Despite young team, baseball still confident
The Pirate’s baseball team finds themselves near the bottom of the conference , entering the season ranked 10 out of 12 in the Big East, after finishing one spot out of the conference tournament in ninth place last season.The team enters the season with many new players on the roster, with 25 of the 35 team members being either freshmen or sophomores.”We are a real young team,” senior pitcher Matt Singer said. “(Younger players) are learning a lot from the older guys right now.”With such inexperience on the team, returning players including Singer and fellow seniors infielders Chris Fontenelli Michael Rodgers, will be looked at to lead the team into the year. “Everyone wants to feel like they are part of the team,” Singer said. “We want to improve our winning here and improve the younger players.” Singer will lead the pitching staff of the Hall as the closer while junior right hander Joe DiRocco leads the starting rotation after going 4-3 last season with a 4.46 ERA. DiRocco also remains the only starting pitcher from last season to return to the rotation this year. The last two spots on the weekend rotation will most likely be rounded out with returning sophomores Benny Mejia, Collin McGowan or Henry Warner. The incoming pitchers also will add depth to the rotation and the bullpen. Rogers will lead the outfield this season after having a .964 fielding percentage a year ago. Rogers will also be key to the team’s offensive success hitting .299 last season with 23 RBI marks that lead all returners.The infield, defensively, will feature junior A.J. Rusbarsky at shortstop who returns after making 49 starts last season. Senior Chris Spagnuolo will also return to the infield and should also split time in the outfield. The youth of the team will be rounding out many of the positions that have been vacated by players leaving, including both Matt Smedberg and Chris Affinito who were ranked one and two on the team in batting average.How the team plays together, especially with so many new players, will be the key as to how successful the team will be this season. “Being a closer team is also going to give us a lot of strength,” Singer said. “Players sacrificing some personal stats for the team.”Even with the team being inexperienced the goals stay the same for the team. “We can make the Big East Tournament,” Singer said. “There is a chance for us to make a championship run.”Stephen Valenti can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Editor’s Note: The Pirates opened up their 2010 season this past weekend by playing a three-game series at Texas A&M. For a series recap, go to www.TheSetonian.com.