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2023 Colonial Athletic Season Preview

Projected Standings
*Teams are listed in order of projected finish. Bold indicates 2022 regional team.

1: College of Charleston
2: Stony Brook
3: Hofstra
4: UNC Wilmington
5: William & Mary
6: Northeastern
7: Monmouth
8: Elon
9: Delaware
10: Towson
11: North Carolina A&T

Player of the Year: 3B Evan Giordano, Stony Brook

Pitcher of the Year: RHP William Privette, College of Charleston

Freshman of the Year: RHP Carlos Martinez, Hofstra

Projected Regional Team: College of Charleston

Projected Regional Team


College of Charleston
Head Coach: Chad Holbrook
2022 Record: 37-20 (19-5)

General Outlook: The Cougars were outstanding at home last season (25-5), beating second-ranked Texas and also Clemson along the way. The Cougars won a conference regular-season title for just the sixth time in program history, but they lost twice to Northeaster in the Colonial postseason tournament. Holbrook, who was the associate head coach when South Carolina won national titles in 2010 and 2011, enters his sixth season running the Cougars. In 10 years as a head coach – five at South Carolina and five with the Cougars – he has yet to have a losing season.

Strong Points: Almost everyone returns from a team that won the Colonial regular season, including a 10-game winner and one of the top closers in the nation.

Question Mark: The Cougars will be looking for No. 2 starter Daniel Brooks to produce up to his talent and skills, including a fastball that tops at 95 mph.

Star Power: Closer William Privette led the nation in ERA (0.91). He went 3-1 with 12 saves, using his fastball (92-95) almost exclusively.

Glue Guys: Senior ace Ty Good (10-5, 3.61) won all of his games last year in the Friday role. Using his four-pitch mix, Good usually gave the Cougars a great start to a series. Catcher JT Marr (.813 OPS), second baseman Joseph Mershon (.861 OPS), left fielder Trotter Harlan (.921 OPS, eight homers) and right fielder Tanner McCallister (.832 OPS) are the core of a strong offense.

Top Newcomers: Freshman Hayden Miller flashed power and speed this fall, winning the DH job. USC transfer Aiden Hunter won the No. 4 spot in the rotation. Junior-college transfer Drake Thames dominated the fall as a reliever, and his teammate at Florence-Darlington, Brayden Davidson, won the job at first base due to his power and low-strikeout totals.

Keep An Eye On

Stony Brook
Head Coach: Matt Senk
2022 Record: 27-25 (21-9 America East)

General Outlook: The Seawolves are moving on to the Colonial after putting a heavy stamp on the America East, especially over the past decade-plus.The Seawolves won seven regular-season America East titles from 2011 and most recently in 2022, and their run to the College World Series in 2012 is the stuff of legends. In 32 years at Stony Brook, Senk has delivered 26 winning seasons and six NCAA regional appearances. He has also helped 29 Seawolves players get selected in the MLB Draft. His first MLB player was Joe Nathan, who was a shortstop when he was recruited and went on to become a six-time All-Star pitcher.

Strong Points: The Seawolves ranked second in the American East in ERA last year and third in fielding percentage. Even in a new league, those traits should still hold true, and there are several proven hitters returning as well.

Question Marks: Senior Nick DeGennaro is projected as the Friday starter despite pitching just 9 2/3 innings and then missing the rest of the 2022 season due to injury. He had a 0.93 ERA in his two starts last year, and the Seawolves would love to see a return that is even close to that form.

Star Power: Sophomore third baseman Evan Giordano was named the America East Player of the Year last season, batting .332 with 13 homers, 49 RBIs and a 1.067 OPS. He also stole 8-of-10 bases.

Glue Guys: Senior closer Brendan Pattermann went 5-0 with four saves and a team-best 3.92 ERA last year. Senior catcher Shane Paradine was a first-team All-America East selection, batting .308 with an .823 OPS. Junior left fielder Matt Brown-Eiring (.920 OPS) slugged 10 homers and ranked fourth in the America East in RBIs (50) and doubles (16). Junior center fielder Evan Fox (.976 OPS) stole 31-of-33 bases and is ticketed for leadoff duty.

Top Newcomer: Senior lefty Jared Bellissimo, a transfer from Rutgers, won the mid-week starter’s job. His experience could solidify a solid rotation.


Head Coach: Frank Catalanotto
2022 Record: 30-23 (15-9)

General Outlook: The Pride made an NCAA regional last year – a first in program history. Third-seeded Hofstra walked off Northeastern 7-6 in the Colonial final, and even though the Pride went 0-2 in their regional, it was still an incredible first year at the school for Catalanotto. Then again, Catlanotto built an amazing career as a player, lasting 14 years in the majors as a 10th-round pick who never hit more than 13 homers in one season. In his only previous full season as a coach, he set a New York Techprogram record with 37 wins.

Strong Points: This is a scrappy team that gets the most out of their ability. They work counts, and examples of that are catcher Keith Bruggerman(.827 OPS), DH Jake Liberatore (.830 OPS) and right fielder Steve Harrington (.812 OPS).

Question Marks: Can the Pride recreate the magic of 2022? They had nine walk-off wins last season, and they ran through the Colonial tournament with a 4-0 record. All four wins were by one run. There are also questions about Hofstra’s rotation.

Star Power: Senior left fielder Will Kennedy has a sweet lefty stroke, batting .331 last year. He has gap power and posted an .886 OPS.

Glue Guy: Senior right-hander Mark Faello (7-4, 5.27) has everyone’s respect as a cancer survivor who made a huge comeback in 2022.

Top Newcomers: Hard-throwing freshman Carlos Martinez won the No. 2 spot in the rotation with a repeatable delivery. Freshman Sean Hamilton won the No. 3 spot, and he is working hard on his secondary pitches.

UNC Wilmington

Head Coach: Randy Hood
2022 Record: 31-24 (15-9)

General Outlook: The Seahawks have made 10 NCAA regionals, most recently in 2019. All 10 of those berths happened since 2003. Hood is set to start his fourth season as the Seahawks’ coach, and he has coached three straight winning seasons to start his career. As a player, Hood was an outfielder at Campbell, leading the Big South Conference with a .366 batting average and setting a school record with 26 steals. One highlight of his five-year minor-league career was playing with Michael Jordan in Birmingham in 1994.

Strong Points: Led by their ace pitcher, the Seahawks pounded the zone this fall, limiting walks. Their hitters drove the ball this fall.

Question Marks: The Seahawks lost their three double-figure homer-hitters and their saves leader. Plenty of pitching returns but key roles are still up in the air.

Star Power: Junior lefty Matt Gaither (2-1, 1.80) was brilliant in his six appearances, showing a high spin rate and above average curve and change. He works off his fastball and attacks hitters, but he tossed just 30 innings last year.

Glue Guys: Left fielder Dillon Lifrieri (.835 OPS) leads the returners with eight homers. Shortstop Taber Mongero (.832 OPS) has a plus arm and is a strong defender who does all the little things well.

Top Newcomers: Two freshmen lefty hitters won jobs on the right side of the Seahawks’ infield: first baseman Tanner Thach, who showed big-time power in the fall; and second baseman Brock Willis, who has gap power, plus speed and a strong arm.

William & Mary

Head Coach: Mike McRae
2022 Record: 26-23 (14-10)

General Outlook: The Tribe have made four NCAA regionals in nearly 80 years, but two of those berths have happened within the past decade (2013,2016). McRae, a native of Canada who was a hockey goalie at Colby College, is set to start his second season in charge of the Tribe. Last year, the squad went 0-2 in the Colonial tournament, losing by a total of just four runs.

Strong Points: The Tribe have solid pitching and some big bats at first base, shortstop and center field.

Question Marks: Power usually comes from the corners, but, other than first base, the Tribe lacks proven quality at those spots.

Star Power: Center fielder and three-hole hitter Joe Delossantos (.954 OPS) slugged nine homers and stole 13-of-17 bases. First baseman and cleanup hitter Cole Ragone (.892 OPS) hit 10 homers and went 5-for-5 on steals.

Glue Guys: Carter Lovasz (2-1, 2.94) and Casey Green (1-4, 3.29) are the top two starters. Lovasz pitched 13 of his 16 games last year in relief, but now he’s the Friday starter. Leadoff hitter and shortstop Ben Williamson (.832 OPS) hit four homers and stole nine bases.

Top Newcomers: Freshmen Corey Adams (second base) and Jerry Barnes (DH) won starting jobs this fall.


Head Coach: Mike Glavine
2022 Record: 31-29-1 (10-14)

General Outlook: The Huskies have a rich history with nine NCAA regional appearances, most recently in 2021. Two of those regional berths have come under Glavine, who is entering his ninth season in Boston. He’s only had two losing years in that span.

Strong Points: The Huskies have solid pitching, a star center fielder and team speed that should show up offensively and defensively.

Question Marks: The Huskies have to replace two weekend starters and two key bullpen arms. Offensively, the Huskies could use the emergence of more power.

Star Power: Junior ace Wyatt Scotti (8-3, 2.88) made All-CAA, All-New England and All-Northeast. He started 14 games, striking out 65 batters andwalking just eight. He finished top-15 in the nations in WHIP, fewest walks and strikeout-to-walk ratio. Sophomore center fielder and leadoff hitter Mike Sirota (.922 OPS) led the Huskies in hitting (.326) and homes (four) despite missing the second half of the 2022 season due to injury. He also stole 10-of-13 bases.

Glue Guys: Eric Yost made 20 appearances last year, including 10 mid-week starts. He finished 4-3, 2.48 with one save, and he is slated to move up to No. 2 in the 2023 rotation. Closer Jordy Allard (4-3, 2.16) picked up two playoff saves and had a 58-9 strikeout-to-walk ratio.

Top Newcomers: First baseman Tyler MacGregor was second on Columbia’s team in batting average (.332), and he posted a .921 OPS. Alex Lane, who won the DH job this fall, starred for Bryant last year, leading his former team in homers (12) and RBIs (48).

The Rest Of The Pack

Head Coach: Dean Ehehalt
2022 Record: 24-27 (12-10 MAAC)

General Outlook: Ehehalt, who has coached the Hawks since 1994, has led Monmouth to eight regular-season conference championships, most recently in 2018, and four NCAA regionals, most recently in 2009. This will mark Ehehalt’s 30thseason coaching Monmouth and his first in the Colonial.

Strong Points: The Hawks have a star first baseman and a veteran coach to try to bring together all the new players.

Question Marks: There are a lot of new faces, and the league itself is new to the Hawks. Among the players the Hawks have to replace are lefty Trey Dombrowski, a fourth-round pick of the Astros who went 6-2, 3.13 last year; lefty Rob Hensey, a ninth-round pick of the Reds who went 3-7, 3.87; and shortstop Dixon Black, who posted an .851 OPS before hitting the transfer portal.

Star Power: Senior first baseman James Harstead broke the school record last year with 18 homers. He also smacked 13 doubles, posted a .956 OPS and went 4-for-4 on steals.

Glue Guys: Barring injuries, seniors Alex Barker and Phil Stahl will be relied on much more heavily this season. Barker, who posted a 4.02 ERA last year, is the new Friday guy. He started just once last season, making 11 relief appearances. Stahl hit five homers in just 28 at-bats last year. He had a 1.388OPS in his abbreviated playing time.

Top Newcomers: The Hawks added transfers from a variety of levels, including Division I (lefty mid-week starter Drew Helmstetter from Iona); Division II (No. 2 starter Jem Sisco from Thomas Jefferson); Division III (starting third baseman Austin Denlinger from York College); and junior college (starting left fielder Eric Sabato from Rowan College of SouthJersey-Gloucester). Denlinger was the biggest surprise of the fall. Not only did he earn a starting job – which itself was a stunner coming from D3 – but he also became an instant leader.


Head Coach: Mike Kennedy
2022 Record: 27-28 (9-14)

General Outlook: Kennedy, a former Elon catcher and then pitching coach, has directed the Phoenix since 1997, leading the program to six NCAA regionals. But Elon hasn’t played in a regional since 2013, easily their longest drought since Kennedy took over. Elon is especially proud of ex-Phoenix pitcher George Kirby, who as a rookie last year set an MLB record by throwing 24 consecutive strikes to start a game.

Strong Points: This is a more athletic team than in 2022, and the bullpen looks solid.

Question Marks: The Phoenix may not have the front-line pitching they’ve had in recent years.

Star Power: Sophomore lefty Shea Sprague (6-3, 1.89) was the league’s Freshman of the Year in 2022, splitting his time between starter and reliever.Now he’s the Friday starter. Senior DH Luke Stephenson (.896 OPS) brings the thunder, slugging 15 homers last year.

Glue Guys: Left fielder Charlie Granatell (.832 OPS) made the Colonial All-Freshman team last year and will move from leadoff to three-hole. Closer Ben Simon (3-1, 3.48) earned two saves last year in 23 appearances. With his fastball up to 96 and an improving slider, he could be dominant.

Top Newcomer: Center fielder Kenny Mallory, a lefty-swinging sophomore, transferred from Vanderbilt. He’s a long and rangy athlete who figures to bat leadoff if he can cut down on his strikeout rate.


Head Coach: Greg Mamula
2022 Record: 25-26 (8-15)

General Outlook: The Fightin’ Blue Hens have made 16 NCAA regionals, most recently in 2017. This season will mark the first year under Mamula, whospent the past seven campaigns as a Florida Atlantic assistant. Mamula has experience at Delaware, serving as an assistant from 2002 to 2006.

Strong Points: Hens offense dominated in the fall. There’s loads of experience in the lineup, and they can pick it in the field, too.

Question Marks: The pitching staff had a shaky fall, and No. 3 starter Tyler Strechay has missed two straight years due to elbow surgery.

Star Power: Third baseman Joey Loynd made first-team All-Colonial last year, posting an .891 OPS. He is set to bat cleanup in the Delaware batting order.

Glue Guys: Shortstop JJ Freeman (.834 OPS), DH Bryce Greenly (.827 OPS) and left fielder Aidan Kane (.826 OPS) are all part of the Hens’ potent lineup.

Top Newcomers: Senior second baseman Dan Covino had a 1.020 OPS last year at Central Connecticut, making first-team All-Northeast Conference. Lefty-swinging catcher Josearmando Diaz had a 1.286 OPS in junior-college ball, with more walks than strikeouts.


Head Coach: Matt Tyner
2022 Record: 14-39 (4-19)

General Outlook: The Tigers went 1-25 on the road last year, beating only Elon. Tyner, a former Miami Hurricanes hitter and Baltimore Orioles ninth-round pick who is set to start his fifth season as Towson’s coach, inherited a 13-42 squad when he took over in 2019. It’s been a bit of a struggle since then, and the league keeps getting stronger with the addition of Stony Brook, for example.

Strong Points: There are veteran leaders available among the position players, and the Tigers have some versatile athletes overall.

Question Marks: The rotation lacks proven pitchers at this level, and there appear to be holes in the lineup.

Star Power: Redshirt junior Elijah Dickerson, a lefty-swinging left fielder, made honorable-mention all-league last year after slugging 10 doubles, three triples and 10 homers. Dickerson, who has a strong arm, posted an .864 OPS.

Glue Guys: Shortstop Casey Bishop (.850 OPS) is solid offensively and defensively. Senior closer Cam Clark went 2-0 last year with two saves and a 3.18 ERA.

Top Newcomers: The Tigers boast two top freshmen – catcher Brian Heckelman and right-hander Brandon Jung.

North Carolina A&T

Head Coach: Ben Hall
2022 Record: 15-38 (3-21 Big South)

General Outlook: The Aggies have made two NCAA regionals in their history – in 2005 and 2018, both times as MEAC champs. This will be their first season in the Colonial after making a long run in the MEAC and spending 2022 in the Big South. Hall, the MEAC Coach of the Year in 2017, is set to begin his ninth season running Aggies baseball. Before COVID hit in 2020, Hall had led the Aggies to three straight winning seasons (2017-2019). Since 2020, however, the Aggies are 44-79. Last year did provide the Aggies at least two highlights, however, as they knocked off a pair of Power Five schools: North Carolina and Pitt. It was the Aggies’ first win over UNC since 1993.

Strong Points: There are some quality hitters in the lineup.

Question Marks: The pitching staff lacks proven starters or relievers after posting a 6.51 team ERA.

Star Power: Senior left fielder and leadoff batter Cam Brantley (.823 OPS) could be a double-figure homer and steals guy in 2023. The lefty-swinger hit 11 doubles, one triple and eight homers last year, stealing 8-of-10 bases.

Glue Guys: Senior first baseman Curt Maynard (.821 OPS) hit eight homers last season. Sophomore catcher Canyon Brown (.818 OPS) flashed an elite arm and also hit 10 doubles, three triples and seven homers.

Top Newcomers: Junior-college transfer Luis Espinal won the job at third base and will bat cleanup. Freshman outfielder Chris Moss is coming off an impressive fall and could emerge later in the season.

02-07-2023 03:33 PM
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