Baseball attempts to recreate 2010 NCAA appearance

Andrew Arnao

Staff Writer

The men’s baseball team will kick off its season on Feb. 18 in Davidson, N.C. against La Salle and Niagara. The Orange and Blue hope to build on their 25-28 record from last year.

“We are looking forward to getting started next weekend,” head coach Gene Depew said. “The warm weather has given us more of an opportunity to be on the field than we ever have had in the past. We have a solid group of seniors who would like to take their second trip to the NCAA Regionals.”

The Bison last made the NCAA Tournament in 2010, after winning the Patriot League tournament for the fifth time in school history. The team advanced to the Patriot League semifinals last season but lost a three-game series to Navy 2-1.

“Our loss to Navy in the playoffs last year has been something driving us during the offseason,” starting pitcher Ryan Ebner ’12 said. “We have a lot of guys with experience, especially since we have 10 seniors, all of whom will be seeing time this year. We also have some underclassmen that have been stepping up, so there will be plenty of competition for starting spots.”

Some of the returning seniors include 2011 All-Patriot League selections Ebner, relief pitcher Alex Cillo ’12, outfielder Bob Donato ’12 and pitcher/outfielder Matt Lamore ’12. Ebner also earned the Patriot League Pitcher of the Year award in 2011.

“We will need our senior pitchers to perform to their best and for some underclassmen to step up and have a great year,” Depew said.

“Our keys to success will be our ability to score runs consistently and to put together a complete game as a pitching staff,” Ebner said. “Our weak point [is] our speed, but we will be able to make up for it by playing smart and doing the little things right offensively.”

The Bison’s first home game is not until March 3, and they will not begin to play Patriot League games until the end of March. Schedule highlights include the Russ Matt Invitational in Florida in mid-March, as well as four-game home-stands against Holy Cross (March 31 and April 1), Lehigh (April 14-15) and a revenge matchup against Navy (April 7-8). The Patriot League Tournament starts in May.

“We have depth at every position and everyone on the team is working hard in practice,” outfielder Matt Busch ’13 said. “Our expectations for this year are winning a conference championship, and the Patriot League playoffs. A lot of the guys feel like anything less than this would be a disappointment. This is our year.”

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