Baseball Opens 2010 Season at North Carolina
Feb. 18, 2010
The George Washington baseball team travels to Chapel Hill, NC, Friday to take on North Carolina in its first series of 2010. The Colonials, who return six starters and 21 letterwinners from last season, will look to make it back to the Atlantic 10 Championship this season.
GW is 2-9 in program against the Tar Heels, who open the 2010 season ranked as high as 11th in the national rankings.
North Carolina looks to return to the College World Series for the fifth straight year in 2010. The Tar Heels will be without Dustin Ackley, who was the 2nd pick in the 2009 MLB Draft to the Seattle Mariners. They are led by starter Matt Harvey who projects to be a high draft choice in the 2010 draft.
2010 GW Baseball Season Preview
The 2010 edition of George Washington University baseball will feature
a lot of new faces, in addition to the many current players who are
ready to step up and continue the tradition of Colonial baseball.
GW comes off a disappointing 22-33 season in 2009. A slow finish at
the end hurt the Colonials' A-10 standing despite a hot middle portion
of the season. The club, however, will return its three top hitters in Sean
Rockey, Tom Zebroski and Curtis Eward, and looks to further improve
on a good offense from a year ago. While the pitching staff lost 2009
ace Pat Lehman, who was picked by the Washington Nationals in last
year's draft, there are many newcomers and other returners who are
capable of filling his shoes.
The program has recorded 251 wins over the past eight seasons and has seen 23 players sign professional contracts. Heading into the 2010 season, the Colonials have a lot of professional baseball talent on the roster and will look to get back to the NCAA Tournament.
First-year pitching coach Tim Brown has some tough holes to fill in the weekend rotation with the departure of seven pitchers off last year's squad, including the 2009 Atlantic 10 pitcher of the year, Pat Lehman, who was drafted in the 13th round by the Washington Nationals, and Justin Dignelli, a 34th-round pick of the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Colonials are going to rely heavily on Eric Cantrell and Ryan LaPointe at the front end of the rotation. Cantrell, a junior from Oakton (VA) High School, has put together two solid years in the Buff and Blue, including a 5-2 sophomore year in 2009. He finished with a 4.46 ERA, allowing only 68 hits in 72.2 innings. LaPointe, a senior from Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire, was the Colonials go-to guy out of the bullpen last year. He racked up 55.2 innings in 22 appearances and finished with a 4-3 record with two saves while compiling a 4.69 ERA.
George Washington will look to a number of new pitchers to fill in the rotation. Newcomers Joe Richardson, a junior from Saddleback Community College, and freshmen Raj Dharmapal, Jeff Griffith and Brian Derner all had impressive fall seasons and will be relied upon either as starters or out of the bullpen.
Senior Bobby Lucas Jr. will also be a major contributor as a veteran left-hander who has seen and pitched in every situation possible. With a career strikeout-per-inning ratio of 1.15, Lucas can provide the Colonials with a power arm. Complementing Lucas out of the bullpen will be sophomore right-handers Marshall Seedorff, who made 13 appearances as a freshman, and Luke Mirabella, who finished with a 5.40 ERA in 10 appearances in 2009. Junior Tommy Gately is another power arm who will be relied upon to throw quality innings. Freshman Ryan Heinz (Episcopal High School, Jacksonville, FL), has a bright future and could become a go-to guy in 2010. Freshman Kenny O'Brien and sophomore Tom Kasenetz, who are both walk-ons, have the chance to provide GW with much-needed depth out of the bullpen. The Colonials' pitching staff also will be boosted by the addition of three two-way players. Sophomore Stephen Oswald will be making his debut on the mound after spending his freshman year as an outfielder. Freshmen right-handers Tyler McCarthy and Kevin Reagan will both see time on the mound in addition to their primary positions of outfield and first base, respectively.
The Colonials catching corps will rely on sophomore Ryan Thomas, who had a breakout year in 2009 as he hit .291 in 31 games. As good as he was offensively, Thomas established himself as a top of the line receiver.
Senior Will Cooper will miss the 2010 season due to an elbow injury he suffered during the Coastal Plains League playoffs at the end of the 2009 summer. Cooper and Thomas were going to push each other for a majority of the innings for the 2010 Colonials.
Cooper's injury opens the door for freshman Robbie Haben (Pine Castle Academy [FL]), to get some innings behind the plate. Haben was recruited as an infielder but proved himself as a catcher this fall. Haben had a productive fall offensively as well.
The infield provides the Colonials with the most depth and experience compared to any other position. As a group they have made improvements in all facets of their games compared to last season. The infield is led by shortstop Zebroski, a four-year starter, and Rockey, a returning All-American at second baseman. Also returning is third baseman Chris Holland. At first base, GW welcomes graduate student Chris Luick, who was a three-year starter at Lafayette, to join senior Eward. Zebroski, a Port Washington, NY, native, will finish this season in the top 10 in many of George Washington's career offensive categories. A career .326 hitter, Zebroski will anchor the infield. The senior is looking to bookend his career with A-10 honors.
Rockey, a reigning third-team All-American from Sammamish, WA, is coming off one of the greatest single seasons in Colonial history. Rockey hit .420 in 55 starts with 10 home runs and 60 RBIs while compiling a .504 on-base percentage.
Holland had the most productive year of his career as a junior, hitting .271 with 41 runs and 23 RBIs. Luick is a welcome surprise on the Foggy Bottom campus. The Lafayette graduate hit .316 with 35 stolen bases during his career while playing very good defense at first base. Eward has been used primarily as a DH throughout his career. He comes into his senior year carrying a career .307 batting average and has driven in 69 runs and scored 66 in 125 games.
The infield depth is provided by a young and talented group, including a pair of corner infielders, freshmen Paul Pakan and Kevin Reagan, and a pair of middle infielders, sophomore Ollie Mittag and freshman Justin Albright. Pakan (Tallmadge [OH] HS) will see time at third base and DH. Mittag and Albright, one of the most celebrated athletes in Thurmont (MD) High School history, will battle for playing time.
The corner outfield spots will have an open competition. McCarthy (Jupiter [FL] HS) has the inside track to be the Colonials' right fielder in 2010. Seniors Jon Chirumbolo and Brandon Gillette are battling to be first-time full-time starters in their final year on Foggy Bottom. Oswald is coming off a freshman year in which he provided the Colonials with a big left-handed bat off the bench late in games. Freshman Kyle Gelling (West Islip [NY] HS) will provide a left-handed hitter and depth at all three outfield positions.