America East 2010 Baseball Preview

January 7, 2010
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Binghamton Looks To Defend First Postseason Crown

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2010 America East Conference Baseball Preview

2009 Regular Season Champion: Binghamton (30-22, 13-7)

2009 Tournament Champ: Binghamton beat Albany 16-6 to claim its first ever title.

Sad Subtraction: Vermont disbanded its baseball program due to budget cuts and is no longer a member of the America East in the sport.  The Catamounts last game was a 10-9 loss to Albany in the 2009 America East Tournament semi-finals.

Matt Duffy

Tennessee Transfer: Former Vermont shortstop Matt Duffy was the 2009 America East Player of the Year, and he has transferred to Tennesseee.  He batted .388 with 13 home runs and 57 RBIs.

Albany

2009 Record: (26-31-1)

Head Coach: Jon Mueller

Key Losses: Gary Pitcheralle led the Danes with a .335 avg. and scored 50 runs.  Ryan Gugel hit .303 with a team-high 9 HR and 49 RBIs.

Fast Fact: Albany stole 80 bases last season.

Binghamton

Head Coach: Tim Sinicki has been named America East Coach of the Year three in of the last five seasons.

Key Losses: Staff ace Murphy Smith was drafted in the 13th round of the MLB draft by the Oakland A’s.  Smith was 7-3 with a 3.12 ERA in 2009.  Closer Jeff

Corey Taylor

Dennis had 7 saves.

Top Returners: 1B Dave Ciocchi earned freshman All-American honors and was named America East Rookie of the Year after batting a team-high .381.  Jr. OF Corey Taylor hit .340 with team-highs of 16 HR and 56 RBIs.  He hit .418 as a freshman in ’08.

Tough Test: Binghamton faces defending national champion LSU in a single game in Baton Rouge on March 31.  It’s the first time in program history the Bearcats will play the defending NCAA champ.

The Bearcats have won three straight America East regular season titles, but they won their first conference tournament and earned the program’s first-ever NCAA Tournament bid in 2009.

Hartford

2009 Record: (15-32, 7-15)

Head Coach: Dave Calcaterra

Top Returners:  Andy Drexel had the team triple crown with a .363 avg., 7 HR and 49 RBIs.  He also topped the Hawks with 13 doubles and 4 triples.  Senior catcher Mike Amendola hit .362.

Pack A Parka: Hartford opens its season on March 10 in New Britain, CT vs. Central Connecticut State.

Maine

2009 Record: (32-23, 13-11)

Head Coach: Steve Trimper

Youth Movement: Ian Leisenheimer earned Freshman All-American honors

Ian Leisenheimer

after batting .356 with 5 HR and a team-high 41 RBIs.  He was joined on the ’09 America East All-Rookie Team by Kevin Scanlan (6-3, 3.96 ERA), and A.J. Bazdanes (3-1, 4.30 ERA, 2 SVs).

Line-up Loss: Kevin McAvoy led Maine with a .379 avg. & 10 HR.  He had an OPS of 1.118.

Strength Of Schedule: The Black bears play a 3-game series at North Carolina Feb. 26-28 and play a 4-game set at Oregon State in mid March.

The Road To Omaha: Maine has made 7 College World Series appearances.

Stony Brook

2009 Record: (29-23, 14-10)

Head Coach: Matt Senk

Power Outage: The Seawolves lose a combined 25 home runs and 76 RBIs after the graduations of Michael Tansey (.343, 13 HR, 40 RBIs) and Brian Witkowski (.341, 12 HR, 36 RBIs).

Corner Power: Senior first baseman Rob Dyer (.285, 15 HR, 50 RBIs) returns to lead the Stony Brook offense.  He had a .959 OPS in 2009.

Nick Tropeano

Ace In The Hole: Sophomore righthander Nick Tropeano (5-1, 5.12 ERA) was named the Atlantic Collegiate Summer League’s Pitcher of the Year over the summer.  Baseball America named him the league’s #1 prospect.

Road Challenges: Stony Brook plays a 4-game series at Alabama and then plays three games at Pepperdine and two at San Diego State in March.

UMBC

2009 Record: (9-36, 4-18)

Head Coach: John Jancuska

Big Shoes To Fill:  Shawn Retz led the Retrievers with a .383 avg. and 10 HR in 2009.  He also had a team-best 1.093 OPS while grounding into just 4 double plays.  Tom Meaney (.294, 9 HR, 15 doubles, 40 RBIs) is also gone.

Who’ll Provide The Pop?: While Retz and Meaney combined for 19 home runs last season, the rest of the Retrievers totaled just 15 long balls.

The America East Conference schedule is now a six-team format with two divisions.  Teams will play a pair of three-game series’ against divisional mates and play one four-game series against each of the other three teams. The four teams with the best overall win percentage (in either division) will advance to the America East Championship, played May 26-28 at the highest seed’s home field.

Southern Division: Binghamton, Stony Brook & UMBC

Northern Division: Albany, Hartford & Maine

Predictions

2010 Champion: Binghamton, but look for Maine to challenge

2010 Player of the Year: Binghamton’s Corey Taylor

2010 Pitcher of the Year: Stony Brook’s Nick Tropeano

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