Rams first home game is March 3 vs. Manhattan.

For the full 2010 schedule and more information. Please visit www.fordhamsports.com.

Hofstra University Pride

The Hofstra University Baseball team will take on a younger look this season with 16 freshmen and six transfer players competing for positions all over the diamond. Just nine players return from last season's squad that finished 11-32.

Entering his second season, Head Coach Patrick Anderson thinks his first recruiting class could help Hofstra post its first 20-win season since 2007. The Pride returns two of its .300 hitters – Matt Prokopowicz and Scott A'Hara, closer Jeff Guthridge and ace Rob Kumbatovic, who both tied for a team best four wins.

The Pride will try and help reverse last season's 6-18 conference record in order to compete for a spot in the Colonial Athletic Association Championship. After watching his fresh-faced team in fall exhibition games, Anderson said the team's skill and depth should be improved from his first campaign.


Rob Kumbatovic

“I want our mentality to be aggressive,” Anderson said, “We want to create a positive; energetic atmosphere and have everyone compete for all nine innings.”

Kumbatovic will likely be the team's #1 starter in 2010, and a trio of freshmen in Jared Rogers, Cody Normand and Joe Burg will follow him in the rotation. Guthridge, a junior, returns to his closer role after posting three saves in 2009.  Freshman John Krause and junior transfer Sean Monaghan will fill key relief roles for the Pride.

The Pride’s infield sees Matt Prokopowicz slide to second base after spending the first three years of his Hofstra career at third. Coming off a season where he batted .344 with 30 RBIs, the Massapequa, NY, native will once again be an important cog in the Hofstra lineup. Jared Hammer, a power-hitting freshman from New Jersey, should be the opening day first baseman and a middle of the order hitter. Slick fielding shortstop Matt Ford has won the shortstop job, while Iona transfer Mike Walraven gets the nod at third base.

Senior catcher Elliot Hagburg will be pushed by County College of Morris transfer Kevin Flynn, who was a junior college All-American last season.

The outfield returns starter John Kenny in centerfield. The senior batted .288 last season with 16 steals and should bat in the leadoff spot. A'Hara, a junior, hit .373 in limited action last season, but should get the majority of time in left field in 2010. Senior Ethan Paquette, a transfer from Vermont will get the starting nod in right field and will provide a steady presence in the middle of the batting order. Junior EJ Smith, a transfer from Delaware, and freshman Matt Hancock will likely share the designated hitter role. Both could also see action in the infield.

Hofstra opens CAA play with a three-game series at Northeastern April 2-4. The Pride's longest home stand is a seven-game stretch featuring conference series versus VCU and William and Mary sandwiched around a game versus local rival Stony Brook March 21.

"Our expectations in the CAA are simple: to battle and compete every time a ball is thrown in the air," Anderson said.

 For the full 2010 schedule and more information. Please visit www.gohofstra.com.

Manhattan College Jaspers

The Jaspers are coming off another great season competing in the MAAC Conference. The 2009 season found the Jaspers on top of the Conference, winning their second straight regular season title with an 18-6 record in conference play. Overall the Jaspers were 35-18, putting up a 14-3 record at home, in Riverdale, NY. This past year was Manhattan’s fourth consecutive 30+ win season. This year they hope to make it their 5th and earn another bid to the NCAA Tournament.

2009 highlights include both Division I and Conference Rankings. In Division I baseball standing, the Manhattan Jaspers claim 5th in batting averages (.349), 12th in scoring (9.1 runs per game) and 22nd in doubles (2.45 per game). In MAAC Conference play,  the Jaspers are first in seven out of nine categories (batting average, slugging percentage, on-base percentage, runs scored, hits, RBI, doubles)  and 2nd in the remaining two (home runs, total bases). Batting average (.349), slugging percentage (.529), On-base percentage (.439), runs scored (480), hits (657), RBI (439), doubles (130) are the lengthy list where the Jaspers come out on top as conference leaders. They were second in home runs (61) and total bases (694). And looking to keep this going for the 2010 season.

Click for more on Kevin Nieto

The 2010 roster will include recently named 2010 PING! Baseball Pre Season All American Third Team, All-MAAC outfielder and 2010 Louisville Preseason All American Kevin Nieto, along with juniors Mike McCann, 2009 First Team All- MAAC and Mark Onorati, 2009 First Team All-MAAC. Last year Neito led all of Division I with a remarkable average of 1.57 runs per game, as well as breaking the program record of single season runs with 72 and 6 triples. Mike McCann steps up to the plate this season as the new record holder for most hits in a single season with 85, batting .393 last year with 13 homeruns.
Manhattan returns seven starters this season and 18 letter winners. Workouts have started and the Jaspers are looking forward to the start of the 2010 season. Slugger Anthony Armenio will most likely DH this season while Austin Sheffield will be at first and Chad Salem at the third. On the mound will be MAAC Pitcher of the Year, Mike Gazzola who posted a 7-1 record last year with four complete games. His last complete game came against Rider College in the opening game of the MAAC Championships.
The Jaspers have a lot to live up to this year and are getting ready for a solid 2010 season. With Kevin Leighton as head of the Jasper club the ballplayers are in a good position. Kevin and his staff have coached the Jaspers to the four team MAAC Tournament field each of his four years. In 2006 the Jaspers won their first MAAC title and advanced to the Regional Finals of the NCAA Tournament where they defeated Joba Chamberlain and the Nebraska Cornhuskers. 
At the end of February Coach Leighton and the Jaspers are heading down to Miami to play the Hurricanes for their opening weekend. The Jaspers will battle with teams from the ACC, Big East, Colonial Athletic Association and Conference USA outside of a challenging MAAC Conference. The Jaspers home game opener is. Saturday, April 3rd against St. Peters in Riverdale, New York. 

For the full 2010 schedule and more information. Please visit www.gojaspers.com.

Molloy College

The 2009 Molloy squad finished the season with an overall record of 26-19, an East Coast Conference ledger of 16-8, a second-place finish in the league, and head coach Fucarino earning recognition as the East coach Conference Coach of the year. They headed to the ECC Baseball Championships confident and ready to bring a title home. The Lions lost to St. Thomas Aquinas College (10-3) and Dowling College (4-2), who went on to win the Division II National Championship.

For the Lions, 2010 brings back a trio of pitchers. Leading the way is senior Steven Stewart, All-East Coast Conference first-team player and 2009 National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association All-America honorable mention. Last season the right-hander went 4-5 with an earned-run average of 1.63, ranking him seventh in the nation. He also ranked 11th in hits allowed per nine innings, at a ratio of 6.4. Stewart struck out 32 hitters in 71.2 innings pitched.


Robert LaRusso

The other two returners are sophomores Justin Jorgensen and Chuck Fontana. The slinging side-arm hurler, Jorgensen, posted a record of 7-4 with a 3.09 ERA, while Fontana registered a 9-6 ledger with 39 strikeouts. In 2009, freshman pitcher Fontana was pitches away from becoming one of a select few to pitch a perfect game for the Lions. Fontana took the mound in the ninth, Queens connected. Fontanas chance at a perfect game. was robbed. Michael Mongiardo was able to come in and save the game for Molloy, which secured Fontana's first win as a Lion. Also expected to make up the mix of the starting rotation are red-shirt freshman Larry Ulip in addition to seven newcomers.
With the bat, Molloy brings back a majority of its leading hitters from a year ago. Senior, and 2009 East Coast Conference Player of the Year, T.J. Greig batted a team-high .364 with five homers and 33 RBI. He also posted a .492 slugging percentage and a .425 on-base percentage. Junior Robert LaRusso was another .300-plus swinger (.313) for the Lions. He also raked seven homers and 33 RBI and LaRusso was selected to the All-ECC third-team.

Senior catcher Brian Benes and sophomore outfielder Carmine Pellechia will be key defense factors. Last year, Benes recorded 239 putouts and threw out 16 runners, owning a fielding percentage of .993. Pellechia was named the 2009 East Coast Conference Rookie of the Year, had 92 putouts and two assists over the course of 45 games played.

Fucarino and the Lions kick off their 2010 season on February 26 when they head to Myrtle Beach, S.C. for the Northeast Challenge.

For the full 2010 schedule and more information. Please visit www.athletics.molloy.edu.

New York Institute of Technology Bears

2010 will mark NYIT’s 28th season in the NCAA Division I competition and its first season in the Great West Conference.  Bob Hirschfield, head coach since 1982, is looking forward to the challenges that lie ahead. “We have some talented players on this year’s roster; they’re all eager to get to the conference championship.” As usual, the Bears face a difficult schedule, but are certainly up for the challenge.

The Bears return seven players to their lineup and ten pitchers, so they do have the experience to contend in their first year in the Great West. Captain and left hand pitcher, Andrew Guarrasi anchors this veteran staff. Andrew “really came on last year to prove that he is one of the more talented pitchers in the Northeast.” Guarrasi came off a strong summer performance in the New England Collegiate League to help his increase his reputation in the Northeast. Next in the rotation will be Preston Wasmund and right hand pitcher Frank Ryan. After both being placed on the DL in 2009, look for these two to be ready to go this spring. The bull pen will be anchored by two sidearm specialists, Mike Roth and Jon Costa. The top newcomer on the mound is Tom Cardona who looked very impressive during the fall workouts.

Brian Smith

From an offensive and defensive standpoint, the Bears’ have two key veterans returning to the lineup, third baseman Effrey Valdez and shortstop Brian Smith. Valdez is a real offensive threat and as “tough an out as there is in the Northeast.” Smith is the table setter in the lead off position in the Bears’ lineup. He not only has the ability to consistently get on base, but he possesses excellent speed and is a constant stolen base threat. Defensively, he is adapting well to shortstop after being moved there in the middle of last season. Rounding out the infield at first base is Chris Dienna and at second base, Ryan Campbell. Steve McNamara looked excellent this fall and may fit in nicely as the extra infielder or could earn a starting spot as the year progresses.

In the outfield, there are plenty of players, but the real question is who will be a starter. Early in the season the only mainstay will be center fielder Jerry Smith, who will return to the starting lineup after being out all last spring with a broken ankle. The other choices in the outfield are Eric Cos, Dan Lackner, Dane Hardy and Sebastian Grazziani. The corner positions are up for grabs, so look for a rotation in the outfield early in the season until things get settled. “The lefty/righty combinations might bode well for us early in the season.”

Behind the plate will be Greg Gilroy who will take over the full time duty behind the plate due to the loss of fellow senior George Carroll (DL for 2010). Transfer Vin Caposio will be a more than capable to relieve Gilroy on a daily basis.

No matter who scores what position, look for a great 2010 season from the Bears. NYIT will start their 2010 season on February 26 vs. Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.

For the full 2010 schedule and more information. Please visit www.nyit.edu/athletics.

St. John's University Red Storm

After making its 10th-straight BIG EAST Tournament appearance, the St. John's baseball team will look to continue its run of success in 2010 with head coach Ed Blankmeyer at the helm.  In 14 seasons at St. John's, the four-time BIG EAST Coach of the Year and four-time ABCA Northeast Region Coach of the Year has compiled a 470-285-3 record. The Red Storm returns 17 letterwinners from a 2009 squad that set new school records in batting average (.349), runs (473), RBI (440) and doubles (149), and finished the season 30-22 (16-11 BIG EAST).

The squad welcomes a 14-man recruiting class that was nationally-recognized by Baseball America.  Among this year's group of newcomers are four 2009 MLB draft picks in pitchers Matt Carasiti (36th round) and Kyle Hansen (40th round), and outfielders Jimmy Brennan (45th round) and Jeremy Baltz (45th round).

 


Greg Hopkins

Offensively, the Red Storm should be powerful once again this season.  Despite losing third team All-American Tim Morris (.415, 12 HR, 62 RBI) and two-time All-BIG EAST selection Brian Kemp (.379, 68 runs, 16 stolen bases), St. John's returns five starters that batted .321 or better. Among the top returnees are ABCA All-Northeast Region selection Jimmy Parque (.360, 17 2B, 61 RBI) and second team NCBWA Freshman All-American oe Panik (.332, 11 2B, 47 RBI). Two-time All-BIG EAST selection Paul Karmas (.331, 16 2B, 31 RBI), Greg Hopkins (.349, 7 HR, 45) and Matt Wessinger (.347, 15 2B, 31 RBI) round out the offensive returnees.

The staff also returns nine arms from a year ago, including four pitchers that logged at least 49.2 innings.  Righties Nick Cenatiempo (5.17 ERA), Bruce Kern (57 strikeouts, one complete game) and Eddie Medina (3.81 ERA) each finished the season with five wins, while lefties Kevin Kilpatrick (42 strikeouts, two saves) and Brendan Lobban (30 strikeouts) combined for seven wins.  Ryan Cole (2-0, 3.49 ERA) anchors the bullpen and had a team-best five saves a year ago.

St. John's has once again put together a difficult schedule, which includes contests against four teams that qualified for the 2009 NCAA Tournament.  Among the squad's non-conference opponents are Michigan, North Carolina and Boston College, while the 27-game BIG EAST slate includes three-game sets against Notre Dame and Louisville on the road and USF at home.

For the full 2010 schedule and more information. Please visit www.redstormsports.com.

St. Joseph's College Golden Eagles

The Eagles of St. Joseph’s have set their goals high for the 2010 season. In 2009, the Eagles finished 11-5, just two games behind Farmingdale State and SUNY Old Westbury and they don’t plan on that happening again. With an 81-29 record, the Eagles have recorded the highest winning percentage in the conference over the past six years. That’s a great statistic, but for the players on the team it isn’t enough.

Although the Eagles graduated valuable talent last year, this years roster appears to have the ability to vie for the Conference title. This years club will be lead by All-American second baseman Mike Gerdes (Wantagh), Ryan Caroll (Patchogue) and Jeff Coyle (Mastic), the latter two named to the Third Team ABCA/Rawlings All New York Region Teams and Frank DiPresso, a solid defense man at third base. Also returning are All Conference Players Joe Benkert (Lindenhurst) junior pitcher, Ron Eichhorn (Sayville) senior pitcher, Jason Dierkes (Mt. Sinai), sophomore pitcher. St. Joseph’s will also rely on outfielder Mark Cisek (Sayville) and Chris Wright (Hicksville), a junior first baseman.


Jeff Coyle

St. Joseph's will also be counting on sophomore transfer Parteek Thamen out of Hauppague, New York. He's an impact player in the outfield, first base and at the plate. The talent at shortstop is deep, so the position will be split between two sophomores, James  Carey (St. John the Baptist) and Dennis Nover (St. Francis Prep). On the mound for the Eagles will be Ryan Scarsbeck (Massapequa), a freshman pitcher and senior Frank Tucker. They both have experience playing in big games and handling pressure, but one of Tuckers biggest wins was over Kean State, the Division III champions in 2008.

The Eagles have impressed their fans with offensive records, but most impressive may be that the last two seasons they have hit over .330 each year. They know that this is a record they want to stay in possession of.  If this record is going to be broken, the Golden Eagles plan on breaking it themselves.

The upcoming season brings many challenges as their schedule includes 10 teams that made the regional world series in 2009.  The Eagles are very aware of the challenges in the upcoming season, but with a great crop of freshman ball players and a healthy pitching staff, this team is ready to play ball. St. Joseph’s first home game is March 6 vs. Stevens Tech at the Gregg Alfano Field in Patchogue, New York.


For the full 2010 schedule and more information. Please visit www.sjcny.edu.

Stony Brook University Seawolves

Stony Brook University is looking forward to the opportunity to bring an America East Championship back to Long Island. Entering his 20th season, Coach Matt Senk returns a solid mix of veteran leaders as well as a new crop of talented freshmen. The Seawolves made an appearance in the America East Tournament in 2009 and look to not only return to the playoffs, but also bring home the hardware.

Success for Stony Brook will start on the mound. Nick Tropeano is fresh off a great summer in the Hamptons League and will look to be the ace of the staff. Tyler Johnson is a promising righty who experienced summer success in the land of the midnight sun. He was a key part of the pitching staff that brought an Alaska League Title to the Mat-Su Miners. Jordan Purrington, Chris Maier, Mike Barbot, and Anthony Luciano will help bolster the staff with a veteran presence. Several newcomers will see significant time on the hill at University Field. Among these freshmen include local products Willy Carmona, Thor Miller and Adam Brown. James Campbell, Jasvir Raakar, G.C. Yerry and Patrick O'Leary will be expected to contribute on the mound.


Click for more on Nick Tropeano

Two freshmen are expected to see significant time in the outfield for the Seawolves in 2010. Travis Jankowski, a freshman from Lancaster, PA, is hoping to show off the athleticism that earned him all-state accolades in both football and baseball. A player who hails from North of the Border, Tanner Nivins displayed good power in his swing in the fall. Sophomore Sal Intagliata is another promising athlete who will see his name in the lineup.

In the infield, Junior Chad Marshall, another Canadian import, will help solidify the shortstop position. At second base, Maxx Tissenbaum, a Blue Jays draft pick, and fellow freshmen Vinny Cesear and John Ardonetto will all compete for time. Veterans Robert Dyer and Mike Stephan will both see time at first base and DH. Stephen Marino, a junior from nearby Selden, will man the hot corner for the Seawolves.

Despite some inexperience at some positions, the Seawolves will have plenty of veteran leadership from their catching corps. Senior Justin Ecchevaria returns from an injury for his final season with the Seawolves. “Ech” is an outstanding defender and will help shut down the running game. West Islip product Patrick Cantwell will also see time behind the dish, as well as the outfield.

On the bench, Coach Senk has added some new faces to his coaching staff. Coach Mike Marron is the new pitching coach. Marron, a product of Holy Cross, has coached at UMass-Lowell, as well as spending a summer in the prestigious Cape Cod League. Coach Jordan Wyckoff joined the Seawolves staff in the fall as the new volunteer assistant. Wyckoff, who grew up in Miller Place, played his college ball at Dickinson College. He has coaching experience in both the Alaska and Cape Cod League. Coach Joe Pennuci, one of the most respected assistants in the region, returns for his fourth season.

The Seawolves begin their 2010 season against UNC-Wilmington on March 6.

For the full 2010 schedule and more information. Please visit www.goseawolves.cstv.com.

Suny College At Old Westbury Panthers

The Panthers will open the 2010 season after ending 2009 with a program record 27 wins. Head coach John Lonardo, the 2009 Skyline Conference Coach of the Year, has assembled an impressive cast of talent for the 2010 roster and believes that it is within the realm of possibility that the Panthers are ready for the post season.

While the Panthers will have to deal with the departure of six seniors from its 2009 club, Old Westbury will welcome back 16 lettermen.  Lonardo is relying on his group of upperclassmen, along with a group of underclassmen who played key roles on the 2009 club, to mesh with and guide a talented crew of newcomers.


Dan Fordyce

After ranking fourth in both stolen bases (139) and stolen bases per game (3.48), Old Westbury will look to be a premier offensive club again this year.  Last season they scored 7.3 runs per game, clubbing 20 triples, ranking them 24th in the nation and 29th in triples per game (0.5). Old Westbury was also dominant on the mound last season, ranking 14th in hits allowed per nine innings (8.86) and 25th in strikeouts per nine innings (8.0).

One thing appears certain for the Panthers – a deep and talented pitching staff. Anchoring the Old Westbury staff is Dan Fordyce, a Second Team All-Skyline Conference selection. He went 5-0 with a 3.17 ERA in nine games (eight starts) a year ago posting two shutouts and three complete games in 48.1 innings of work.  Fordyce sat down 38 batters on strikes and walked 11 while holding the opposition to a .237 batting average.

Following him in the rotation is Robert Hugli, the clubs top returning winner after going 6-4 in 40.1 innings on the hill. Pitching Coach Rod Stephan has a bevy of talented hurlers in the mix for a rotation slot, as well. Joshua Burgos made three starts, registering a 2-1 record with a 2.91 ERA including one complete game shutout. 

Jorge Hiraldo was the closer last year. He made a team-high 19 appearances, putting in 24 innings of work on the bump. Hiraldo shutdown the opposing batters, handcuffing them to a .190 batting average. Hiraldo had five saves and a 2-0 record with a 2.25 ERA.

Offensively, Old Westbury will be led by senior shortstop/third basemen Albert Bevacqua.  Bevacqua comes off a season where he was named Third Team ABCA All-Region and Second Team All-Skyline Conference. Bevacqua totaled 33 RBI, while hitting .395 with 12 doubles, five homers and nabbed 21 stolen bases. Third basemen Ryan Blanco achieved First Team All-Skyline Conference laurels. Blanco hit .353 at the plate with 12 doubles, 33 RBI and 20 stolen bases in 37 games. Emmanuel Mateo will patrol the outfield, he enters the season with a career .306 average with 21 doubles, five triples, five home runs, 51 RBI and 41 stolen bases in 262 at bats.

When Old Westbury takes the field for the first time in 2010 on February 27 at Frostburg State in Western Maryland, they will begin a tough campaign. But the 2010 squad is ready to make history and take it to the 35th annual Division III Baseball Championship at Fox Cities Stadium in Appleton, Wisconsin. SUNY Old Westbury’s first home game is March 23 vs. Baruch College (NYC).
 

For the full 2010 schedule and more information. Please visit www.oldwestburypanthers.com.