The Huskies will open up play this Thursday at 3 p.m in Newport News, Va. They are playing in the Apprentice School tournament against conference foes Kutztown and Lock Haven University along with a couple Virginia schools. The Huskies finished last season 21-26, but overcame a 17 game losing streak to finish close to .500 on the season. The Huskies were crippled with inexperience last season, as their three, four, and five hitters were all freshman. All three of those hitters returned along with a senior laden pitching staff. Here’s a look at your 2014 Huskies baseball team.
Last season the Huskies infield was comprised of two freshmen, a sophomore, and a junior. They were inexperienced, but very talented. With Brian Almand, reigning PSAC Freshman of the Year, moving from third base to shortstop, Tim Ravel will be able to slide over to his natural position of second base from shortstop. Over at first base, Joey Casselberry, who didn’t make an error last season, will once again man the right side of the infield. The newcomer to the infield is Gloucester Community College transfer Eric Frain. Frain was a part of a Gloucester team that won the Junior College World Series last year. He will provide the Huskies with a strong glove and the ability to keep the defense on their heels with his bunting ability.
James Ott will also be relied on to play either first or third base and provide the Huskies with the power that they need in their lineup.
The Huskies are fortunate to return their entire outfield from last season. Senior Brad Smith will be starting in center field for his last season, a position that he has held down since his freshman year. Smith in Centerfield will save many runs with his defense. A converted infielder, Nick Mazza will be back in the outfield for his second season. The sweet swinging lefty was impossible to strike out towards the end of last year, and was even named Husky of the Week at the end of last season. Junior A.J. Stump exploded onto the Huskies scene last year. Stump labored through his freshman year where he only had four at bats. A year later he was the starting right fielder. He will be back this season in right field once again.
Arguably the Huskies strongest position is the catching position. They certainly have three capable catchers and they will all share time behind the dish. Senior Tim Kurucz will be the Huskies opening day catcher. Behind him is sophomore Corey Baiada. Baiada also has a strong arm but garners most of his attention at the plate. As a freshman, he clubbed two grand slams and batted .291 in the four hole. Freshman Damin Muth will round out the catching crew. Muth impressed the coaches with his ability to swing the bat this fall. He will certainly have his time to shine this season.
One of this team’s many strengths should be its ability to throw the baseball. The Huskies pitching staff is very deep, with fourteen pitchers who can all get the job done. The senior class is experienced. Led by Casey Cooperman, the fourth year starter is looking to build off of a season where he posted a 2.36 ERA. Kyle Hunter, who was PSAC pitcher of the year his freshman year, has battled arm injuries since his fantastic freshman campaign. He will look to finish his senior year strong. The additional seniors Eric Geedey and Nick Donofry, are currently battling through arm injuries and should be able to help the Huskies down the road. Converted closer Tyler Hill will join the rotation this spring. The crafty left-hander will lo
ok to continue to overmatch hitters in a starting role this year. The two young stars of this pitching staff are Matt Jaskolka and Bryce Mengel. Jaskolka impressed new pitching coach Josh Epstein, with his ability to blow hitters away with his 90+ MPH fastball and his swing and miss slider. Mengel, a freshman, is extremely crafty. While his fastball may only hit 80 MPH, he has the ability to keep hitters off balance with his change-up. Fresh off a season where he was recovering from ACL surgery, the Huskies new closer will be Ryuta
Amaike. The hard throwing right-hander from Tokyo, Japan will be relied on to close down games for the Huskies this season.
This is one of Head Coach Mike Collins strongest teams in his nine years manning the helm. This team certainly has the talent and the experience to not only make the playoffs but to make a deep run in the playoffs. Make sure you can come up to Danny Litwhiler Field this spring to check out your Huskies and follow them on twitter @BloomUBaseball.BU Huskies Baseball Preview