Mount St. Mary's Baseball Opens 2012 Season on Friday at the RussMatt Invitational on Friday
The Mount St. Mary's baseball team opens the 2012 season with a nine-game trip to Winter Haven, Fla. The Mount will take on Saint Louis in the opening four games of the trip, follow with a four-game series against St. Bonaventure, and end the week with a game against Bowling Green.
MOUNT UPDATE: Mount St. Mary's is hoping to rebound from a rough season in 2011. The Mount finished 16-35 overall and was ninth in the Northeast Conference with a 7-25 league record. The Mount was right in the thick of the NEC race with a 12-13 overall record and a 6-7 mark in the NEC after a 3-2 win over CCSU, but a 17-game losing streak derailed the hopes of a playoff season. Junior catcher Mark Quaranta is the top returnee in the lineup after hitting .301 with nine doubles, three home runs and 23 RBI last season. On the mound, Vincent Molesky was 1-5 with a 5.72 ERA in 50.1 innings of work in 2011.
THIS WEEK'S OPPONENTS: The Mount's first opponent, Saint Louis, is 1-3 on the season, with the Billikens posting a team ERA of 3.03, in those games. Starters James Norwood (0.00), Alex Alemann (1.42) and Clay Smith (1.93) all have ERAs under 2.00. Five SLU pitchers made an appearance last weekend without allowing an earned run. St. Bonaventure opens its season on Friday while Bowling Green is 0-2 on the year, including a 6-1 loss to Saint Louis.
ALL-TIME SERIES: The Mountaineers and Saint Louis will be meeting for the first time on Friday. The Mount is 3-4 all-time against St. Bonaventure with the last meeting coming in 2009. The Bonnies have won three in a row against the Mount while all seven meetings have come in Florida. The Mount and Bowling Green have split two meetings in Florida. The Mount earned a 3-1 win in 2006 while the Falcons defeated the Mount, 16-4, last season.
PRESEASON PICKS: The Mountaineers were tabbed to finish in sixth place in the annual Northeast Conference Preseason Coaches Poll. Monmouth was picked first, followed by defending champion Sacred Heart, Central Connecticut St., Bryant, LIU Brooklyn, the Mount, Wagner, Quinnipiac and Fairleigh Dickinson.
OPENING DAY: The Mount will be looking to win its season opener for the first time since 2006 on Friday against Saint Louis. The Mount has dropped five consecutive season openers since a 7-0 win at Maryland-Eastern Shore on Feb. 22, 2006. Since moving to NCAA Division I in 1989, the Mountaineers are 4-19 in season openers. This will be the earliest season opener since a 13-10 loss at Duke on Feb. 10, 2007.
ABOUT THE INFIELD: Head coach Scott Thomson has plenty of experience returning in the infield, but some of the players have moved positions. Third baseman Michael Foster hit .256 with 23 RBI in 42 games (40 starts) as the Mount's second baseman last year. Brandon Scott moves over the second base from shortstop. Scott hit .254 with a team-high 14 steals in 39 games (37 starts) in 2011. Josh Winter is back at first base for the Mount, hoping to rebound from a rough junior season. Winter hit .194 with just seven RBI for the Mount last season. He is a career .284 hitter with seven home runs, 24 doubles and 71 RBI in 130 career games played. Nick Walker takes over at second base for the Mount. The sophomore hit .247 with seven doubles in 34 games (20 starts) in 2011.
THE OUTFIELD: Senior Tom Healy, sophomore Sam Nott and freshman Ryan Owens are expected to start in the outfield for the Mount in 2012. Healy has appeared in 58 games for the Mount, posting a .245 average, two home runs and 19 RBI. Nott played in 35 games with 25 starts for the Mount last season, hitting .256 with two home runs and 10 RBI.
FEIGL BACK: Senior left-hander Brady Feigl returns to the Mount lineup this season after missing the 2011 campaign due to injury. Feigl has made 16 starts in 29 career appearances at the Mount, striking out 124 batters in 113.1 innings of work.
HEAD COACH SCOTT THOMSON: Scott Thomson is entering his 15th season at the helm of the Mount baseball program. Thomson led the Mount to its only NCAA Tournament appearance in 2008 after the Mount captured the NEC Tournament title. Thomson has 262 career wins at the Mount, including leading the team to a school-record 35 wins and a share of the NEC regular season title in 2007.