HAMDEN, Conn. The Quinnipiac University baseball team was picked to finish fifth in the 2009 Northeast Conference Baseball Preseason Coaches' Poll as announced by the conference office today. In 2008, the Bobcats posted a record of 16-36 overall including a 9-19 ledger in NEC play. Quinnipiac missed the NEC Tournament for the first time in five seasons.
Monmouth received five first-place votes and were tabbed the favorite in the conference for the third time in five seasons. Central Connecticut State grabbed two first-place votes for the second spot, followed by Wagner with one first-place vote. Mount St. Mary's, who won the NEC crown a year ago, landed in fourth place, followed by the Bobcats. Long Island, Sacred Heart and Fairleigh Dickinson filled out the remaining three spots.
"This is an extremely competitive Division I baseball conference," head coach Dan Gooley said. "The quality of baseball is evident whenever you step on the field. You have to play hard every game in order to succeed."
Quinnipiac will rely on an experienced veteran pitching rotation, led by right-handed starter Andy Mayer (Trumbull, Conn.), who has led the Bobcats in innings pitched (, wins and games started in each of the last three seasons. Left-handed starter Chris Gloor (Bay Shore, N.Y.) is a Major League Baseball prospect that was selected by the Detroit Tigers in the 39th round of last year's draft, but opted to return to Quinnipiac for his senior season. Mike Oskandy (Bethel, Conn.) has pitched in a variety of roles, but is coming off a promising summer season in which he was named an NECBL All-Star which he carried into a successful fall season.
After its pitching, Quinnipiac will look to seven returning offensive starters that featured six hitters who collected over 40 hits last season. Bryn Doyle (Manchester, N.H) has hit over .300 in each of the last two seasons. Sophomores Mickey Amanti (Waterford, Conn.) and Ben Farina (Waterford, Conn.) had promising freshman campaigns as Farina was second on the team in hits (63), doubles (13) and runs scored (34). The freshman outfielder was also the only Quinnipiac player to start all of the teams' 52 games.
The Bobcats will have to overcome the loss of their top two hitters from last season, John Delaney and Pete Kummerfeldt. Delaney was drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers in the 25th round of last year's MLB draft after collecting three straight All-NEC honors. Last season, Delaney led the Bobcats in homeruns (9), runs batted in (40), hits (66), runs scored (49), at-bats (196), batting average (.337), doubles (15), slugging percentage (.571) and triples (2). Kummerfeldt was the Bobcats' starting first baseman and totaled 63 hits, eight homeruns, 38 RBI while batting .330 on the year. On the hill, Quinnipiac will have to overcome the loss of Tyler Brett who led Quinnipiac in ERA (4.60), appearances (13), complete games (3) while also finishing second in innings pitched (62 2/3) and strikeouts (51).
This year's team will also feature several talented freshmen in Chris Migani (Orange, Conn.), penciled in as the Bobcats' starting second baseman, Neil Mammele (Madison, Conn.), a 6-4 right-handed pitcher, Tim O'Sullivan (Upper Saddle River, N.J.), a 6-2 right-handed pitcher and Gabe Guerino (Milford, Conn.), a hard-hitting, left-handed first baseman.
The Bobcats open the 2009 season on Friday, Feb. 27 when they travel to College Park, Md., for a three-game series against the Terrapins of the University of Maryland. They will then travel to Athens, Ga., to face the 2008 NCAA College World Series Runner-up Georgia from Friday, Mar. 6 to Sunday, Mar. 8. Their spring trip then heads to Charleston, S.C. where they will face the Citadel on Monday, Mar. 9 and the College of Charleston on Tuesday, Mar. 10. After a stop in Durham, N.C., on Wednesday, Mar. 11 to take on Duke, they conclude their trip in Greenville, S.C., where the Bobcats will face Michigan State on Saturday, Mar. 13 and Sunday, Mar. 14. They will also face Xavier on Sunday, Mar. 14 in the first day of their split doubleheader. All three of the games will be played at West End Field, the home field of the Greenville Drive, minor league affiliate of the Boston Red Sox.