George Washington Baseball 2004 Season Preview
Feb. 10, 2004
WASHINGTON, DC - The GW baseball team has high expectations forthe spring of 2004. Despite losing six players to the MLB draft in June 2002, the 2003 team went 37-18 with the 32nd-best winning percentage in the country, and GW's best since 1986. This year's team returns all but four from last year's club. Greg Conden was drafted in the 18th round by the San Diego Padres, Chris Barry signed with Cook County in the Frontier League, and Travis Crowder and Tony Dokoupil both graduated with degrees in business.
The GW team returns seven of nine positional starters and more than 75 percent of its home run and RBI production from last season. In 2004, offense should be GW's strength led by senior captain Jeff Fertitta, a career .293 hitter with 18 home runs, 112 RBI, 97 runs, 24 doubles, 72 walks and 139 hits; and junior captain Anthony Raglani, a career .305 hitter with 11 home runs, 77 RBI, 79 runs, 32 doubles, 56 doubles, 18 steals and a NCBWA National Hitter of the Week last season. An addition to the outfield, junior Ryan Roberson, last year's A-10 All-Conference First Team designated hitter with a career .341 batting average with 13 home runs, 84 RBI, 63 runs, 24 doubles, 10 steals and nationally ranked 14th with 1.28 RBI per game and 78th in the country with a .383 batting average, will start in right field. Sophomore center fielder Matt Owens, who hit .261 with four home runs, 12 RBI, 26 runs, five doubles and seven steals last year as a freshman, rounds out the outfield.
The infield will be anchored by sophomore shortstop Tom Shanley who was last year's A-10 Rookie of the Year and Second Team A-10 and ECAC Second-Team All-Star shortstop. He hit a conference leading .398, which was 43rd in the country, along with two home runs, 30 RBI, 48 runs, six doubles and started the year with a 15-game hitting streak. Shanley will be joined up the middle by freshman second baseman Michael Parker (Newton, MA/Newton South). The third baseman will be junior Geoff Milsom who in his first year at GW hit .224 with two home runs, 21 RBI, 18 runs and four doubles. Fertitta will start at first base with transfer freshman Bill Simpson (Old Westbury, NY/Carle Place) seeing some time at first as well as on the mound. Simpson, who transferred from South Carolina this spring, is GW's first-ever First Team High School All-American. Starting catcher Joe Michalski returns with a career .267 average with 17 home runs, 66 RBI, 51 runs and 17 doubles. The starting designated hitter will be Brad Rosenblat who, in his first year at GW, hit .261 with four home runs, 35 RBI, 41 runs, 11 doubles and a team-high three triples. Rosenblat will also see time in the outfield. Also projected to receive considerable playing time are freshman Mickey Shupin who redshirted last year, Josh Goldberg (Albany, NY/Albany Academy) and Anthony Smith (Katonah, NY/Jon Jay). Providing depth to the lineup will be redshirt sophomore Bill Powell who is a career .857 hitter with seven hits, three of which were doubles, in eight at-bats over the last two years, sophomore Jay Quinn who hit .286 last year in seven at-bats with two RBI as a rookie, freshman Steve Santy who redshirted last year and freshman Steven Wallace (Syracuse, NY/Phillips Exeter Academy).
The Colonials' pitching staff returns six of its top seven pitchers losing Conden who was drafted. The six who are returning accounted for 30 of the team's 37 wins and all eight saves. GW's ace is lefthander Dan Sullivan who had the 98th-best ERA in the NCAA last year with a 2.96 ERA and is tied for sixth all-time at GW with a 6-2 record to go with 85 strikeouts. Two Sophomore starters secure a strong rotation in the two and three spots. Josh Wilkie was 40th in the nation with 10.0 strikeouts per game for a total of 64, and he is also tied for sixth in winning percentage going 6-2 as a freshman with a 3.75 ERA. Dan Pfau holds the all-time winning percentage record at 6-0 and had a 4.13 ERA with 59 strikeouts as a freshman. Two more freshman, Smith and Derrik Lutz (Grantville, PA/Lower Dauphin) round out a starting five that has the potential to be GW's best-ever. The top three starters, Sullvan, Wilkie and Pfau, went a combined 16-3 in 2003.
In the bullpen, GW will rely primarily on five returning veterans, senior captain Dennis Gramolini who is tied for second all-time at GW with a career 5-1 record; senior David Cutler who had 13 strikeouts in 10 innings in his first season; juniors Avi Rasowsky who has a 5-3 career record in 30 appearances; Nick Koken who had seven saves, which is tied for fifth all-time, last yearand threw a no-hitter as a freshman; and Nate CasaGrande who went 3-3, starting for most of his first year. Freshmen Simpson and Derek Haese (Littleton, CO/Dakota Ridge) will also compete for innings.
Finally, GW returns all five of its coaches. Head coach Tom Walter returns for his eighth season and associate head coach, pitching coach and recruiting coordinator Dennis Healy is in his fifth year. In their second seasons with the program are hitting coach Tag Montague, volunteer assistant Chris Ebrahimoff and strength coach Mike Volkmar.