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RUSSMATT CENTRAL FLORIDA INVITATIONAL
The annual RussMatt Central Florida Invitational hosts over 200 colleges across all divisions for their Spring Break trips. Suffolk's tournament field features four doubleheaders and three nine-inning clashes with new and old foes.
Friday, March 8
Saturday, March 9
Sunday, March 10
Monday, March 11
Wednesday, March 13
Thursday, March 14
Saturday, March 15
Lake Myrtle Park Field 1
Lake Myrtle Park Field 3
Osceola Heritage Park Stadium
Osceola Hertiage Park Stadium
Lake Myrtle Park Field 4
Chain of Lakes Park Field 1
In a year made-up of peaks and valleys, the 71st edition of Suffolk baseball was once again one for the record books. After the Rams secured the program's 1000th victory, an 11-2 nightcap win at Norwich, they swept Saint Joseph's (Maine) for the first time since 2008 to lock up the conference's regular-season title, a first under the leadership of Anthony Del Prete. From there, the blue-and-gold remained on cruise control to hoist the GNAC trophy for the fourth straight season and a league-record eighth time overall.
Brady Chant was the center of Suffolk's success in 2018, quite literally, as he put together an errorless season over 44 games played in centerfield to become the program's first ABCA/Rawlings Gold Glove recipient. He led the Rams in nearly every category and capped off his collegiate campaign as one of the best to wear the blue-and-gold, appearing in the Rams' record books for triples (25), total bases (362), at bats (687), hits (233), doubles (43) and stolen bases (68). The all-region first-team honoree by both D3Baseball.com and the NEIBA in conjunction with ABCA and Rawlings, respectively, anchored an all-league contingent of 11 as the conference's Player of the Year led by the league's Coach of the Year.
OUT WITH THE OLD, IN WITH THE NEW
With the graduation of six, Suffolk's 31-man roster has a fresh look made up of seven seniors, four juniors, 11 sophomores and nine freshmen. Twenty-one Rams return from the 2018 GNAC Champion squad, while 11 newcomers – 10 true rookies and one junior transfer – join the ranks. Position wise, Suffolk boasts 16 fielders – eight infielders, four outfielders and a quartet of catchers – and 15 hurlers – 13 exclusive and two position pitchers with 11 RHP and four southpaws.
Suffolk has gaps in the outfield with the loss of Brady Chant and Seth Coiley to graduation, however, Will Hopkins (.265/.376/.408)) looks to pick up right where he left off. Zack Aresty and Connor Troio bring experience back into the fold and Logan Heckman looks to add depth.
The Rams have a deep pen this season as 15 total pitchers populate the Rams' roster: 11 righties, four southpaw. Seniors Charles Batchelder, Kevin Sinatra, Worth Walrod, who missed last season due to injury, and Tyler Zell look to hold down Suffolk's starting rotation with sophomore arms Parker Browne adding experienced depth. CJ Barrett, EJ Birch, George Breslin, Ryan Garton, Michael Muscarella, Steven Rossi, Robert Shaw and Casey Sullivan will each make their collegiate debuts on the bump in blue-and-gold.
EXPERIENCE IN THE INFIELD AND CATCHER
All four backstops from a year ago will be back behind the plate in sophomores Andrew Ashworth, Shane Lake, Steven Shamnoski and senior Tommy Shimchak, who will gear up for his final season in blue-and-gold.
Every every day starter from Suffolk's 2018 conference championship run – Blase Cormier (first), Trevor Lee (second), Rich Gilbride (short) and Tim Brigham - return to the line-up, three of who picked up all-league recognition for their efforts last season.
MORE READING: Baseball Names Three Seniors as 2019 Captains
ON THE BENCH
Anthony Del Prete was named the sixth coach in Suffolk baseball history in 2015 and enters his fifth season as the Rams' head coach. In four seasons as skipper, Del Prete has guided Suffolk to the program's first-ever back-to-back GNAC Championships in 2015 and 2016, respectively, and followed that with a threepeat performance in 2017. The blue-and-gold alum kept his streak going in 2019 when the Rams lifted the conference trophy for the fourth straight season.
WE'RE GOING BACK-TO-BACK-TO-BACK-TO-BACK
Last May, the blue-and-gold lifted the GNAC Trophy for the fourth consecutive campaign, marking a first in program history, and Suffolk's league-leading eighth title overall.
The Rams look to keep the streak alive this season and tie a league-mark for the most consecutive conference crowns (five), which was set by Suffolk's rival Saint Joseph's (Maine) from 2010-14, and the blue-and-gold was picked to do so by the conference's nine head coaches in the 2019 GNAC Coaches' Preseason Poll.
Since 2000, Suffolk has eight conference tournament wins (2000, 2002, 2005, 2009, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018) on its resume, the most among its conference counterparts.
RAMS PICKED TO DO IT AGAIN BY GNAC COACHES
|2019 GNAC BASEBALL PRESEASON COACHES' POLL|
2. St. Joseph's (Maine)
3. Johnson & Wales
4. Anna Maria
6. Albertus Magnus
7. Colby Sawyer
|2018 GNAC RECORD
MORE READING: Baseball Projected GNAC Favorites in Preseason Poll
A LOOK AT THE 2019 SLATE
Suffolk's 40-game schedule centers around its 16-contest conference slate with the 72nd season's first pitched scheduled to take place in the Sunshine State at the RussMatt Central Florida Invitational March 8-15. After the Rams' nine-day Spring Training trip, the team heads back to New England to battle regional rivals, before turning its weekend attention to league action.
SCOUTING THE FLORIDA FIELD
Derek Lefebvre's bat leads the way for the Cougars, with his four hits, one home run, and team-high four RBIs with one run scored. The everyday starter is hitting .364 and slugging .636. Andrew Thibault has put together a stat line of .375/.444/.500 with three hits.
Cal Slepkow holds the Cougars lone win on the hill after pitching six strong innings with nine strikeouts, while only giving up one hit.
INSIDE THE SERIES
- Suffolk has dominated the all-time series with Clark to own a 31-8 record versus the Cougars.
- The Rams and Cougars will clash for the first time in the Anthony Del Prete era.
Ross Gobiewski has played in all four of Wentworth's contest this season, leading the way at the plate, hitting .538, putting together a .563 on base percentage, with seven hits and seven RBIs. Jake Smith has come a team-best four times, while bringing in six runs on seven hits in 13 at bats.
Leo Coehlo (7.0 IP, 9Ks, 0.0 ERA) is the most experienced hurler for the Leopards with one start under his belt. Ryan Obin (6.0 IP, 10Ks, 1.50 ERA) and Matt Perconti (6.0 IP, 8Ks, 1.50 ERA) also pitched well in their season debuts.
INSIDE THE SERIES
- Since 1999, Suffolk commands the all-time series with Wentworth, 12-3.
- The Rams will clash with the Leopards under Anthony Del Prete's guidance for the first-time.
- Suffolk and Wentworth renew a rivalry, meeting for the first time since 2011.
- The blue-and-gold have won three straight matchups with the Leopards including a 7-2 decision in the team's last clash, May 11, 2011.
RAIDERS REVIEW – HOME PAGE – SCHEDULE – STATS
Mount Union will begin its 2019 campaign in Florida on March 7 against Widener and will play four games before facing the blue-and-gold in a doubleheader Sunday, March 10.
The Raiders finished the 2018 season with a 21-16 record and will return two key outfielders that saw action in over 20 games last year.
Senior outfielder Nate Owen is coming off a season where he notched 36 hits and 11 stolen bases, good for second on the team. Sophomore Nathan Duliba joins him after batting .347, the highest of any returner, with 25 hits and six RBIs.
INSIDE THE SERIES
- Suffolk and Mount Union will meet for the first time.
OWLS OUTLOOKS – HOME PAGE – SCHEDULE – STATS
Westfield State pulled the curtain on its 2019 slate with a 6-5 victory over Western New England March 3 and will take the diamond for the first time in Florida March 9 against Rhode Island College.
Catcher Jake Gibb led the way at the plate for the Owls, finishing the season opener with a 2-for-3 effort with two RBIs, while Michael Cruz went 2-for-5 with a pair of RBIs as well.
Shane Bogli earned the win as he threw 1.2 innings and allowed just one hit. John Gestakas threw two clean innings of relief with three strikeouts and Troy Saulnier followed suit with one inning scoreless inning to earn the save.
INSIDE THE SERIES
- Suffolk sits 2-6 all-time versus Westfield State after falling to the Owls in a twinbill last year in Florida.
- The Rams look to snap a four-game skid versus the Owls.
- The blue-and-gold's last win over Westfield came in a 15-4 decision March 16, 2013.
- Suffolk is 0-4 against the Owls in the Anthony Del Prete era.
TIGERS TID BITS – HOME PAGE – SCHEDULE – STATS
Rochester got in three games in Virginia before heading to Florida. After being swept by Frostburg State in the opening twinbill on March 2, the Tigers defeated St. Mary's College of Maryland 12-7 the following day.
The Tigers will play three games prior to taking on the Rams Wednesday, March 13.
In the first three games Daniel Capra hit the ball well, leading the team with a .600 average with six hits and four RBIs to go along with a .800 slugging percentage. Daniel Zeglen and Kyle Terzini have also had solid starts, tallying three and two RBIs respectively.
Rochester has used a new arm in each of its three outings this year. Stevie Branche brings in the best ERA (3.00) with at least 5.0 innings of experience with seven strikeouts.
INSIDE THE SERIES
- Suffolk is 1-0 in the all-time series with RIT after taking down the Tigers, 2-1, in the foe's first-ever meeting, March 14, 2017.
- The Rams only meeting with RIT came in with Anthony Del Prete on Suffolk's sidelines.
EVERYTHING 'BOUT EAGLES – HOME PAGE – SCHEDULE – STATS
Juniata lifts the lid on its 2019 slate in Florida on March 10 against Loras and will play four contests before taking on the Rams Thursday, March 14.
The Eagles finished the 2018 campaign with an 11-26 record and will return four players that saw action in least 30 games last season.
Junior Adam Kipp anchors the infield and is coming off a season where he batted a team-high .355 with 33 hits 17 RBI and a .406 on base percentage. Senior Devyn Carpenter will hold down the lead off spot and left field after starting all 37 games last season and producing 26 runs and 17 RBIs.
INSIDE THE SERIES
- Suffolk will tangle with Juniata for the first time.
FALCONS FACTS – HOME PAGE – SCHEDULE – STATS
Fitchburg State started things in the Bay State with a 5-0 win with Salve Regina and a doubleheader against Curry, which it split to head to the Sunshine State 2-1. The Falcons will open their RussMatt action Saturday, March 9 and have five contests prior to facing the Rams in a twinbill Friday, March 15.
Matthew Pingitore and Brendan Ferrell have been the most potent at the plate through three games this season. The former has four hits, which brought in two runs, on a .500 connection rate from the dish and has scored a squad-best four. The latter, meanwhile, is hitting .455 with five hits to his credit including one double. The freshman pitcher has plated a team-high six runs.
The Falcons have used six arms through three games this season. Kyle Nocera (2.0 IP, 9.00 ERA, 2 Ks), Richard Sharp (7.2 IP, 0.00 ERA, 6 Ks) and Aidan Ward (4.0 IP, 4.50 ERA, 2 Ks) each earned the nod once for Fitchburg.
INSIDE THE SERIES
- The Rams are 15-5 all-time against Fitchburg State.
- The Falcons have defeated the blue-and-gold in back-to-back battles.
- Suffolk looks for its first win over FSU since a 7-1 decision March 15, 2012.
- The Rams faced Fitchburg once with Anthony Del Prete as head coach and were shutout, 7-0, March 14, 2015.
WHAT'S TO COME?
Suffolk will waste no time once its back in Boston as it is set to entertain MIT in its home opener Tuesday, March 19 at 4 p.m. at East Boston Memorial Park.