HAMDEN, Conn. - The Quinnipiac University baseball team was picked to finish seventh in the 2010 Northeast Conference Preseason Baseball Poll, released by the conference office today. The Bobcats finished last season with a record of 18-34 overall including an 11-17 mark against NEC competition.
Wagner was picked by the NEC coaches as the team-to-beat in the conference heading into spring training. The Seahawks locked down the top preseason spot with four first-place votes. Monmouth (two first place votes) landed in second, followed by Central Connecticut State (two) and Sacred Heart (one), while Bryant took the fifth spot. Mount St. Mary's claimed the sixth spot, followed by Quinnipiac, Fairleigh Dickinson and Long Island.
Quinnipiac will look to overcome the loss of a solid core of starting pitchers in NEC Second-Teamer Chris Gloor and all-time wins leader Andy Mayer. Gloor was taken in the 17th round of the Major League Baseball draft by the San Francisco Giants after a career-year that saw him break the Bobcats Division I records for single-season (81) and career (238) strikeouts. The big lefty won a career-best seven games in 2009, including five wins against NEC competition. Mayer broke the Quinnipiac all-time record for wins with his 22nd career victory in a 4-2 win against Long Island in his final collegiate start. In addition, the Bobcats also lose their third weekend starter in Joe Duffy.
At the plate, Quinnipiac will look to replace longtime third baseman Bryn Doyle, who led the team with 56 hits, and catcher Mike Marmo, who led the team in doubles (14) and runs scored (33), while blasting five homeruns and driving in 26 runs.
The Bobcats return five of their top seven hitters from last year's team that batted .280 in 52 games. Gabe Guerino (Milford, Conn.), a first baseman/designated hitter, played in 43 games in his first year with the Bobcats, posting a team-high .343 batting average as well as a .409 on-base percentage. Guerino also hit .333 (16-48) with runners in scoring position and .421 with two outs.
Sophomore infielder Chris Migani (Orange, Conn.) had an outstanding freshman season, after he batted .290 (54-186) while his 54 hits ranked second on the team. Migani was also second with 12 doubles, while scoring a team-high 33 runs. Migani was also named the Akadema/NEC Rookie of the Week twice in 2009. Junior infielder Mickey Amanti (Waterford, Conn.) split time between second, shortstop and third base for the Bobcats last season. Amanti wrapped-out 40 hits in 49 games played, while driving in 24 runs and scoring another 28.
Brian Monack (Branford, Conn.) was arguable the Bobcats' top offensive threat in 2009 and will look to build upon that success. While originally making a name for himself with his glove after earning the top play on ESPN SportsCenter's Top 10 twice in his first two years, Monack had a break-out year at the plate for the Bobcats in 2009. Monack batted .315 (53-168) while leading the team in homeruns (nine) and RBI (32), while also collecting 11 doubles, one triple and scoring 29 runs. Monack also posted a team-best .554 slugging percentage.
Ryan Ullrich (Guilford, Conn.) broke into the Bobcats' starting line-up halfway through the season as the everyday right fielder alongside Monack. Ullrich batted .333 (27-81) with 14 RBI and 12 runs scored while leading the team with eight stolen bases. Left fielder Ben Farina (Waterford, Conn.) became the 52nd player in Quinnipiac's history to reach 100-career hits and just the 21st in the Bobcats' Division I history to do so. Farina was also the first Bobcat to accomplish the feat as a sophomore since Tim Binkoski, who now serves as Quinnipiac's assistant coach. Joe Poletsky (Riverside, Conn.) had a solid year at the plate, batting .281 (39-139) with four homeruns, 28 RBI and 21 runs scored.
On the mound, Quinnipiac will look to returners Mike Oskandy (Bethel, Conn.), Todd DeFrancesco (North Haven, Conn.) and Kyle Birdsall (Orange, Conn.), as well as sophomore Anthony Cinelli (Wall, N.J.) to anchor a pitching staff that will feature six freshman and three sophomores. Freshmen George Dummar (Branford, Conn.), Spencer Kane (Wolcott, Conn.), Kevin Castodio (Pawcatuck, Conn.), Derek Lamacchia (Flushing, N.Y.) and Alex Russou (Milford, Conn.) add much-needed depth to the rotation.
Quinnipiac opens the 2010 season on Friday, March 5 in the first of a three-game series against North Carolina State in Raleigh, N.C. The Bobcats will play nine games from March 5 through March 14 in North Carolina and Virginia to open the season. Also included in its Mid-Atlantic swing are Duke, Virginia Commonwealth and William & Mary.
Quinnipiac's non-conference schedule will include Fairfield, Holy Cross, Yale, Brown, Dartmouth, Rhode Island, Hartford and Boston College. The Bobcats' home opener is slated for Sunday, March 21 when they host Holy Cross at 12 p.m. at the Quinnipiac Baseball Field.