North Region Preview

BIG EAST CONFERENCE
HOW THEY’LL FINISH

CONFERENCE OVERALL

W L W L
*Louisville (13) 19 7 47 18
South Florida 18 9 34 25
Connecticut 14 13 36 24
St. John’s 16 11 30 22
Notre Dame 15 12 36 23
West Virginia 17 10 37 18
Cincinnati 13 14 29 29
Pittsburgh 13 13 28 21
Rutgers 8 19 22 31
Seton Hall 13 14 25 24
Villanova 6 20 22 28
Georgetown 8 18 17 34
Projected NCAA Teams (3): Louisville, South Florida, Connecticut.
Conference Schedule: 27 games, begins March 26.
Conference Tournament: Eight teams, May 26-30 at Clearwater, Fla.
ALL-CONFERENCE TOURNAMENT
C—Erick Fernandez, Jr., Georgetown (.349/.426/.544, 5 HR). 1B—Andrew Clark, Sr., Louisville (.350/.479/.555, 9 HR). 2B—T.J. Jones, So., Cincinnati (.327/.444/.512).
3B—Dan DiBartolomeo, Jr., West Virginia (.439/.489/.644, 8 HR). SS—Jedd Gyorko, Jr., West Virginia (.421/.487/.658, 8 HR). OF—Jimmy Parque, Jr., St. John’s (.360/.425/.509, 5 HR); Josh Richmond, Jr., Louisville (.307/.382/.487, 7 HR); George Springer, So., Connecticut (.358/.454/.679, 16 HR, 12 SB). DH—Phil Wunderlich, Jr., Louisville (.367/.444/.669, 18 HR).
SP—Randy Fontanez, Jr., South Florida (7-3, 3.09, 99 IP/57 SO); Thomas Royse, Jr., Louisville (3-2, 3.48, 41 IP/48 SO); Jarryd Summers, Jr., West Virginia (7-3, 3.05, 94 IP/99 SO). RP—Kevin Quackenbush, Jr., South Florida (2-2, 3.94, 6 SV, 32 IP/39 SO).
PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Jedd Gyorko ss, West Virginia.
PITCHER OF THE YEAR: Randy Fontanez, rhp, South Florida.
TOP NEWCOMERS
1.Kyle Hansen, rhp, St. John’s (HS—Oyster Bay, N.Y.)
2. Matt Koch, rhp, Louisville (HS—Cherokee, Iowa)
3. Chad Taylor, 2b, South Florida (HS—Tampa)

TOP PROSPECTS, 2010 DRAFT
1.Jedd Gyorko, ss, West Virginia
2. Mike Olt, 3b, Connecticut
3. Joe Leonard, 3b, Pittsburgh
4. Josh Richmond, of, Louisville
5. Thomas Royce, rhp, Louisville
6. Randy Fontanez, rhp, South Florida
7. Stewart Ijames, of, Louisville
8. Andrew Clark, 1b, Louisville
9. Kevan Smith, c/dh, Pittsburgh
10. Jarryd Summers, rhp, West Virginia
TOP PROSPECTS, 2011 DRAFT
1.George Springer, of, Connecticut
2.Matt Barnes, rhp, Connecticut
3. Tony Zych, rhp, Louisville
4. Ryan Wright, ss, Louisville
5.Sam Mende, ss, South Florida
6. Derek Self, rhp, Louisville
7. Keith Landers, lhp, Louisville
8.Charlie Law, rhp, Rutgers
9. Greg Hopkins, 3b, St. John’s
10. Kevin Vance, rhp, Connecticut

QUICK HITS

• Conference coaches were nearly unanimous in their support of Louisville as the Big East favorite, but they were nearly as enthusiastic about South Florida as the second-best team. A veteran USF team will be led by Jr. RHP Randy Fontanez, with three other juniors playing major roles on the pitching staff and an experienced lineup. Fontanez throws his fastball at 88-91 mph with a quality curveball and slider, and he’s an innings-eater. The Bulls made regionals in back-to-back seasons in 2001 and ’02 when they were in Conference USA, but they haven’t been back since. This is South Florida’s fifth season in the Big East, and it finished second last season as well but did not make regionals. South Florida is also raising money to replace its current stadium, which was built in the 1960s, with a new ballpark built on the same site. The cost of the new ballpark is estimated at $8 million. “We fully expect to build this baseball program into one that not only rises to the top of the Big East Conference, but also challenges the best in the nation,” said South Florida coach Lelo Prado, who is entering his fourth season. “We have a great university here, are located in a region rich with baseball talent and tradition, and have assembled a staff with championship experience. We’re setting our sights on Omaha and will accept nothing less.”

• Connecticut has not been to a regional since 1994, but the Huskies might have the most talented roster in the Northeast this spring, and a return to the NCAA tournament is within their reach. Jr. 3B Mike Olt (.301/.387/.527) is one of the Big East’s top power hitters and could be drafted as high as the second round in June. Jr. 2B Pierre LePage (.340/.389/.421) is also garnering top-10-rounds draft buzz. LePage was slowed by a hamstring injury last year but is healthy now and will be a sparkplug atop the lineup. The Huskies also have the conference’s two best prospects in the sophomore class in OF George Springer and RHP Matt Barnes (5-3, 5.43, 53 IP/55 SO). Springer’s power-speed combination helped him rank as the No. 27 prospect in the Cape Cod League last summer. Barnes can run his fastball up to 95 and could be a first-round pick if he can continue to refine his command. But Barnes won’t have to anchor the rotation this spring, as crafty Jr. LHP Elliot Glynn (5-4, 4.76) gives UConn a bulldog on Friday nights.

• West Virginia has two of the best prospects in the league in Jr. SS Jedd Gyorko and Jr. RHP Jarryd Summers, but a young lineup may keep the Mountaineers from making a move in the Big East standings. Gyorko is one of the top college prospects in the nation for the 2010 draft, and many scouts regarded him as the best pure hitter in the Cape Cod League last summer. One Cape manager called him a smaller version of Kevin Youkilis, and scouts compared him to Dan Uggla. Most think he’ll move to second or third base as a pro, but he’ll play shortstop for West Virginia.

• St. John’s ranked sixth in the nation in batting last year (.349), but the offense figures to take a step backward after losing stalwarts Tim Morris, Brian Kemp, Carlos Del Rosario and Gino Matias. Still, the Red Storm has a quality group of line-drive hitters in Jr. 1B Paul Karmas (.331/.353/.500), Jr. 3B Greg Hopkins (.349/.409/.550), So. SS Joe Panik (.332/.426/.513) and talented Fr. OF Jeremy Baltz. But the Johnnies figure to reinvent themselves as a pitching-and-defense outfit this year. The weekend rotation is not overpowering but is well stocked with competitive strike-throwers, led by Sr. RHP Bruce Kern (5-4,6.09). And the deep bullpen is headlined by one of the Big East’s top closers in Sr. RHP Ryan Cole (2-0, 3.49, 5 SV).

• Notre Dame is still looking for its first regional appearance in the Dave Schrage era, which began in 2007. The Fighting Irish could have the conference’s premier weekend rotation this spring, as Jr. RHP Cole Johnson (7-3, 4.47), Sr. RHP Eric Maust (6-3, 4.94) and Jr. RHP Brian Dupra (6-5, 7.13, 82 IP/78 SO) are all hard throwers capable of dominating—though they have yet to realize their potential. Offense is another matter; the Irish will sorely miss departed All-American OF A.J. Pollock, a first-round pick last June, and SS Jeremy Barnes, who led the team with 15 homers a year ago. They were hoping Jr. OF Golden Tate would become the centerpiece of the lineup, but he opted to shelve his baseball career and concentrate on preparing for the NFL draft after catching 93 passes for 1,496 yards and 15 touchdowns last fall for the Irish. His departure puts a lot of pressure on Jr. 1B David Casey (.330/.404/.511) to anchor the middle of the lineup.

AMERICA EAST CONFERENCE
HOW THEY’LL FINISH

CONFERENCE OVERALL

W L W L
*Binghamton 13 7 30 22
Stony Brook 14 10 29 23
Maine 13 11 32 23
Albany 15 9 26 31
Hartford 7 15 15 32
UMBC 4 18 9 36
Projected NCAA Teams (1): Binghamton.
Conference Schedule: 24 games, begins April 10.
Conference Tournament: Four teams, May 26-28 at site of regular season champion.
ALL-CONFERENCE TOURNAMENT
C—Myckie Lugbauer, Sr., Maine (.321/.395/.446). 1B—Rob Dyer, Sr., Stony Brook (.285/.349/.610, 15 HR). 2B—Jim Calderone, Sr., Binghamton (.358/.428/.522, 5 HR, 14 SB). 3B—Vic Santana, So., Hartford (.357/.513/.500). SS—Chad Marshall, Jr., Stony Brook (.354/.394/.453, 13 2B). OF—Andy Drexel, Jr., Hartford (.363/.431/.625, 7 HR); Ian Leisenheimer, So., Maine (.356/.414/.500, 5 HR); Corey Taylor, Jr., Binghamton (.340/.395/.681, 16 HR, 11 SB). DH— Dave Ciocchi, So., Binghamton (.381/.440/.565, 5 HR). UT—Cory Beahm, So., Hartford (.222/.321/.244; 3-4, 6.57, 38 IP/29 SO).
SP—Keith Bilodeau, So., Maine (1-7, 4.38, 64 IP/38 SO); James Giuletti, Jr., Binghamton (4-1, 5.03, 59 IP/35 SO); Nick Tropeano, So., Stony Brook (5-1, 5.12, 58 IP/50 SO). RP—Kyle Benoit, So., Maine (3-1, 5.45, 35 IP/44 SO, 1 SV).
PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Corey Taylor, of, Binghamton.
PITCHER OF THE YEAR: Nick Tropeano, rhp, Stony Brook.
TOP NEWCOMER: Jeffrey Gibbs, rhp, Maine (HS—Toronto).

TOP PROSPECTS, 2010 DRAFT
1.Corey Taylor, of, Binghamton
2. Chris Greiner, rhp, Hartford
3. James Giuletti, rhp, Binghamton
4. Tyler Johnson, rhp, Stony Brook
5. David Kubiak, rhp, Albany

QUICK HITS

• The America East had to restructure this season after losing its seventh member, Vermont, to budget troubles that led the school to drop baseball. Let history record that the Catamounts’ final game was a 10-9 loss to Albany in the conference tournament semifinals last year. The league will split into two divisions for scheduling purposes, with Binghamton, Maryland-Baltimore County and Stony Brook playing in the Southern Division and Albany, Hartford and Maine in the Northern Division. Division teams will play two three-game series against each other and four games against teams from the other division. When it comes to qualifying for the conference tournament, however, it will be the four teams with the best overall winning percentage, regardless of division.

• Binghamton looks to build off its first regional bid last year and will try to win its fourth straight regular season conference crown (last season was the first time the Bearcats won the conference tournament, earning the league’s automatic bid). The team lost two of its top four starters as well as its closer, but Jr. OF Corey Taylor leads an experienced lineup that lost just one everyday starter.

• The league’s top arm is Stony Brook So. RHP Nick Tropeano, who was the top prospect in the Atlantic Collegiate League last summer (as well as the league pitcher of the year) and should be a legitimate 2010 draft prospect if he builds on that momentum. He went 7-3, 1.61 to lead the ACBL in wins and ERA as well as strikeouts (77). He allowed just 36 hits in 50 innings of work and walked just 14 batters. His best pitch is his breaking ball, and he could add velocity to his 87-88 mph fastball as he fills out his 6-foot-4 frame.

ATLANTIC 10 CONFERENCE
HOW THEY’LL FINISH

CONFERENCE OVERALL

W L W L
Dayton 21 6 38 19
Charlotte 21 6 33 22
Richmond 11 16 22 25
*Xavier 18 9 39 21
Rhode Island 18 9 37 20
Massachusetts 16 11 27 26
Temple 11 15 17 33
Fordham 16 11 22 32
Saint Louis 12 13 30 25
George Washington 11 15 22 33
St. Bonaventure 9 17 24 25
Saint Joseph’s 11 15 16 30
La Salle 8 18 19 30
Duquesne 7 19 14 41
Projected NCAA Teams (1): Dayton.
Conference Schedule: 27 games, begins March 27.
Conference Tournament: Six teams, May 26-29 at Camden, N.J.
ALL-CONFERENCE TOURNAMENT
C—Neil Lindgren, Sr., Xavier (.307/.438/.460, 5 HR). 1B—Ben Thomas, Jr., Xavier (.338/.415/.667, 16 HR). 2B— Zach Jacob, Sr., Dayton (.354/.432/.578, 11 HR). 3B—Jimmy Roesinger, Jr., Dayton (.401/.437/.575, 11 SB). SS—Tom Zebroski, Sr., George Washington (.347/.413/.528, 8 HR, 17 SB). OF—Mike Donato, Sr., Massachusetts (.336/.388/.484, 13 2B); Sean Rockey, Sr., George Washington (.420/.504/.679, 10 HR, 11 SB); Justin Wilson, Jr., Charlotte (.364/.447/.487, 19 SB). DH—Dewey Oriente, Sr., St. Joseph’s (.403/.443/.604, 6 HR). UT—Ryan Rivers, Jr., Charlotte (.313/.395/.635, 18 HR; 0-1, 5.14, 28 IP/21 SO)
SP—Eric Cantrell, Jr., George Washington (5-2, 4.46, 73 IP/60 SO); Cameron Hobson, So., Dayton (7-1, 3.43, 79 IP/83 SO); Joe Yermal, Jr., Charlotte (8-3, 3.01, 84 IP/37 SO). RP—Ian Marshall, rhp, Richmond (1-4, 6.12, 43 IP/36 SO).
PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Ryan Rivers, 1b/rhp, Charlotte.
PITCHER OF THE YEAR: Cameron Hobson, lhp, Dayton.
TOP NEWCOMER: Kevin Gillespie, 3b/ss, Charlotte (Tr.—Lincoln Trail, Ill., CC).

TOP PROSPECTS, 2010 DRAFT
1.Ryan Rivers, 1b/rhp, Charlotte
2. Cameron Hobson, lhp, Dayton
3. Burny Mitchem, Dayton
4. Eric Cantrell, rhp, George Washington
5. Matt Zielinski, lhp, Richmond

QUICK HITS

• Dayton and Charlotte tied for the Atlantic 10 regular season championship last season before falling in the conference tournament during Xavier’s surprising run to the title, and those two teams should again battle for conference supremacy. Charlotte has gone 160-70 (.695) over the past four seasons, the ninth-best mark in the nation over that time, and will lean on Jr. Ryan Rivers, who led the conference with 18 home runs and has pro potential as both an RHP and 1B/OF. Rivers has pitched sparingly because the 49ers wanted him to focus on hitting, but he touches 93 mph with his fastball and throws a slider as well. He has a power bat and is a good defensive first baseman, with the ability to play the outfield if needed. Dayton’s top prospect is So. LHP Cameron Hobson, who has an 87-91 mph fastball and an above-average curveball, and his changeup has potential as well. Dayton coaches also call him a “relentless competitor” with strong makeup.

• St. Joseph’s is also trying to make a move up the A-10 standings, an effort that began last year when the Hawks hired former Army pitching coach Fritz Hamburg—Baseball America’s 2007 Assistant Coach of the Year—to take over the program. St. Joe’s went 16-30 in Hamburg’s first season but notched its best conference finish in six years, and he expects improvement in year two thanks to a more experienced lineup, and healthy seasons from Sr. 1B Brian Hartsell and Jr. SS Joe Cook. Hamburg still needs more young arms to come through, however, with So. RHP A.J. Holland a candidate for a breakout. The Hawks have also reached an agreement with the Camden Riversharks of the independent Atlantic League to play all their home games at Campbell’s Field, which is just across the Ben Franklin Bridge from Philadelphia. St. Joe’s sees the Camden ballpark as a transition, as it hopes to build an on-campus facility in the next few years. Campbell’s Field will also be the site of the A-10 tournament.

• Richmond took its lumps with an extremely young team in 2009, and the Spiders have high hopes for a 2010 team that returns all but one starting position player and all but two pitchers. Infield defense should be a strength, as So. 2B Adam McConnell, Sr. SS Victor Croglio and Sr. 3B Cameron Brown are among the A-10′s top defenders at their positions. McConnell and Croglio also bring good speed to the basepaths, and Brown is one of Richmond’s top power threats. The lineup could be very dangerous if Jr. DH Billy Barber (.278/.400/.583, 7 HR) can return to his stellar freshman year form, when he slugged .703 and hit 13 home runs. The solid weekend rotation will depend upon Sr. LHP Matt Zielinski (2-4, 6.27) on Fridays. The biggest question mark facing Richmond is in the bullpen, where Sr. RHP Ian Marshall (1-4, 6.12) must try to replace closer Brian Alas—the school’s all-time saves leader.

IVY LEAGUE
HOW THEY’LL FINISH

CONFERENCE OVERALL
GEHRIG W L W L
Cornell 10 10 17 23
Columbia 7 13 11 32
Princeton 10 10 18 19
Penn 5 15 17 24
ROLFE W L W L
*Dartmouth 16 4 27 18
Brown 15 5 24 19
Harvard 10 10 13 28
Yale 7 13 13 24
Projected NCAA Teams (1): Dartmouth.
Conference Schedule: 20 games, begins April 3.
Conference Tournament: Division winners play best-of-three series for league championship, May 8-9.
ALL-CONFERENCE TOURNAMENT
C—Dean Forthun, Sr., Columbia (.298/.394/.418). 1B—Trygg Larsson-Danforth, Sr., Yale (.344/.424/.573, 7 HR). 2B—Jeff Onstott, Jr., Dartmouth (.308/.427/.497). 3B— Pete Greskoff, Jr., Brown (.339/.437/.679, 11 HR). SS—Joe Sclafani, So., Dartmouth (.339/.417/.477, 6 HR). OF—Brian Billigen, So., Cornell (.404/.452/.535); Nick Cox, Jr., Columbia (.290/.370/.428, 16 SB); Tom Grandieri, Sr., Penn (.357/.423/.573, 5 HR). DH—Jim Wren, Sr., Dartmouth (.325/.374/.506, 5 HR). UT—Jadd Schmeltzer, Jr., rhp/dh (.220/.304/.451, 5 HR; 2-3, 4.01, 43 IP/42 SO).
SP—Mark Gormley, Jr., Brown (6-2, 4.55, 61 IP/50 SO); Kyle Hendricks, So., Dartmouth (6-3, 4.84, 67 IP/50 SO); Robert Young, Sr., Dartmouth (5-4, 4.63, 68 IP/42 SO). RP—Ryan Smith, Jr., Dartmouth (2-3, 5.88, 34 IP/28 SO, 11 SV).
PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Joe Sclafani, ss, Dartmouth.
PITCHER OF THE YEAR: Kyle Hendricks, rhp, Dartmouth.
TOP NEWCOMER: Chris O’Dowd, c, Dartmouth (HS—Aurora, Colo.).

TOP PROSPECTS, 2010 DRAFT
1.Robert Young, rhp, Dartmouth
2. David Rochefort, rhp., Cornell
3. Andy Megee, 3b/rhp, Yale
4. Brian Billigen, of, Cornell
5. Mark Gormley, lhp, Brown

QUICK HITS

• Dartmouth won the Rolfe Division for fifth time in the 2000s last season, but the Big Green won the Ivy League championship series to reach regionals for the first time since 1987. Dartmouth was on a mission after going 15-5 in the conference in 2008 and hosting the championship series but losing to Columbia. “In the last 10 years we’ve won more Ivy games than any school in either division, but at the same time you’re in this to win championships, not just to collect wins,” Dartmouth coach Bob Whalen said. The Big Green have two premium sophomores who could be the standout talents on this year’s team in SS Joe Sclafani, who was the league’s rookie of the year last season, and RHP Kyle Hendricks, who pitches in the low 90s and has command of three pitches. Dartmouth returns virtually every significant pitcher from last year’s team, and Sr. LHP Robert Young will be the Friday starter.

• In his first season as the coach at his alma mater, Bill Walkenbach took Cornell to the Ivy League championship series, as the Big Red went 10-10 and tied for the Gehrig Division title with Princeton. Walkenbach was a standout player at Cornell in the late 1990s as well as an assistant from 2003-05, when the school won its first-ever division title, and he’ll face higher expectations this season. Cornell returns most of its significant contributors from last year’s team, and the team’s top six pitchers are all juniors or seniors, led by Jr. RHPs Corey Pappel and Jadd Schmeltzer, who will front the rotation. Schmeltzer will also contribute to the lineup as a DH, where the key will be replacing the left side of the infield. Two sophomores, 3B Frank Hager and SS Marshall Yanzick, will replace two graduated seniors including 3B Nathan Ford, who was an all-Ivy performer. Princeton, the Ivy’s most consistent program in the decade, could take a step back after losing a large group of seniors.

METRO ATLANTIC ATHLETIC CONFERENCE
HOW THEY’LL FINISH

CONFERENCE OVERALL

W L W L
Manhattan 18 6 35 18
Canisius 16 8 36 22
*Marist 15 9 36 22
Rider 14 10 26 23
Siena 9 15 15 35
Fairfield 10 14 20 27
Niagara 14 10 20 35
Iona 5 19 6 40
St. Peter’s 7 17 17 37
Projected NCAA Teams (1): Manhattan.
Conference Schedule: 24 games, begins March 27.
Conference Tournament: Four teams, May 27-30 at Fishkill, N.Y.
ALL-CONFERENCE TOURNAMENT
C—Chris Horning, Jr., Fairfield (.304/.417/.370). 1B—Kevin Quaranto, Jr., Siena (.341/.475/.551, 16 2B). 2B—Dan Paolini, So., Siena (.430/.484/.685, 11 HR). 3B—Steve McQuail, Jr., Canisius (.314/.370/.548, 10 HR). SS—Conor Mullee, Sr., St. Peter’s (.276/.359/.434, 13 SB). OF—Ian Choy, Sr., Canisius (.359/.478/.581, 9 HR); Mike McCann, Jr., Manhattan (.388/.467/.653, 13 HR, 10 SB); Kevin Nieto, Sr., Manhattan (.396/.480/.754, 13 HR, 25 SB). DH—Tucker Nathans, Jr., Fairfield (.377/.460/.546). UT—Shayne Wilson, Sr., Canisius (3-2, 4.34, 19 IP/14 SO, 4 SV; .340/.392/.572, 9 HR)
SP—Shane Davis, Jr., Canisius (9-2, 6.84, 79 IP/55 SO); Rob Gariano, Sr., Fairfield (5-4, 3.43, 84 IP/88 SO); Mike Gazzola, Sr., Manhattan (7-1, 4.15, 93 IP/54 SO). RP—Justin Servino, Sr., Fairfield (1-3, 4.91, 22 IP/19 SO, 6 SV)
PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Kevin Nieto, of, Manhattan.
PITCHER OF THE YEAR: Mike Gazzola, lhp, Manhattan.
TOP NEWCOMER: Kyle Charron, of/rhp, Iona (HS—Schaghticoke, N.Y.).

TOP PROSPECTS, 2010 DRAFT
1.Rob Gariano, rhp, Fairfield
2. Shane Davis, lhp, Canisius
3. Kevin Nieto, of, Manhattan
4. Steve McQuail, 2b, Canisius
5. Tom Costigan, rhp, Manhattan

QUICK HITS

• Manhattan and Canisius should again battle for MAAC supremacy. They finished 1-2 in the regular season last year but got upset in the conference tournament. Canisius, one of the worst teams in Division I before the arrival of coach Mike McRae, has won 77 games over the last two seasons and is one of 30 schools in the country that has won at least 35 games in the last two years. The Golden Griffins return a talented core of players like Jr. RHP Shane Davis and Sr. OF Ian Choy, who was an all-conference selection last year, but several young players will be stepping into new roles, particularly in the bullpen. Manhattan has our preseason player and pitcher of the year in OF Kevin Nieto and LHP Mike Gazzola, and similarly has a veteran-laden team with players who are accustomed to winning. “I think that our pitching has improved from last year, our offense will be our strength, and with some new guys in key spots our defense will be our question mark,” Jaspers coach Kevin Leighton said.

• Marist, coming off the sixth regional berth in program history and fifth of the decade, has a new coach in alumnus Chris Tracz. Tracz replaces Dennis Healy, who left to become part of the new staff at Wake Forest. Tracz was a freshman All-American in 2001 and helped the Red Foxes to three regional berths during his playing career, and his 3.13 career ERA is the second-best in program history. He served as Marist’s pitching coach and recruiting coordinator after graduating, then moved across the Hudson River to serve as Army’s pitching coach last year. “I am thrilled to have the opportunity to return to my alma mater and to a place that has been so special to me,” Tracz said. “I look forward to continuing the tradition of success that the Marist baseball program has enjoyed since the mid-90s.”

NORTHEAST CONFERENCE
HOW THEY’LL FINISH

CONFERENCE OVERALL

W L W L
Wagner 17 9 31 21
*Monmouth 15 11 32 25
Central Conn. State 16 11 26 22
Mount St. Mary’s 15 11 23 25
‘ Bryant 32 22
Sacred Heart 16 10 29 27
Fairleigh Dickinson 11 17 16 34
Quinnipiac 11 17 8 13
Long Island 6 21 10 40
‘ Provisional Division I school; ineligible for postseason play.
Projected NCAA Teams (1): Wagner.
Conference Schedule: 28 games, begins April 1.
Conference Tournament: Four teams, May 27-29 at Bridgewater, N.J.
ALL-CONFERENCE TOURNAMENT
C—Jeff Heppner, Sr., Sacred Heart (.351/.410/.635, 13 HR); 1B— Vin Avella, Sr., Wagner (.307/.404/.630, 16 HR). 2B—Matt Holsman, So., Fairleigh Dickinson (.323/.358/.385). 3B—Ryan Terry, Jr., Monmouth (.320/.402/.461, 16 SB). SS—Anthony Scialdone, Sr., Central Connecticut State (.351/.415/.483, 11 2B). OF—Damian Csakai, Sr., Wagner (.332/.412/.422, 37 SB); Shane Eyler, Jr., Mount St. Mary’s (.380/.446/.717, 15 HR); Nick Pulsonetti, Jr., Monmouth (.355/.419/.610, 11 HR, 13 SB). DH—Zach Sand, Sr., Fairleigh Dickinson (.379/.464/.679).
SP—Jared Balbach, Sr., Sacred Heart (8-2, 4.32, 83 IP/55 SO); Eric Polvani, So., Bryant (8-2, 2.04, 79 IP/58 SO); Matt Watson, Sr., Wagner (9-2, 3.64, 64 IP/31 SO). RP—Spencer Kelly, Jr., Fairleigh Dickinson (2-1, 2.91, 4 SV, 22 IP/18 SO).
PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Shane Eyler, of, Mount St. Mary’s.
PITCHER OF THE YEAR: Matt Watson, rhp, Wagner.
TOP NEWCOMER: Pat Light, rhp, Monmouth (HS—Lincroft, N.J.).

TOP PROSPECTS, 2010 DRAFT
1.Nick Melchiorre, rhp, Fairleigh Dickinson
2. Damon Csakai, of, Wagner
3. Brian Dillon, 1b, Fairleigh Dickinson
4. Jeff Vigurs, c, Bryant
5. Pat Epps, if, Central Connecticut State

QUICK HITS

• Wagner won the NEC’s regular season crown last year but was toppled in the conference tournament, and the Seahawks enter 2010 as the league’s favorites. Wagner’s veteran lineup features eight upperclassmen, headlined by Sr. CF Damian Csakai, a blazing runner with excellent instincts on the basepaths, as evidenced by his 91 career stolen bases in 100 attempts. He is also an exceptional defender, as is Jr. SS Brian Marturartus (.366/.404/.529, 18 SB). The only question facing Wagner is whether the pitching staff will gel after ace Matt Watson, the reigning NEC pitcher of the year thanks to his feel for pitching and quality secondary stuff. Jr. David Rees, whose best asset is his lively fastball, will try to transition from the lefty specialist role to closer.

• Monmouth finished tied for fourth in the NEC last year but won the conference tournament, capping an amazing three-year run that included conference titles in 2007 and ’09 and a school record for wins in 2008 (37). The Hawks will have a new identity in 2010 after losing RHP Ryan Buch (White Sox, 8th) and RHP Brett Brach (Indians, 10th) to the draft and several hitters to graduation, and coach Dean Ehehalt said the strength of this year’s team will be its speed and ability to manufacture runs. The pitching staff will be untested but still talented, with two freshmen expected to step right into the weekend rotation. RHP Pat Light is the best prospect, a 6-foot-6 28th-round pick of the Twins last year out of high school in New Jersey. Light pitches at 89-91 mph with his fastball with good movement and a good slider.

• Former Division II power Bryant continues its transition to Division I play this season by joining the NEC as a provisional member. The Bulldogs played as an independent last year and went 32-22 in their first season in D-I. Bryant will play a full conference schedule this season and will be included in the conference regular season standings, but it won’t participate in the conference tournament until 2013. Conference coaches think the Bulldogs will be able to hold their own, picking them in the middle of the NEC pack, and coach Jamie Pinzino looks for a good season if the team can fill holes at shortstop and at the back of the rotation. Key players will be Sr. C Jeff Vigurs, who has a strong arm and good footwork behind the plate and can drive the ball to all fields, and Jr. RHP Dave O’Brien, who is bouncing back from Tommy John surgery.

PATRIOT LEAGUE
HOW THEY’LL FINISH

CONFERENCE OVERALL

W L W L
*Army 13 7 36 21
Holy Cross 11 7 22 27
Bucknell 13 7 22 25
Navy 8 12 20 26
Lafayette 9 11 24 29
Lehigh 4 14 11 36
Projected NCAA Teams (1): Army.
Conference Schedule: 20 games, begins April 3.
Conference Tournament: Four teams; semifinals May 15-16 and finals May 22-23 at site of higher seeds.
ALL-CONFERENCE TOURNAMENT
C—B.J. LaRosa, Sr., Bucknell (.320/.380/.443). 1B—Joey Henshaw, Jr., Army (.383/.438/.646, 13 HR). 2B—Zach Price, So., Army (.355/.480/.426, 14 SB). 3B—Matt Perry, Sr., Holy Cross (.423/.491/.626, 16 2B). SS—Clint Moore, Jr., Army (.395/.494/.724, 18 2B, 11 HR). OF—Andrew Brouse, Sr., Bucknell (.330/.412/.625, 10 HR), Rob Froio, Jr., Lafayette (.367/.437/.444, 20 SB); Andy Russell, Jr., Lehigh (.348/.457/.604, 13 2B, 10 SB). DH—Mike Guadagnini, Sr., Navy (.374/.428/.544, 16 2B). UT—Ben Koenigsfeld, Jr., Army (.342/.393/.533; 8-4, 4.89, 85 IP/64 SO).
SP—Matt Fouch, Sr., Army (7-5, 4.70, 90 IP/65 SO); Trey Frahler, Jr., Bucknell (6-4, 4.34, 66 IP/43 SO); Matt Shapiro, Sr., Holy Cross (3-4, 6.40, 58 IP/41 SO). RP— Kevin McKague, Jr., Army (.389/.457/.527; 0-0, 4.57, 7 SV, 22 IP/17 SO)
PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Matt Perry, 3b, Holy Cross.
PITCHER OF THE YEAR: Ben Koenigsfeld, of/rhp, Army.
TOP NEWCOMER: Sean Killeen, if/c, Lehigh (Tr.—Tulane).

TOP PROSPECTS, 2010 DRAFT
1.Bobby Holmes, rhp, Holy Cross
2. Matt Perry, 3b, Holy Cross
3. Brendan McGaheran, ss, Lehigh
4. Sean Killeen, if/c, Lehigh
5. Sam Long, lhp, Navy

QUICK HITS

• Army has emerged as the most successful program in the Patriot League in the decade, winning four regular season conference titles in the last six years and three tournament titles, and is coming off arguably the best season in school history with a conference title and a regional finals trip, the school’s deepest postseason run ever. The Black Knights have won at least 25 games for six straight seasons and return six everyday starters and 10 of their top 11 pitchers from last year’s team. Reigning Patriot pitcher of the year Ben Koenigsfeld, who became the first player in league history to earn all-conference honors at two different positions in the same season (he also earned a nod in the outfield), returns to lead the pitching staff. The team also returns two all-conference hitters in 2B Zach Price, who was the league’s freshman of the year last season, and Jr. 1B Joey Henshaw, who led the league in hits, home runs and RBIs last year.

• Holy Cross has its eye on a run at the Patriot League crown and its first regional appearance since 1978. The Crusaders’ solid offense is headlined by Sr. 3B Matt Perry (.423/.491/.626, 7 HR), the reigning Patriot League player of the year. On the mound, Sr. RHP Bobby Holmes (3-7, 7.41) has ace-caliber stuff, with a fastball that reaches 92, and could have a big year if he can refine his command.

College | #2010 #Season Preview

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