Patriot League 2010 Baseball Preview

January 19, 2010
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Army Looks For Repeat After Record Setting 2009

2009 Regular Season ChampionBucknell and Army tied with 13-7 records.  The Bison took 3 of 4 from the Black Knights in the regular season to earn the postseason #1 seed.

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2009 Tournament ChampionArmy beat Lafayette 2-0 in the best-of-three championship.*

*The Patriot League has probably the most unique postseason tournament format in college baseball (it’s also probably the most fair).  The Patriot League Baseball Championship is conducted as a field-of-four tournament over two weekends.  The two higher seeds host first round best-of-three series pitting the No. 4 seed at the No. 1 seed and the No. 3 seed at the No. 2 seed. The championship best-of-three series will be played at the site of the highest seed remaining. The Patriot League champion earns the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.

Patriot League 2010 Preview

Army

2009 Record:  (36-21, 13-7)

Mascot:  Black Knights

Head Coach:  Joe Sottolano

Location:  West Point, NY

Vitals:  .329 BA, 57 HR, .417 OBP, .970 OBP…5.04 ERA, 7 CG, 9 SV, 336 K, 212

Clint Moore

BB, .281 opp. BA

Young Knights Shine Bright:  Current juniors Joey Henshaw (.383, 13 HR, 75 RBIs) and SS Clint Moore (.395, 11 HR, 63 RBIs) were two of Army’s top players in 2009.  They both received ABCA All-American recognition.  The 6’7 Henshaw is the tallest player in the Patriot League.  Moore led the Patriot League in doubles (18) , triples (5) , slg% (.724) and OBP (.494).  He was also a Brooks Wallace Award finalist.  Zach Price (.355, 25 RBIs, 59 R, 14 SB) was also named a Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American.

Two-Way McKague:  Another current junior was big both on the mound and at the plate as a sophomore Kevin McKague (.389, 6 HR, 44 RBIs) also served as Army’s closer and earned 7 of the team’s 9 saves.

Armed And Ready:  The pitching staff returns three other top arms from last year with Kirk Porter (6-3, 4.18 ERA), Matt Fouch (7-5, 4.70 ERA) and Ben Koenigsfeld (8-4, 4.89 ERA, 4 CG).

Dugout Distinction:  After guiding Army to a 36-21 record and an NCAA Regional appearance head coach Joe Sottolano was named an ABCA Regional Coach of the Year.  He has led the Black Knights to NCAA berths in four of his ten seasons.

Bucknell

2009 Record:  (21-23, 13-7)

Mascot:  Bison

Head Coach:  Gene Depew

Location:  Lewisburg, PA

Vitals:  .306 BA, 34 HR, .386 OBP, .959 Fld%…6.66 ERA, 7 CG, 5 SV, 213 K, 191 BB, .337 opp. BA

Big 10 Challenge:  Bucknell plays Illinois, Ohio State and Northwestern March 18-20 in Winter Haven, FL.

New Footing:  The Bison will play home games this spring on a newly installed FieldTurf surface at Depew Field.

Depew Distinction:  Bison head coach Gene Depew was named Patriot League Coach of the Year in 2009.  He picked-up his 500th career win during the season.  Entering his 29th season at the helm, he is the longest tentured coach in Bucknell history.

Bison BackAndy Brouse was among the Patriot League leaders in home runs (10), triples (5), runs batted in (56), total bases (109) and slugging percentage (.665).  Catcher B.J. LaRosa hit .316 with 22 RBIs while throwing out 19 of 34 baserunners.

Ace Lost:  Bucknell must First Team Patriot League pitcher Chris Yamagouchi (7-2, 4.45 ERA)

Holy Cross

Matt Perry

2009 Record:  (22-27, 11-7)

Mascot:  Crusaders

Head Coach:  Greg DiCenzo

Location:  Worcester, MA

Vitals:  .291 BA, 45 HR, .370 OBP, .958 Fld%…7.07 ERA, 5 CG, 5 SV, 279 K, 214 BB, .306 opp. BA

Leader Of The Pat:  Reigning Patriot League Player of the Year Matt Perry (.423, 7 HR, 37 RBIs)  is among four returning line-up regulars who started at least 46 of the Crusaders’ 49 games last year.  Perry, John Sills (.283, 6 HR, 31 RBIs),  Eric Oxford (.280, 10 HR, 45 RBIs), and Brendan McCrea (.304, 2 HR, 22 RBIs) combined to hit 25 of the team’s 45 home runs last year.

Looking For Some ‘Ws’:  Senior Tommy Arrigg (2-0, 6.82 ERA) worked exclusively out of the bullpen in 2009.  He was one of two HC pitchers to have a winning record.  Closer Ryan George (2-3, 8.55 ERA), who had all five of his team’s saves last year, returns as well.

Lafayette

2009 Record:  (24-29, 9-11)

Mascot:  Leopards

Head Coach:  Joe Kinney

Location:  Easton, PA

Vitals:  .302 BA, 30 HR, .389 OBP, .966 Fld%…6.21 ERA, 5 CG, 5 SV, 277 K, 151 BB, .314 opp. BA

Lafayette LegendTampa Bay Rays manager Joe Madden is a Lafayette alum who was recently inducted into the school’s Maroon Club Hall of Fame.  The 2008 A.L. Manager of the Year played baseball for three seasons at Lafayette and also played quarterback for one year with the football team.

Overachievers:  Lafayette was the #4 seed in the Patriot League Championships last year, but they beat #1 Bucknell in the first round best two-of-three series to advance to the Patriot finals.

Leopards Lost:  Team MVP Daniel Bierce (.360, 5 HR, 45 RBIs, 21 SB) has graduated.  His 194 games played are the most in Lafayette history.  Lafayette also loses Jeff Butler (.308, 6 HR, 35 RBIs, 14 SB)

Solid Returns:  Junior Rob Froio led the team in batting average (.367), runs scored (45) and  OBP (.437) while also stealing 20 bases.  Senior Matt Hall (.306, 8 HR, 38 RBIs) was the team home run leader.  The Leopards also return their top four pitchers (ERA), including team pitching MVP Corey Shea (4-3, 4.81 ERA).

Lehigh

2009 Record:  (11-36-1, 4-14)

Mascot: Moutain Hawks

Head Coach:  Sean Leary

Location:  Bethlehem, PA

Vitals:  .279 BA, 28 HR, .352 OBP, .945 Fld%…7.13 ERA, 5 CG, 4 SV, 260 K, 216 BB, .325 Fld%

Andy Russell

Top Hawk: Returning junior Andy Russell led the team in virtually every category including batting average (.348) , slg.% (.604), OBP (.457), runs scored (35), RBIs (38) , doubles (13), triples (4), home runs (7), and stolen bases (10).  Russell also hit .418 in Patriot League play.

Pitching Prowess:  Lehigh returns 10 of its 12 pitchers from 2009, including Andy Russell’s brother senior Rob Russell.

Cats And Hawks:  The Mountain Hawks host the defending America East champion Binghamton Bearcats with a pair of doubleheaders on March 20th & 21st.

Navy

2009 Record:  (20-26-1, 8-12)

Mascot:  Midshipmen

Head Coach:  Paul Kostacopoulos

Location:  Annapolis, MD

Vitals:  .286 BA, 30 HR, .376 OBP, .965 Fld%…5.84 ERA, 1 CG, 6 SV, 319 K, 177 BB, .965 opp. BA

Academy Action:  Navy plays three games vs. Air Force Feb. 26-28 in

Mike Guadagnini

Savannah, GA and hosts its Patriot League series vs. Army with doubleheaders on April 10 & 11.

Back In Action:  The Mids return their top three hitters from 2009:  Mike Guadagnini (.374), Kendall Bolt (.328) and Matthew Curley (.311).  The trio combined to hit 13 of Navy’s 30 HR and had 25 of the team’s 54 stolen bases last year.

Mighty Mid DuoLuke Roberts (2-0, 1.00, SV) and Alec Thomas (2-0, 4.18) are two of 10 returning Navy pitchers.  Together they struckout 35 batters with just 9 walks in a combined 50 2/3 IP last year.  They were Navy’s only two pitchers with winning records in ’09.

2010 Patriot League Predictions

Champion:  Army-The combination of returning hitting and pitching from a team that beat Texas State and Boston College in NCAA play is unmatched in the league.

Player of the Year:  Clint Moore-Army

Pitcher of the Year:  Matt Fouch-Army


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