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2020 Diamond Dukes Baseball
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VerizonSportsFan Offline
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Post: #21
RE: 2020 Diamond Dukes Baseball
(02-05-2020 12:02 PM)JMad03 Wrote:  
(02-05-2020 11:06 AM)Bawlmer Duke Wrote:  6th place in the CAA pre-season rankings...

https://twitter.com/Madia_DNRSports/stat...21/photo/1

We should know by now what we are getting from Coach Ike. Looking at his long history at VMI, they were nothing special. Same goes for his time at JMU.
I agree with the rankings this time- 6th place finish sounds right. I don't see us placing any higher than 5th.

JMU admins got what they got because they did not offer the $$$$$$$$ to get a higher quality HC. The perception is that admins are OK with mediocrity.
(This post was last modified: 02-05-2020 11:12 PM by VerizonSportsFan.)
02-05-2020 11:04 PM
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JMUNation Offline
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RE: 2020 Diamond Dukes Baseball
Let’s pay every coach millions. I mean JMU has this huge endowment...no wait, we don’t. Well, alumni and fans give $10-15 million in donations a year...nope, not true. Okay, well JMU makes millions on TV, tickets and apparel sales...right? Nope.

You guys with your JMU doesn’t pay coaches enough comments just look stupid. Where is all of this money to pay coaches P5 salaries supposed to come from? Maybe Jeff Bourne can sell medical marijuana to help fund coaches salaries. That would really show JMUs commitment to higher quality coaches.
02-06-2020 12:44 AM
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VerizonSportsFan Offline
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RE: 2020 Diamond Dukes Baseball
IMHO, the admins do not care if baseball is winning or not.
02-06-2020 01:05 AM
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Longhorn Offline
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Post: #24
RE: 2020 Diamond Dukes Baseball
(02-06-2020 12:44 AM)JMUNation Wrote:  Let’s pay every coach millions. I mean JMU has this huge endowment...no wait, we don’t. Well, alumni and fans give $10-15 million in donations a year...nope, not true. Okay, well JMU makes millions on TV, tickets and apparel sales...right? Nope.

You guys with your JMU doesn’t pay coaches enough comments just look stupid. Where is all of this money to pay coaches P5 salaries supposed to come from? Maybe Jeff Bourne can sell medical marijuana to help fund coaches salaries. That would really show JMUs commitment to higher quality coaches.

Let’s cut the hyperbolic nonsense, shall we? It’s not millions of dollars at stake with baseball. The issue is going cheap on the baseball HC, paying less than $100k per year (substantially less), when $150k to $175k could have gotten the HC we were looking to hire.

In the case of MBB it could be argued JMU hiring decision to go cheap is costing the athletic’s program millions of $$$ because of declining attendance.

In the end, there’s a general truth to the adage to you tend to get what you pay for.
02-06-2020 01:08 AM
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ShadyP Offline
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RE: 2020 Diamond Dukes Baseball
(02-06-2020 12:44 AM)JMUNation Wrote:  Let’s pay every coach millions. I mean JMU has this huge endowment...no wait, we don’t. Well, alumni and fans give $10-15 million in donations a year...nope, not true. Okay, well JMU makes millions on TV, tickets and apparel sales...right? Nope.

You guys with your JMU doesn’t pay coaches enough comments just look stupid. Where is all of this money to pay coaches P5 salaries supposed to come from? Maybe Jeff Bourne can sell medical marijuana to help fund coaches salaries. That would really show JMUs commitment to higher quality coaches.

Spot on
02-06-2020 08:56 AM
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Wear Purple Online
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Post: #26
RE: 2020 Diamond Dukes Baseball
On the eve of the start to the Diamond Dukes' season...

3 games in Raleigh against NC State (all will be streamed via ACC Network Extra, btw):

Friday - 3pm
Saturday - 2pm
Sunday - 1pm

Looks like the weather is going to cooperate. Temps in the upper 40's and no rain. Getting 1 of these 3 would be a good start to the season (IMO). NC State has a strong program under Elliott Avent, who starts his 24th season leading the Pack.
02-13-2020 09:17 AM
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geewizNU Offline
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RE: 2020 Diamond Dukes Baseball
2020 Colonial Preview: UNCW Still The One

Elon won the Colonial Athletic Association regular-season title by three games last year, but when the dust settled it was still UNC Wilmington representing the CAA in the NCAA tournament for the sixth time in the last eight years. The Seahawks bring back an experienced pitching staff and an athletic lineup, making them the league’s clear-cut favorites heading into 2020, but Northeastern, James Madison, Elon and College of Charleston all look capable of making noise. The CAA has sent two teams to regionals three times in the last five years, and it has a real chance to do so again in 2020.

Projected Standings

Bold indicates 2019 regional team, and records are from 2019. Teams are listed in order of projected 2020 finish.

TEAM CONFERENCE OVERALL
UNC Wilmington 12-12 32-31

Northeastern 12-12 28-29
James Madison 11-13 31-26
Elon 19-5 33-24
William & Mary 12-12 33-22
College of Charleston 16-8 36-21
Hofstra 10-14 18-31-1
Delaware 9-15 21-33
Towson 7-17 14-39

Projected Regional Team (1): UNC Wilmington

Player of the Year: Ian Fair, 3B, Northeastern

Pitcher of the Year: Zarion Sharpe, LHP, UNC Wilmington

Freshman of the Year: Sebastian Keane, RHP, Northeastern


Top Prospects/Impact Freshmen
Asterisks denote draft-eligible underclassmen.

TOP PROSPECTS, 2020 DRAFT

1 Zarion Sharpe LHP UNC Wilmington
2 Nick Stewart RHP James Madison
3 Jared Wetherbee LHP Elon
4 Noah Bridges OF UNC Wilmington
5 Billy Sullivan IV RHP Delaware
6 Justin Showalter RHP James Madison
7 Brandon Dufault RHP Northeastern
8 Josh Jones* 3B James Madison
9 Sam Jacobsak RHP Northeastern
10 Ian Fair 3B Northeastern
11 Chris Farrell RHP William & Mary
12 Landen Roupp RHP UNC Wilmington
13 Brandon Raquet OF William & Mary
14 Cole Weiss 3B UNC Wilmington
15 Chris Graham OF College of Charleston
16 Luke Gesell RHP UNC Wilmington
17 Josh Seils RHP Towson
18 Tradd James RHP College of Charleston
19 Kip Brandenburg 1B UNC Wilmington
20 Dean McCarthy LHP Elon
21 Fox Semones 2B James Madison
22 Rob Weissheier 1B Hofstra
23 Blake Deatherage RHP UNC Wilmington
24 Shane Klowar* RHP Towson
25 Austin Gauthier SS Hofstra

TOP PROSPECTS, 2021 DRAFT

1 Joseph Carpenter 1B Delaware
2 Trevon Dabney OF James Madison
3 Adam Smith RHP/SS UNC Wilmington
4 Joe Sprake RHP Elon
5 Ryan Rue LHP Hofstra
6 Brooks Baldwin OF UNC Wilmington
7 Jared Dupere OF Northeastern
8 Nick Zona SS James Madison
9 Matt Suggs C UNC Wilmington
10 Jack Cone OF William & Mary
11 Anthony Galason OF Elon
12 Javon Fields OF Towson
13 Randy Prosperi RHP William & Mary
14 Anthony D'Onofrio OF Hofstra
15 Brody Lawson RHP UNC Wilmington

IMPACT FRESHMEN

1 Sebastian Keane RHP Northeastern
2 Chase DeLauter OF/LHP James Madison
3 Caswell Smith RHP College of Charleston
4 Trotter Harlan SS College of Charleston
5 Jordan Jurkiewicz C Delaware
6 Spencer Bauer RHP Elon
7 Trevor Marsh OF UNC Wilmington
8 Jac Croom INF UNC Wilmington
9 Ben Williamson 3B William & Mary
10 Alex Iadisernia OF Elon
11 Joseph Mershon 2B College of Charleston
12 Will Kennedy OF Hofstra
13 Ronald Evans 1B/3B UNC Wilmington
14 Matt Yip C UNC Wilmington
15 Burke Camper C Towson

Projected Regional Team

UNC Wilmington


The Seahawks struggled to a .500 record in CAA play a year ago, but they got hot at the right time, winning the conference tournament by taking down top-seeded Elon in extra innings in the winner-takes-all title game, sending Mark Scalf back to regionals for the 10th time in his 28th and final season as head coach. Randy Hood, who had served as Scalf’s lieutenant since the fall of 2001, took over the reins as head coach upon Scalf’s retirement, ensuring a seamless transition for a program that has recorded 14 top-three CAA finishes in the last 17 years.

The Colonial’s most experienced and accomplished pitching staff makes Wilmington the obvious favorite to win the league again in Hood’s first season as skipper. Senior RHP Luke Gesell (5-5, 3.59), fourth-year junior lefty Zarion Sharpe (3-3, 4.21) and junior righty Landen Roupp (6-3, 3.47) give UNCW three seasoned weekend starters who all have quality stuff and loads of mound presence. The 6-foot-5 Gesell attacks the zone at 88-91 and touches 93 with a quality 80-83 slider and low-80s mph changeup, and he can throw all three for strikes in any count. Sharpe, the league’s top prospect, is loose 6-foot-5, 207-pounder whom Hood compared physically to Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones. Sharpe has made a strong recovery from the back injury that sidelined him in 2018; after building up his strength last spring, he posted a 1.35 ERA in 20 innings in the Cape Cod League last summer. Sharpe has run his heater up to 93-94 mph in the past along with a good short late-breaking slider at 81-82 and a quality changeup at 84. Roupp is a reliable, durable strike-thrower who pounds the zone with an 88-91 sinker, a sharp three-quarters breaking ball at 74-76 and a solid changeup. Between sophomore sinker/slider specialist Gage Herring, senior RHP Blake Deatherage (who showed 90-93 heat and a decent 78-79 slider in the fall), and 6-foot-4 redshirt sophomore Brody Lawson (who owns a nice four-pitch mix), Wilmington also has three very capable options for midweek starts.

That depth carries over to the bullpen, though the Seahawks need to solidify roles at the back end. Sophomore two-way talent Adam Smith looks like the favorite for the closer job, thanks to his ability to pump strikes with his lively low-90s fastball and swing-and-miss curveball in the mid-70s with sharp 11-to-5 break. Fifth-year senior righty Breydan Gorham, whose 87-89 fastball plays up because of its arm-side run and ability to throw his secondary stuff for strikes, also figures to be a key bullpen piece, along with senior Henry Ryan and fourth-year junior righty Nick Bruno, both of whom have shown 92-94 heat in the past but weren’t as firm in the fall. Bruno, who also spins a nice big-breaking curve, could be the pick to click now that he’s more than two years removed from Tommy John surgery.

Wilmington must replace dynamic first-round pick Greg Jones at shortstop, but the rest of the lineup returns largely intact (though second baseman Jackson Meadows’ status is uncertain after shoulder soreness sidelined him in the fall). The two-way talent Smith will take over for Jones at short, where his rifle arm is a major asset and his hands and feet work well. Instinctive freshman Jac Croom could take over for Meadows at second and grind out tough at-bats at the plate. Senior Cole Weiss (.305/.387/.434) is a sound defender at third and a proven run producer in the heart of the order, and fellow senior Kep Brown (.449 slugging, 8 HR) provides rightanded power at the DH spot or an outfield corner.

Look for big steps forward from talented sophomores Matt Suggs (an athletic, strong-armed catcher with emerging righthanded pop) and Brooks Baldwin (a rangy switch-hitter with speed and feel for his barrel from both sides of the plate, along with the versatility to play either outfield corner, first base or second). Junior Kip Brandenburg, a transfer from North Carolina, figures to take over the first base job and serve as another valuable righthanded power source. Junior center fielder Noah Bridges is the most talented position player on the roster, a legitimate five-tool talent with bat speed from the left side and very good speed. Freshmen Trevor Marsh (an athletic outfielder with good speed and a gap-to-gap stroke from the left side), Ronald Evans (a physical, powerful corner infielder) and Matt Yip (a talented catcher with righty pop of his own) all figure to make impacts early in their careers, adding quality depth. And sophomore outfielder Chris Thorburn, a lefthanded slasher, provides additional speed in the outfield.

Keep An Eye On …

Northeastern


After winning the CAA regular-season title and earning an at-large bid in 2018, the Huskies fell back to the pack in 2019, finishing .500 in the league and one game under .500 overall. But there’s reason to expect Northeastern will return to contending for the Colonial title in 2020, thanks to an experienced and versatile lineup and quality starting pitching. The linchpin of the offense will be fourth-year junior third baseman Ian Fair (.357/.419/.520, 8 HR), the reigning CAA batting champ and preseason conference player of the year coming off a strong summer in the Cape Cod League. Fair is an outstanding all-around player with advanced feel for hitting, good righthanded power, rock-solid defensive skills at the hot corner, and even above-average speed. He’ll team with fleet-footed defensive whiz Spenser Smith to form the CAA’s best left half of the infield. Like Smith, senior 2B Scott Holzwasser brings plus speed and superb defense in the middle infield, and he’s a gritty gap-to-gap hitter who makes the offense go out of the leadoff spot. Redshirt sophomore Corey DiLoreto takes over at first base and is expected to hit cleanup behind Fair, as the Huskies anticipate a power surge from him at the plate. Sophomore Jared Dupere and junior Jeff Costello bring more plus speed to the outfield, and both look primed to take jumps offensively after good falls. The catching position is a question mark, but Northeastern is optimistic that strong-armed redshirt junior Teddy Beaudet is ready to handle the staff.

Northeastern will lean upon a seasoned fifth-year senior on Friday nights in Kyle Murphy, a competitive four-pitch righty with a 90-92 fastball that bumps 94, a swing-and-miss changeup and an emerging slider. Junior RHP Sam Jacobsak has taken a jump physically and turned himself into a draft prospect with a 90-93 fastball and a wipeout slider. The Sunday starter figures to be blue-chip freshman RHP Sebastian Keane, an unsigned 11th-round pick by the Red Sox and the first drafted Northeastern player to eschew pro ball in order to honor his commitment. Keane’s stuff is electric: a 91-93 fastball that touches 95, a filthy slider and a useful curveball along with a developing changeup. The bullpen is Northeastern’s biggest question mark, but junior RHP Brandon Dufault has a chance to be a shutdown closer if he can harness his command of a 93-95 fastball that has bumped 97, swing-and-miss changeup and improving slider. Sr. RHP Brian Rodriguez should be much better than last year’s 7.16 ERA, with a 90-92 fastball and two variations of a slider. The Huskies lack lefthanded pitching, however, after losing Sean Mellen and Andrew Misiaszek to the draft plus James Quinlivan and Matt Downing to Tommy John surgery.


James Madison

Last spring, the Dukes posted a winning record overall for the first time since 2011, and they are built to take another big step forward in Marlin Ikenberry’s fifth year at the helm this spring. This is a balanced, experienced roster with talent in the lineup as well as on the mound, and the offense has a real chance to be the CAA’s best. Three seniors provide valuable veteran presence: catcher Kyle Hayes (who stands out for his catch-and-throw skills), first baseman Brady Harju (an athletic and physical run producer who hit .295 with nine homers a year ago) and second baseman Fox Semones (a speed merchant who can run the 60-yard dash in 6.3 seconds, making him a disruptive catalyst). Junior right fielder Conor Hartigan will hit in the heart of the order and could put up big power numbers if he can stay healthy. And the Dukes have four outstanding sophomores returning who all hit .296 or better as freshmen, though 3B Josh Jones did it in 2018 before redshirting in 2019. Jones and shortstop Nick Zona are standout defenders on the left side of the infield, and both of them have nice line-drive strokes at the plate. Left fielder Trevon Dabney (.306/.457/.494, 6 HR, 17 SB) has the best raw tools on the team, with an exciting power/speed combination and a mature approach. And OF/DH Kyle Novak is a natural born hitter from the left side who could contend for the league batting title this spring, the coaches believe. Freshman two-way talent Chase DeLauter is the other key lefthanded bat in this lineup, with the ability to hit for average and power along with excellent speed that plays in center field.

DeLauter also looks slated for a starting role on the mound, perhaps as the midweek man. He’s a low three-quarters lefty with an upper-80s fastball and polished secondary stuff. The likely weekend rotation features three power-armed righties: juniors Nick Stewart, Michael Bechtold and Justin Showalter. The 6-foot-5 Stewart (4-5, 2.74 in 72.1 IP) is a rising prospect with a 90-94 fastball that flirts with upper-90s at times and the ability to miss bats with his secondary stuff. The 6-3 Bechtold sits at 90-92 and has taken a big step forward with his control, showing the ability to throw four pitches for strikes. And the 6-4 Showalter attacks at 90-93 with a putaway slider and very good changeup. The Dukes also have a proven senior to anchor the bullpen in lefthander [/b]Brett Ayer[/b] (4-1, 2.52 with 52 strikeouts in 35.2 IP), who set the school’s single-season record for ERA in 2018 (0.45).

Elon

Elon dominated the CAA in 2019, going 19-5 in conference to win the regular-season title by three games over second-place College of Charleston and seven games over the three teams tied for third place. But Elon’s heart was broken with an extra-inning loss to UNCW in the CAA tournament title game, denying the Phoenix its first trip to regionals since 2013. Now Elon must move forward without its pair of All-America co-aces, George Kirby and Kyle Brnovich, plus shortstop Cam Devanney and two-way talent Ty Adcock. It’s natural to expect a step back after those kinds of departures, but Elon should remain very competitive thanks to a nice blend of experienced seniors and emerging young talent in the lineup and on the mound. In order for the Phoenix to make another run at the CAA title, it will need some of its unproven young power arms to mature in a hurry to complement junior ace Jared Wetherbee (7-4, 3.00, 98 K in 84 IP), who should be one of the top pitchers in the Colonial. Wetherbee moves from the Sunday starter spot into the Friday night role, and he has Friday night-caliber stuff, with a lively 88-93 fastball and the makings of three solid secondary pitches, though they aren’t finished products. Senior lefty Dean McCarthy, who made 27 relief appearances a year ago, looks like a strong candidate to slide into the rotation; he attacks the zone at 86-89 with a solid three-quarters breaking ball at 76-78 and a firm changeup with decent sink. Elon could choose to split up the two lefties by starting burly 6-foot-2, 235-pound freshman righty Spencer Bauer on Saturdays. Bauer ran his heater up to 94 mph in the fall, along with an 81-83 slider that has bigger break and could use some tightening, but it has the makings of being a nice weapon for him. Another big-bodied power righty, sophomore Joe Sprake, has shutdown closer potential if he can throw more strikes this spring. His fastball touched 96 mph this fall, and his slider and changeup are making progress.

Adcock and Devanney combined for 22 of the team’s 44 home runs last year, so Elon will count upon physical senior catcher Nick Cicci (a quality defender with a strong arm) to help fill the power void after hitting just three homers a year ago. First baseman Joe Satterfield (.325/.438/.476) is the team’s top returning hitter, a lefty bat with some pop and feel to hit. He and athletic 5-foot-7 sophomore outfielder Anthony Galason should be two key pillars to anchor the Elon lineup, and freshman right fielder Alex Iadisernia is a polished line-drive hitter who should step into a key role immediately. He and blazing-fast senior center fielder Tyler Stanley could be counted upon to make the lineup go at the top, though Stanley needs to prove he can get on base more consistently after hitting .225 a year ago. Juco transfer Luke Coker will help shore up the defense at second base and bring plenty of energy and bat handling skills at the plate. Senior shortstop/righthander Adam Spurlin also stood out at the plate in the fall, showing wiry strength at the plate and a rifle arm on defense. On the mound, Spurlin is a funky, high-effort, low-slot righty who worked at 90-92 with deception and flashed a promising Frisbee slider at 79-80, though it was inconsistent. Rounding out the infield is senior third baseman Garrett Stonehouse, who returns from a torn meniscus and should serve as an action player in the lineup’s 2-hole.


William & Mary

The Tribe returns a strong nucleus from a club that ranked third in the CAA in scoring and second in ERA a year ago, making this team a sneaky contender for conference supremacy. The experienced pitching staff will be fronted by the rotation tandem of senior righthanders Wade Strain (6-4, 3.61) and Chris Farrell (5-2, 2.58). The 6-foot-6 Strain is a workhorse who attacks the zone with three solid pitches, headlined by his effective cutter. Farrell is a power-armed righty who used his wipeout slider to strike out 47 batters in 38.1 innings a year ago. A third senior righty, Nick Butts (3-1, 4.64), could push for the Sunday job or work on Tuesdays; his three-pitch mix is highlighted by a very good changeup. Sophomore lefty Zach Tsakounis (4-2, 3.60) is the other strong starting candidate, a four-pitch southpaw whose best offering is his changeup as well. Another four-pitch lefty, Justin Pearson (2.92 ERA), will help junior RHP Randy Prosperi (3.52 ERA, 42-12 K-BB in 33 IP) anchor the bullpen. Prosperi owes that excellent strikeout rate in large measure to his swing-and-miss slider.

The centerpiece of the lineup is senior outfielder Brandon Raquet (.269/.402/.531, 8 HR), a lefthanded power hitter with plus speed. William & Mary hopes fellow corner outfielder Matt Thomas is ready to take a big step forward as a sophomore and provide Raquet some protection in the heart of the order. Sophomore center fielder Jack Cone is the most obvious breakout candidate and the likely leadoff hitter; he’s a dynamic athlete with a rifle arm, good speed and emerging lefthanded pop. Senior catcher Matt Trehub (.282/.397/.403) is a sound defensive catcher with a strong arm and good contact skills at the plate. Junior second baseman Matt McDermott, a returning two-year starter with plus speed, and sophomore shortstop Phil Conti will team up to form a slick-fielding double-play tandem, making this team strong up the middle. And third baseman Ben Williamson leads a promising group of freshmen who could make a big impact early on for this club.

The Rest Of The Pack

College of Charleston


The Cougars must replace a host of departed mainstays from last year’s second-plus club, leaving just three returning players who logged more than 100 at-bats last year, and none who registered 160 at-bats. The most accomplished returning position player is senior center fielder Chris Graham (.291 with 13 SB), a 5-foot-8 fire brand with plus-plus speed who will serve as one of the main engines of the lineup. Senior Harrison Hawkins, a physical 6-foot-3 corner outfielder, has tantalized with his power potential but needs to put it all together this spring after posting a meager .637 OPS in 159 at-bats last year. And Charleston needs a big bounceback year from senior first baseman Ari Sechopoulos, who owns a nice lefthanded stroke and hit for power as a sophomore (nine homers, .961 OPS) but slumped dreadfully as a junior (.639 OPS). Sophomore DH Tanner Steffy has intriguing strength in his righty stroke and could be a breakout candidate. An influx of talented newcomers should help the offense stay afloat and inject some athleticism into the defense. Juco transfer Donald Hansis has some righthanded pop and is a solid runner in right field. And the freshman tandem of SS Trotter Harlan and 2B Joseph Mershon should be fun to watch in the middle infield. Harlan, one of the favorites for CAA freshman of the year honors, is a skilled defender and bat handler with gap-to-gap strength and solid-average speed. He and Mershon are twitchy 5-foot-11 athletes who could turn into interesting draft prospects by the time they are juniors.

On the mound, the Cougars will sorely miss departed ace Griffin McLarty and closer Nathan Ocker. Expect lefthander Jordan Carr, a graduate transfer from UNC Asheville, to take over the Friday starter role. He’s a strike-thrower with an 89-91 fastball and a very good changeup, but he has yet to post an ERA under 5.21 in his first three seasons, so the Cougars need him to take another step forward. Two freshmen could join Carr in the weekend rotation: righties Trey Pooser (who stands out for his ability to spot up with his 88-90 fastball) and Caswell Smith. CofC coach Chad Holbrook said the super-talented Smith reminds him of major leaguer Matt Harvey when he was a freshman at North Carolina; he’s an excellent athlete with a clean arm action that can produce 92-95 heat with good sink. Holbrook thinks he has a chance to develop into the first Cougar to be drafted in the first round by the time his collegiate career is done. Junior lefty Zach Williams, who made 10 starts and posted a 4.58 ERA last year, is a more experienced starting option who could wind up in a midweek role; he’s similar to Carr, with an 88-90 fastball and good changeup. Senior righties Tradd James (a sinker/slider specialist who can reach 92 mph) and Josh Price (a rubber-armed sidewinder who logged 81 innings over 33 appearances last year) will anchor the bullpen.


Hofstra

Experience should be a major asset for Hofstra, which should have six upperclassmen in the lineup and a nice group of seniors leading the pitching staff. Sr. RHP Jack Jett (2-3, 5.52) came on strong down the stretch last year and carried his progress over into a good summer, making him the likely Friday starter this spring. Sophomore lefthander Ryan Rue (3-4, 4.48) is an emerging prospect for 2021 with excellent control, a swing-and-miss changeup, and a bulldog demeanor. Jr. RHP Jimmy Joyce could join that pair in the rotation if he can harness his 92-93 mph fastball, the firmest on the staff. Sr. RHP Andrew Mundy (4.78 ERA, 5 saves) returns to anchor the bullpen and should take another step forward in his second full season after Tommy John surgery. He stands out for his command of the zone and his quality slider. Sidewinding junior lefty Jack Anderson presents a different look and also has valuable experience in the pen.

The Pride offense doesn’t figure to lean heavily on the long ball, but it should be able to string hits together and push the action on the basepaths. There is one proven power threat returning in senior first baseman Rob Weissheier (.258/.371/.509, 8 HR), who still hasn’t reached his full power potential, according to the coaches. Hofstra hopes left fielder Brian Goulard, a graduate transfer from Fordham, can slide into the cleanup spot and provide some protection for Weissheier. Sophomore Anthony D’Onofrio and senior Vinnie Costello join Goulard in an athletic outfield. D’Onofrio is is the pick to click, a mature gap-to-gap hitter with good plate discipline, speed and a strong outfield arm. Junior shortstop Austin Gauthier is the best athlete on the team; he has good range and arm strength on defense along with blossoming pop and very good baserunning savvy. Sophomore Sean Flaherty, the nephew of former big league catcher John Flaherty, will take over behind the plate, where he has a strong arm. The Pride expects him to provide some gap power at the plate as well.


Delaware

After making regionals in 2017 for the first time in 16 years, Delaware finished in the middle of the pack in 2018 and then slumped to eighth plate in the nine-team CAA last spring. The coaching staff likes its returning core and feels optimistic about its chances for improvement in 2020, but this group has a lot to prove. The return from injury of fifth-year senior outfielder Kyle Baker and flame-throwing righty Billy Sullivan IV should help a lot, though Sullivan likely won’t be back at full speed until midseason. When healthy, Sullivan can run his fastball up to 97 mph, though his arm action is fairly violent and has inhibited his strike-throwing consistency in the past. In the short term, the Blue Hens are counting on big steps forward from projected weekend starters Chris Ludman (3-8, 5.82), Jack Dubecq (2-5, 3.44) and Joey Silan (3-5, 5.53). Juco transfer RHP Mike Biasiello, whose fastball touches 92 mph with a high spin rate, figures to help senior RHP Derek Wakeley (3.91 ERA, 6 saves) hold down the bullpen.

Baker and sophomore first baseman Joseph Carpenter (.300/.368/.459) should give Delaware a dangerous duo in the heart of the order. Carpenter, the 2019 CAA freshman of the year, has big righthanded power potential, a clean bat path and natural hitting instincts, making him one of the league’s top prospects for the 2021 draft. Fourth-year junior Jordan Hutchins is a good center fielder whose speed also plays on the basepaths, and he should make the Blue Hens go out of the leadoff spot. And keep an eye on freshman catcher Jorden Jurkiewicz, an athletic backstop with a high baseball IQ. He should be a major difference maker from the outset.


Towson

The Towson coaches have their work cut out turning around program that won 14 games last year and just 13 games the year before. But the Tigers should be competitive on weekends thanks to the one-two punch of Josh Seils and Shayne Clowar atop the rotation. Seils (4.00 ERA in 78.2 IP) has a quick arm that can produce heat up to 92 mph. Clowar, a juco transfer, is a projectable 6-foot-4, 205-pound righthander with very good feel to spin breaking balls, and if he can fine-tune his command he’s got a chance to make a huge impact and get himself drafted. Junior righty Jake Pecilunas and senior lefty Austin Weber give Towson a pair of veterans to hold down the bullpen, but the Tigers need both to take steps forward after posting matching 5.14 ERAs last spring.

Towson’s offense was downright anemic last year, ranking 289th in the nation in scoring (four runs per game) and 292nd in batting (.231). Center fielder Javon Fields (.272/.366/.371) is an emerging talent who could bust out in a big way as a sophomore. Senior first baseman Brad Powers (7 HR) provides a little bit of thump in the heart of the order, but this lineup is otherwise bereft of proven commodities. Juco transfer Brandon Austin is an athletic third baseman with strength at the plate and will be counted upon to bolster the lineup. Another juco transfer, Portland kickback Nick Janowicz, could help shore up the catcher position, which is one of this team’s many question marks.
02-13-2020 10:45 PM
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RE: 2020 Diamond Dukes Baseball
(02-13-2020 10:45 PM)geewizNU Wrote:  2020 Colonial Preview: UNCW Still The One

Elon won the Colonial Athletic Association regular-season title by three games last year, but when the dust settled it was still UNC Wilmington representing the CAA in the NCAA tournament for the sixth time in the last eight years. The Seahawks bring back an experienced pitching staff and an athletic lineup, making them the league’s clear-cut favorites heading into 2020, but Northeastern, James Madison, Elon and College of Charleston all look capable of making noise. The CAA has sent two teams to regionals three times in the last five years, and it has a real chance to do so again in 2020.

Projected Standings

Bold indicates 2019 regional team, and records are from 2019. Teams are listed in order of projected 2020 finish.

TEAM CONFERENCE OVERALL
UNC Wilmington 12-12 32-31

Northeastern 12-12 28-29
James Madison 11-13 31-26
Elon 19-5 33-24
William & Mary 12-12 33-22
College of Charleston 16-8 36-21
Hofstra 10-14 18-31-1
Delaware 9-15 21-33
Towson 7-17 14-39

Projected Regional Team (1): UNC Wilmington

Player of the Year: Ian Fair, 3B, Northeastern

Pitcher of the Year: Zarion Sharpe, LHP, UNC Wilmington

Freshman of the Year: Sebastian Keane, RHP, Northeastern


Top Prospects/Impact Freshmen
Asterisks denote draft-eligible underclassmen.

TOP PROSPECTS, 2020 DRAFT

1 Zarion Sharpe LHP UNC Wilmington
2 Nick Stewart RHP James Madison
3 Jared Wetherbee LHP Elon
4 Noah Bridges OF UNC Wilmington
5 Billy Sullivan IV RHP Delaware
6 Justin Showalter RHP James Madison
7 Brandon Dufault RHP Northeastern
8 Josh Jones* 3B James Madison
9 Sam Jacobsak RHP Northeastern
10 Ian Fair 3B Northeastern
11 Chris Farrell RHP William & Mary
12 Landen Roupp RHP UNC Wilmington
13 Brandon Raquet OF William & Mary
14 Cole Weiss 3B UNC Wilmington
15 Chris Graham OF College of Charleston
16 Luke Gesell RHP UNC Wilmington
17 Josh Seils RHP Towson
18 Tradd James RHP College of Charleston
19 Kip Brandenburg 1B UNC Wilmington
20 Dean McCarthy LHP Elon
21 Fox Semones 2B James Madison
22 Rob Weissheier 1B Hofstra
23 Blake Deatherage RHP UNC Wilmington
24 Shane Klowar* RHP Towson
25 Austin Gauthier SS Hofstra

TOP PROSPECTS, 2021 DRAFT

1 Joseph Carpenter 1B Delaware
2 Trevon Dabney OF James Madison
3 Adam Smith RHP/SS UNC Wilmington
4 Joe Sprake RHP Elon
5 Ryan Rue LHP Hofstra
6 Brooks Baldwin OF UNC Wilmington
7 Jared Dupere OF Northeastern
8 Nick Zona SS James Madison
9 Matt Suggs C UNC Wilmington
10 Jack Cone OF William & Mary
11 Anthony Galason OF Elon
12 Javon Fields OF Towson
13 Randy Prosperi RHP William & Mary
14 Anthony D'Onofrio OF Hofstra
15 Brody Lawson RHP UNC Wilmington

IMPACT FRESHMEN

1 Sebastian Keane RHP Northeastern
2 Chase DeLauter OF/LHP James Madison
3 Caswell Smith RHP College of Charleston
4 Trotter Harlan SS College of Charleston
5 Jordan Jurkiewicz C Delaware
6 Spencer Bauer RHP Elon
7 Trevor Marsh OF UNC Wilmington
8 Jac Croom INF UNC Wilmington
9 Ben Williamson 3B William & Mary
10 Alex Iadisernia OF Elon
11 Joseph Mershon 2B College of Charleston
12 Will Kennedy OF Hofstra
13 Ronald Evans 1B/3B UNC Wilmington
14 Matt Yip C UNC Wilmington
15 Burke Camper C Towson

Projected Regional Team

UNC Wilmington


The Seahawks struggled to a .500 record in CAA play a year ago, but they got hot at the right time, winning the conference tournament by taking down top-seeded Elon in extra innings in the winner-takes-all title game, sending Mark Scalf back to regionals for the 10th time in his 28th and final season as head coach. Randy Hood, who had served as Scalf’s lieutenant since the fall of 2001, took over the reins as head coach upon Scalf’s retirement, ensuring a seamless transition for a program that has recorded 14 top-three CAA finishes in the last 17 years.

The Colonial’s most experienced and accomplished pitching staff makes Wilmington the obvious favorite to win the league again in Hood’s first season as skipper. Senior RHP Luke Gesell (5-5, 3.59), fourth-year junior lefty Zarion Sharpe (3-3, 4.21) and junior righty Landen Roupp (6-3, 3.47) give UNCW three seasoned weekend starters who all have quality stuff and loads of mound presence. The 6-foot-5 Gesell attacks the zone at 88-91 and touches 93 with a quality 80-83 slider and low-80s mph changeup, and he can throw all three for strikes in any count. Sharpe, the league’s top prospect, is loose 6-foot-5, 207-pounder whom Hood compared physically to Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones. Sharpe has made a strong recovery from the back injury that sidelined him in 2018; after building up his strength last spring, he posted a 1.35 ERA in 20 innings in the Cape Cod League last summer. Sharpe has run his heater up to 93-94 mph in the past along with a good short late-breaking slider at 81-82 and a quality changeup at 84. Roupp is a reliable, durable strike-thrower who pounds the zone with an 88-91 sinker, a sharp three-quarters breaking ball at 74-76 and a solid changeup. Between sophomore sinker/slider specialist Gage Herring, senior RHP Blake Deatherage (who showed 90-93 heat and a decent 78-79 slider in the fall), and 6-foot-4 redshirt sophomore Brody Lawson (who owns a nice four-pitch mix), Wilmington also has three very capable options for midweek starts.

That depth carries over to the bullpen, though the Seahawks need to solidify roles at the back end. Sophomore two-way talent Adam Smith looks like the favorite for the closer job, thanks to his ability to pump strikes with his lively low-90s fastball and swing-and-miss curveball in the mid-70s with sharp 11-to-5 break. Fifth-year senior righty Breydan Gorham, whose 87-89 fastball plays up because of its arm-side run and ability to throw his secondary stuff for strikes, also figures to be a key bullpen piece, along with senior Henry Ryan and fourth-year junior righty Nick Bruno, both of whom have shown 92-94 heat in the past but weren’t as firm in the fall. Bruno, who also spins a nice big-breaking curve, could be the pick to click now that he’s more than two years removed from Tommy John surgery.

Wilmington must replace dynamic first-round pick Greg Jones at shortstop, but the rest of the lineup returns largely intact (though second baseman Jackson Meadows’ status is uncertain after shoulder soreness sidelined him in the fall). The two-way talent Smith will take over for Jones at short, where his rifle arm is a major asset and his hands and feet work well. Instinctive freshman Jac Croom could take over for Meadows at second and grind out tough at-bats at the plate. Senior Cole Weiss (.305/.387/.434) is a sound defender at third and a proven run producer in the heart of the order, and fellow senior Kep Brown (.449 slugging, 8 HR) provides rightanded power at the DH spot or an outfield corner.

Look for big steps forward from talented sophomores Matt Suggs (an athletic, strong-armed catcher with emerging righthanded pop) and Brooks Baldwin (a rangy switch-hitter with speed and feel for his barrel from both sides of the plate, along with the versatility to play either outfield corner, first base or second). Junior Kip Brandenburg, a transfer from North Carolina, figures to take over the first base job and serve as another valuable righthanded power source. Junior center fielder Noah Bridges is the most talented position player on the roster, a legitimate five-tool talent with bat speed from the left side and very good speed. Freshmen Trevor Marsh (an athletic outfielder with good speed and a gap-to-gap stroke from the left side), Ronald Evans (a physical, powerful corner infielder) and Matt Yip (a talented catcher with righty pop of his own) all figure to make impacts early in their careers, adding quality depth. And sophomore outfielder Chris Thorburn, a lefthanded slasher, provides additional speed in the outfield.

Keep An Eye On …

Northeastern


After winning the CAA regular-season title and earning an at-large bid in 2018, the Huskies fell back to the pack in 2019, finishing .500 in the league and one game under .500 overall. But there’s reason to expect Northeastern will return to contending for the Colonial title in 2020, thanks to an experienced and versatile lineup and quality starting pitching. The linchpin of the offense will be fourth-year junior third baseman Ian Fair (.357/.419/.520, 8 HR), the reigning CAA batting champ and preseason conference player of the year coming off a strong summer in the Cape Cod League. Fair is an outstanding all-around player with advanced feel for hitting, good righthanded power, rock-solid defensive skills at the hot corner, and even above-average speed. He’ll team with fleet-footed defensive whiz Spenser Smith to form the CAA’s best left half of the infield. Like Smith, senior 2B Scott Holzwasser brings plus speed and superb defense in the middle infield, and he’s a gritty gap-to-gap hitter who makes the offense go out of the leadoff spot. Redshirt sophomore Corey DiLoreto takes over at first base and is expected to hit cleanup behind Fair, as the Huskies anticipate a power surge from him at the plate. Sophomore Jared Dupere and junior Jeff Costello bring more plus speed to the outfield, and both look primed to take jumps offensively after good falls. The catching position is a question mark, but Northeastern is optimistic that strong-armed redshirt junior Teddy Beaudet is ready to handle the staff.

Northeastern will lean upon a seasoned fifth-year senior on Friday nights in Kyle Murphy, a competitive four-pitch righty with a 90-92 fastball that bumps 94, a swing-and-miss changeup and an emerging slider. Junior RHP Sam Jacobsak has taken a jump physically and turned himself into a draft prospect with a 90-93 fastball and a wipeout slider. The Sunday starter figures to be blue-chip freshman RHP Sebastian Keane, an unsigned 11th-round pick by the Red Sox and the first drafted Northeastern player to eschew pro ball in order to honor his commitment. Keane’s stuff is electric: a 91-93 fastball that touches 95, a filthy slider and a useful curveball along with a developing changeup. The bullpen is Northeastern’s biggest question mark, but junior RHP Brandon Dufault has a chance to be a shutdown closer if he can harness his command of a 93-95 fastball that has bumped 97, swing-and-miss changeup and improving slider. Sr. RHP Brian Rodriguez should be much better than last year’s 7.16 ERA, with a 90-92 fastball and two variations of a slider. The Huskies lack lefthanded pitching, however, after losing Sean Mellen and Andrew Misiaszek to the draft plus James Quinlivan and Matt Downing to Tommy John surgery.


James Madison

Last spring, the Dukes posted a winning record overall for the first time since 2011, and they are built to take another big step forward in Marlin Ikenberry’s fifth year at the helm this spring. This is a balanced, experienced roster with talent in the lineup as well as on the mound, and the offense has a real chance to be the CAA’s best. Three seniors provide valuable veteran presence: catcher Kyle Hayes (who stands out for his catch-and-throw skills), first baseman Brady Harju (an athletic and physical run producer who hit .295 with nine homers a year ago) and second baseman Fox Semones (a speed merchant who can run the 60-yard dash in 6.3 seconds, making him a disruptive catalyst). Junior right fielder Conor Hartigan will hit in the heart of the order and could put up big power numbers if he can stay healthy. And the Dukes have four outstanding sophomores returning who all hit .296 or better as freshmen, though 3B Josh Jones did it in 2018 before redshirting in 2019. Jones and shortstop Nick Zona are standout defenders on the left side of the infield, and both of them have nice line-drive strokes at the plate. Left fielder Trevon Dabney (.306/.457/.494, 6 HR, 17 SB) has the best raw tools on the team, with an exciting power/speed combination and a mature approach. And OF/DH Kyle Novak is a natural born hitter from the left side who could contend for the league batting title this spring, the coaches believe. Freshman two-way talent Chase DeLauter is the other key lefthanded bat in this lineup, with the ability to hit for average and power along with excellent speed that plays in center field.

DeLauter also looks slated for a starting role on the mound, perhaps as the midweek man. He’s a low three-quarters lefty with an upper-80s fastball and polished secondary stuff. The likely weekend rotation features three power-armed righties: juniors Nick Stewart, Michael Bechtold and Justin Showalter. The 6-foot-5 Stewart (4-5, 2.74 in 72.1 IP) is a rising prospect with a 90-94 fastball that flirts with upper-90s at times and the ability to miss bats with his secondary stuff. The 6-3 Bechtold sits at 90-92 and has taken a big step forward with his control, showing the ability to throw four pitches for strikes. And the 6-4 Showalter attacks at 90-93 with a putaway slider and very good changeup. The Dukes also have a proven senior to anchor the bullpen in lefthander [/b]Brett Ayer[/b] (4-1, 2.52 with 52 strikeouts in 35.2 IP), who set the school’s single-season record for ERA in 2018 (0.45).

Elon

Elon dominated the CAA in 2019, going 19-5 in conference to win the regular-season title by three games over second-place College of Charleston and seven games over the three teams tied for third place. But Elon’s heart was broken with an extra-inning loss to UNCW in the CAA tournament title game, denying the Phoenix its first trip to regionals since 2013. Now Elon must move forward without its pair of All-America co-aces, George Kirby and Kyle Brnovich, plus shortstop Cam Devanney and two-way talent Ty Adcock. It’s natural to expect a step back after those kinds of departures, but Elon should remain very competitive thanks to a nice blend of experienced seniors and emerging young talent in the lineup and on the mound. In order for the Phoenix to make another run at the CAA title, it will need some of its unproven young power arms to mature in a hurry to complement junior ace Jared Wetherbee (7-4, 3.00, 98 K in 84 IP), who should be one of the top pitchers in the Colonial. Wetherbee moves from the Sunday starter spot into the Friday night role, and he has Friday night-caliber stuff, with a lively 88-93 fastball and the makings of three solid secondary pitches, though they aren’t finished products. Senior lefty Dean McCarthy, who made 27 relief appearances a year ago, looks like a strong candidate to slide into the rotation; he attacks the zone at 86-89 with a solid three-quarters breaking ball at 76-78 and a firm changeup with decent sink. Elon could choose to split up the two lefties by starting burly 6-foot-2, 235-pound freshman righty Spencer Bauer on Saturdays. Bauer ran his heater up to 94 mph in the fall, along with an 81-83 slider that has bigger break and could use some tightening, but it has the makings of being a nice weapon for him. Another big-bodied power righty, sophomore Joe Sprake, has shutdown closer potential if he can throw more strikes this spring. His fastball touched 96 mph this fall, and his slider and changeup are making progress.

Adcock and Devanney combined for 22 of the team’s 44 home runs last year, so Elon will count upon physical senior catcher Nick Cicci (a quality defender with a strong arm) to help fill the power void after hitting just three homers a year ago. First baseman Joe Satterfield (.325/.438/.476) is the team’s top returning hitter, a lefty bat with some pop and feel to hit. He and athletic 5-foot-7 sophomore outfielder Anthony Galason should be two key pillars to anchor the Elon lineup, and freshman right fielder Alex Iadisernia is a polished line-drive hitter who should step into a key role immediately. He and blazing-fast senior center fielder Tyler Stanley could be counted upon to make the lineup go at the top, though Stanley needs to prove he can get on base more consistently after hitting .225 a year ago. Juco transfer Luke Coker will help shore up the defense at second base and bring plenty of energy and bat handling skills at the plate. Senior shortstop/righthander Adam Spurlin also stood out at the plate in the fall, showing wiry strength at the plate and a rifle arm on defense. On the mound, Spurlin is a funky, high-effort, low-slot righty who worked at 90-92 with deception and flashed a promising Frisbee slider at 79-80, though it was inconsistent. Rounding out the infield is senior third baseman Garrett Stonehouse, who returns from a torn meniscus and should serve as an action player in the lineup’s 2-hole.


William & Mary

The Tribe returns a strong nucleus from a club that ranked third in the CAA in scoring and second in ERA a year ago, making this team a sneaky contender for conference supremacy. The experienced pitching staff will be fronted by the rotation tandem of senior righthanders Wade Strain (6-4, 3.61) and Chris Farrell (5-2, 2.58). The 6-foot-6 Strain is a workhorse who attacks the zone with three solid pitches, headlined by his effective cutter. Farrell is a power-armed righty who used his wipeout slider to strike out 47 batters in 38.1 innings a year ago. A third senior righty, Nick Butts (3-1, 4.64), could push for the Sunday job or work on Tuesdays; his three-pitch mix is highlighted by a very good changeup. Sophomore lefty Zach Tsakounis (4-2, 3.60) is the other strong starting candidate, a four-pitch southpaw whose best offering is his changeup as well. Another four-pitch lefty, Justin Pearson (2.92 ERA), will help junior RHP Randy Prosperi (3.52 ERA, 42-12 K-BB in 33 IP) anchor the bullpen. Prosperi owes that excellent strikeout rate in large measure to his swing-and-miss slider.

The centerpiece of the lineup is senior outfielder Brandon Raquet (.269/.402/.531, 8 HR), a lefthanded power hitter with plus speed. William & Mary hopes fellow corner outfielder Matt Thomas is ready to take a big step forward as a sophomore and provide Raquet some protection in the heart of the order. Sophomore center fielder Jack Cone is the most obvious breakout candidate and the likely leadoff hitter; he’s a dynamic athlete with a rifle arm, good speed and emerging lefthanded pop. Senior catcher Matt Trehub (.282/.397/.403) is a sound defensive catcher with a strong arm and good contact skills at the plate. Junior second baseman Matt McDermott, a returning two-year starter with plus speed, and sophomore shortstop Phil Conti will team up to form a slick-fielding double-play tandem, making this team strong up the middle. And third baseman Ben Williamson leads a promising group of freshmen who could make a big impact early on for this club.

The Rest Of The Pack

College of Charleston


The Cougars must replace a host of departed mainstays from last year’s second-plus club, leaving just three returning players who logged more than 100 at-bats last year, and none who registered 160 at-bats. The most accomplished returning position player is senior center fielder Chris Graham (.291 with 13 SB), a 5-foot-8 fire brand with plus-plus speed who will serve as one of the main engines of the lineup. Senior Harrison Hawkins, a physical 6-foot-3 corner outfielder, has tantalized with his power potential but needs to put it all together this spring after posting a meager .637 OPS in 159 at-bats last year. And Charleston needs a big bounceback year from senior first baseman Ari Sechopoulos, who owns a nice lefthanded stroke and hit for power as a sophomore (nine homers, .961 OPS) but slumped dreadfully as a junior (.639 OPS). Sophomore DH Tanner Steffy has intriguing strength in his righty stroke and could be a breakout candidate. An influx of talented newcomers should help the offense stay afloat and inject some athleticism into the defense. Juco transfer Donald Hansis has some righthanded pop and is a solid runner in right field. And the freshman tandem of SS Trotter Harlan and 2B Joseph Mershon should be fun to watch in the middle infield. Harlan, one of the favorites for CAA freshman of the year honors, is a skilled defender and bat handler with gap-to-gap strength and solid-average speed. He and Mershon are twitchy 5-foot-11 athletes who could turn into interesting draft prospects by the time they are juniors.

On the mound, the Cougars will sorely miss departed ace Griffin McLarty and closer Nathan Ocker. Expect lefthander Jordan Carr, a graduate transfer from UNC Asheville, to take over the Friday starter role. He’s a strike-thrower with an 89-91 fastball and a very good changeup, but he has yet to post an ERA under 5.21 in his first three seasons, so the Cougars need him to take another step forward. Two freshmen could join Carr in the weekend rotation: righties Trey Pooser (who stands out for his ability to spot up with his 88-90 fastball) and Caswell Smith. CofC coach Chad Holbrook said the super-talented Smith reminds him of major leaguer Matt Harvey when he was a freshman at North Carolina; he’s an excellent athlete with a clean arm action that can produce 92-95 heat with good sink. Holbrook thinks he has a chance to develop into the first Cougar to be drafted in the first round by the time his collegiate career is done. Junior lefty Zach Williams, who made 10 starts and posted a 4.58 ERA last year, is a more experienced starting option who could wind up in a midweek role; he’s similar to Carr, with an 88-90 fastball and good changeup. Senior righties Tradd James (a sinker/slider specialist who can reach 92 mph) and Josh Price (a rubber-armed sidewinder who logged 81 innings over 33 appearances last year) will anchor the bullpen.


Hofstra

Experience should be a major asset for Hofstra, which should have six upperclassmen in the lineup and a nice group of seniors leading the pitching staff. Sr. RHP Jack Jett (2-3, 5.52) came on strong down the stretch last year and carried his progress over into a good summer, making him the likely Friday starter this spring. Sophomore lefthander Ryan Rue (3-4, 4.48) is an emerging prospect for 2021 with excellent control, a swing-and-miss changeup, and a bulldog demeanor. Jr. RHP Jimmy Joyce could join that pair in the rotation if he can harness his 92-93 mph fastball, the firmest on the staff. Sr. RHP Andrew Mundy (4.78 ERA, 5 saves) returns to anchor the bullpen and should take another step forward in his second full season after Tommy John surgery. He stands out for his command of the zone and his quality slider. Sidewinding junior lefty Jack Anderson presents a different look and also has valuable experience in the pen.

The Pride offense doesn’t figure to lean heavily on the long ball, but it should be able to string hits together and push the action on the basepaths. There is one proven power threat returning in senior first baseman Rob Weissheier (.258/.371/.509, 8 HR), who still hasn’t reached his full power potential, according to the coaches. Hofstra hopes left fielder Brian Goulard, a graduate transfer from Fordham, can slide into the cleanup spot and provide some protection for Weissheier. Sophomore Anthony D’Onofrio and senior Vinnie Costello join Goulard in an athletic outfield. D’Onofrio is is the pick to click, a mature gap-to-gap hitter with good plate discipline, speed and a strong outfield arm. Junior shortstop Austin Gauthier is the best athlete on the team; he has good range and arm strength on defense along with blossoming pop and very good baserunning savvy. Sophomore Sean Flaherty, the nephew of former big league catcher John Flaherty, will take over behind the plate, where he has a strong arm. The Pride expects him to provide some gap power at the plate as well.


Delaware

After making regionals in 2017 for the first time in 16 years, Delaware finished in the middle of the pack in 2018 and then slumped to eighth plate in the nine-team CAA last spring. The coaching staff likes its returning core and feels optimistic about its chances for improvement in 2020, but this group has a lot to prove. The return from injury of fifth-year senior outfielder Kyle Baker and flame-throwing righty Billy Sullivan IV should help a lot, though Sullivan likely won’t be back at full speed until midseason. When healthy, Sullivan can run his fastball up to 97 mph, though his arm action is fairly violent and has inhibited his strike-throwing consistency in the past. In the short term, the Blue Hens are counting on big steps forward from projected weekend starters Chris Ludman (3-8, 5.82), Jack Dubecq (2-5, 3.44) and Joey Silan (3-5, 5.53). Juco transfer RHP Mike Biasiello, whose fastball touches 92 mph with a high spin rate, figures to help senior RHP Derek Wakeley (3.91 ERA, 6 saves) hold down the bullpen.

Baker and sophomore first baseman Joseph Carpenter (.300/.368/.459) should give Delaware a dangerous duo in the heart of the order. Carpenter, the 2019 CAA freshman of the year, has big righthanded power potential, a clean bat path and natural hitting instincts, making him one of the league’s top prospects for the 2021 draft. Fourth-year junior Jordan Hutchins is a good center fielder whose speed also plays on the basepaths, and he should make the Blue Hens go out of the leadoff spot. And keep an eye on freshman catcher Jorden Jurkiewicz, an athletic backstop with a high baseball IQ. He should be a major difference maker from the outset.


Towson

The Towson coaches have their work cut out turning around program that won 14 games last year and just 13 games the year before. But the Tigers should be competitive on weekends thanks to the one-two punch of Josh Seils and Shayne Clowar atop the rotation. Seils (4.00 ERA in 78.2 IP) has a quick arm that can produce heat up to 92 mph. Clowar, a juco transfer, is a projectable 6-foot-4, 205-pound righthander with very good feel to spin breaking balls, and if he can fine-tune his command he’s got a chance to make a huge impact and get himself drafted. Junior righty Jake Pecilunas and senior lefty Austin Weber give Towson a pair of veterans to hold down the bullpen, but the Tigers need both to take steps forward after posting matching 5.14 ERAs last spring.

Towson’s offense was downright anemic last year, ranking 289th in the nation in scoring (four runs per game) and 292nd in batting (.231). Center fielder Javon Fields (.272/.366/.371) is an emerging talent who could bust out in a big way as a sophomore. Senior first baseman Brad Powers (7 HR) provides a little bit of thump in the heart of the order, but this lineup is otherwise bereft of proven commodities. Juco transfer Brandon Austin is an athletic third baseman with strength at the plate and will be counted upon to bolster the lineup. Another juco transfer, Portland kickback Nick Janowicz, could help shore up the catcher position, which is one of this team’s many question marks.


Hope this is true and we finish top 3. I want to be in a position to win the CAA, but a top 3 finish would far exceed the prior 3 years.
02-14-2020 08:59 AM
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Dukester Offline
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RE: 2020 Diamond Dukes Baseball
State 2-0 in bottom of 2nd.
02-14-2020 03:32 PM
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AssyrianDuke Offline
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RE: 2020 Diamond Dukes Baseball
NC State with a quick 2-0 lead after a HR in the B2.
02-14-2020 03:32 PM
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PurpleRain Offline
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RE: 2020 Diamond Dukes Baseball
Great job by Stewart to limit the damage and hold State to 2 runs in that situation.
02-14-2020 03:49 PM
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AssyrianDuke Offline
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RE: 2020 Diamond Dukes Baseball
(02-14-2020 03:49 PM)PurpleRain Wrote:  Great job by Stewart to limit the damage and hold State to 2 runs in that situation.

Good to know. I saw he had runners on the corners when ESPN app crapped out on me. Considering I only got to see the HR, the walk, and the single, I might have been the cause of the baseball misfortune!
02-14-2020 03:53 PM
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PurpleRain Offline
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RE: 2020 Diamond Dukes Baseball
Stewart done after 4 innings. Honestly, not a bad first outing against a ranked opponent. Kept the dukes in it, and had 8 K's in 4 innings which is impressive at any level. Showalter on to keep the dukes in this.
02-14-2020 04:33 PM
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jmuduke10 Offline
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RE: 2020 Diamond Dukes Baseball
Dukes fall in game 1 yesterday 4-0. In Game 2, the good guys once again go down 4-0, but are on the board in 2020 and attempting a comeback. 4-3 NCSt in the 3rd
(This post was last modified: 02-15-2020 03:03 PM by jmuduke10.)
02-15-2020 03:03 PM
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Wear Purple Online
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RE: 2020 Diamond Dukes Baseball
Good Guys tie it with a 4-spot in the top of the 3rd. Nice. 4-4 going to the btm of the 3rd in Raleigh.
02-15-2020 03:10 PM
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Post: #36
RE: 2020 Diamond Dukes Baseball
Single, stolen base and a two-out single gives the Dukes a 5-4 lead. Ton of time left, but they boys are battling
02-15-2020 03:32 PM
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jmuduke10 Offline
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Post: #37
RE: 2020 Diamond Dukes Baseball
NC St loads the bases with no out in the 5th, but Dukes escape with 3 Ks
02-15-2020 04:18 PM
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Wear Purple Online
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Post: #38
RE: 2020 Diamond Dukes Baseball
Getting a win in Raleigh this weekend would be mission accomplished. Anything beyond that is gravy.

Come on, Dukes. Let's get this!!
02-15-2020 04:28 PM
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jmuduke10 Offline
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Post: #39
RE: 2020 Diamond Dukes Baseball
Dukes push across a huge insurance run in the top of the 8th on a bases loaded walk. Dukes lead @ #16 NC State 6-4 going to bottom of the 8th.

Regardless how this ends, excellent job by Entsminger and Ayer with 5.1 scoreless out of the bullpen against a top National team.

UPDATE: My bad, ill take the blame for this. Bullpen finally folds and NcState has tied it up and still threatening
(This post was last modified: 02-15-2020 05:11 PM by jmuduke10.)
02-15-2020 05:01 PM
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jmuduke10 Offline
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Post: #40
RE: 2020 Diamond Dukes Baseball
Dukes give up 5 in the 8th and lose 9-6. While you could criticize Ike for leaving Ayer in too long, its 20/20 since he helped us to get to the 8th with a lead. Oh well, lets try to steal one tomorrow
02-15-2020 05:34 PM
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