Tribe baseball enters the 2007 season after a strong finish in 2006, when they won 10 of their final 13 games. With eight starting position players returning this year, including senior third baseman and all-conference candidate Greg Sexton, sophomore third baseman and 2006 all-CAA Rookie Team honoree Mike Sheridan, senior second baseman Brent McWhorter and junior left fielder Greg Maliniak, the team is prepared and ready for the season.
p. “We have a very talented team offensively, and we can use a lineup, one through nine, that has a good combination of speed and power. Coupled with an experienced unit defensively and a pitching staff that is young but talented, we have the opportunity to be very good,” Head Coach Frank Leoni said.
p. The team hit a rough patch against the North Carolina State University Wolfpack, falling last Friday afternoon in its season opener, 4-9. Junior pitcher Sean Grieve took the loss for the College on the hill. Offensively, the Tribe was led by Maliniak and McWhorter, who both had two hits a piece, and sophomore center fielder Ben Guez, who scored two runs. The College got on the board in the top of the fifth, scoring two runs on a Maliniak double to right center followed by a McWhorter single to center, and an error by N.C. State third baseman Ryan Howard with the bases loaded.
p. The second game in the three-game set proved a difficult contest for the Tribe, as the Wolfpack shut out the Tribe 0-23. N.C. State starting pitcher Eric Surkamp earned the win, while Mike LaFleur recorded the loss on the hill for the Tribe. After sending 16 batters to the plate in the first inning, the Wolfpack took a 12-0 advantage, putting the game out of reach early for the Tribe. Senior relief pitcher Warrick Staines pitched three innings in relief for the Tribe, giving up just two hits, two walks and one run. Although the College could not manage to score any runs, Sexton, Maliniak, McWhorter, sophomore right fielder Robbie Nickle, junior catcher Tim Park and junior designated hitter Aaron Hurwitz all recorded hits.
p. In the third and final game of the series against N.C. State, the Tribe had standout performances from Park, who earned two hits, an RBI and a run scored, and junior relief pitcher Pat Kantakevich, who held the Wolfpack scoreless in the final three innings. N.C. State ultimately earned the win, 6-3, with Tribe freshman starting pitcher Kevin Landry recording the loss. In the top of the third, the Tribe look its first lead of the series, 3-1, as Maliniak singled to load the bases. Park then followed with a RBI single and McWhorter with a RBI groundout.
p. The Tribe is back in action tomorrow for their home opener at Plumeri Park against Virginia Military Institute at 3 p.m.