2013 Patriot League Preview

  Conference Overall
  W L W L
*Army 18 2 41 15
Holy Cross 13 7 33 22
Navy 9 11 23 29
Bucknell 7 13 21 28
Lehigh 6 14 18 31
Lafayette 7 13 14 37
*2012 conference champion
Teams in bold are 2012 NCAA tournament participants. Teams are listed in order of predicted finish. Records listed are from 2012 season.
Projected NCAA Teams (1): Army.
Conference Schedule: 20 games; begins March 30.
Conference Tournament: Four teams, May 11-12 and 18-19 at higher seeds.
Player of the Year: Mike Ahmed, 3b, Holy Cross.
Pitcher of the Year: Chris Rowley, rhp, Army.


1. Alex Robinett, rhp, Army (2014)
2. Dan Goldstein, rhp, Bucknell
3. Mike Ahmed, 3b, Holy Cross
4. Chris Rowley, rhp, Army
5. Justin Pacchioli, of, Lehigh (2014)
1. Nick Lovullo, ss, Holy Cross (HS—Newbury Park, Calif.)
2. Robert Currie, of, Navy (HS—Atlanta)
3. Jon Mayer, c, Bucknell (HS—Dillsburg, Pa.)



Army ran roughshod over the Patriot League in 2012, rolling up a 22-3 record in conference play between the regular season and tournament. The Black Knights led the Patriot in scoring last season (5.63 runs per game), but they’ll have to revamp their lineup after losing 1B Kevin McKague (.379/.475/.535), last season’s Patriot player of the year, and three of their top four hitters in all. They’ll need some less proven names to step up, but they do have a solid building block in So. 2B Harold Earls (.341/.428/.397, league-leading 23 steals), the reigning Patriot freshman of the year. If Army has to lean on its pitching staff until the lineup sorts itself out, they have a group that should be up to the task. Last season’s Patriot pitcher of the year, Sr. RHP Chris Rowley (11-1, 2.40) returns to headline a staff that led the Patriot and ranked 31st in the nation with a 3.25 team ERA in 2012. Jr. LHP Nick Dignacco (7-2, 3.38) and So. RHP Alex Robinett (3-1, 2.73), who had Tommy John surgery in high school but has flashed intriguing arm strength, also return from last year’s rotation, along with closer Jr. RHP Gunnar Carroll (2-1, 2.48, eight saves).• Since 2006, five of the six Patriot schools have won at least one conference tournament title and gone on to regionals. Only Holy Cross hasn’t been able to break through. The Crusaders haven’t ventured to the NCAA tournament since 1978, but they set a school record with 33 wins last season, and they were the only Patriot team that won any games against Army, splitting the teams’ four-game regular-season series and pushing Army to three games in the Patriot League title series. The two teams are expected to be the class of the Patriot again, and the Crusaders should have the offensive weapons to challenge Army’s pitching staff and potentially end their 35-year NCAA drought. Jr. 3B/RHP Mike Ahmed (.295/.396/.488; 2-1, 3.24) might have a pro future on the mound after impressing as a reliever last season, but he also led the Patriot in homers (seven) in 2012 and is one of three all-conference performers returning to the Crusaders’ lineup, joining Jr. SS Alex Maldonado (.292/.366/.358) and Sr. OF Patrick Puentes (.343/.460/.455). Holy Cross can also count on a veteran weekend rotation featuring two seniors in RHP Tom Marra (4-3, 3.27) and LHP Chris Kono (3-1, 5.18), with another senior at the back of the bullpen in RHP John Colella (6-1, 2.32, 11 saves).

Bucknell has a new head coach for the first time in more than a generation after Gene Depew retired last year at the end of his 31st season leading the program. Depew led the Bison to eight NCAA tournaments and won 591 games, and now he’ll turn the reins over to Scott Heather, who was promoted to the head job after spending the last eight seasons as Bucknell’s pitching coach. The Bison will start three seniors on their infield, led by 2B Travis Clark (.293/.366/.431), the lineup’s top returning hitter, but their rotation is what gives them a chance to improve on last year’s 7-13 conference record. All three starters from the end of 2012 are back, led by steady, strike-throwing So. RHP Bryson Hough (2-7, 3.63), but the difference-maker could be Sr. RHP Dan Goldstein, a reliever for most of his college career who moved into the rotation at midseason last year. Goldstein went just 1-3, 6.62 for Bucknell in 2012, but he pitched well over the summer and has attracted scouts with his low-90s velocity and feel for pitching.