Baseball Takes to the Diamonds This Weekend to Open the Season
PRINCETON, N.J. -- The 2013 Ivy League baseball season will be the first since 1995 that Joe Walsh will not stand at the top of the dugout for Harvard. The former Crimson head coach, who passed away in July, won five League titles during his 17 years at the helm. He will be missed.
The game must go on and it does for Harvard under the watch of Bill Decker, who spent 22 seasons as the head coach of the Trinity College baseball team. He is Trinity’s all-time winningest coach and was named ABCA National Coach of the Year in 2008. He will look to returning All-Ivy performers Jake McGuiggan (second-team selection at shortstop) and Kyle Larrow (honorable mention at third base) to lead the Crimson.
Seven of the eight teams kick off their seasons this weekend. Harvard face Bucknell and No. 22 Virginia in Charlottesville, Va., while Brown take on Nicholls State and No. 4 LSU in Baton Rouge, La. Princeton play a three-game set at Maryland, Penn takes on William & Mary, Columbia opens its season with four at Lamar, Cornell squares off against UMES and St. Peter’s at Princess Anne, Md. Yale opens its 2013 campaign against Army in Tampa, Fla., on March 9.
Cornell won its first-ever League championship last season and it hopes that the return of most of its pitching staff, including 2012 Rookie of the Year Kellen Urbon, will be enough to make it two in a row. Urbon was placed on the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) preseason Stopper of the Year watch list and the NCBWA preseason All-America third team. 2012 All-Ivy pitchers Connor Kaufmann (first team) and Brian McAfee (second team) also are back for the Big Red.
Dartmouth, which lost to Cornell in the Ivy League Championship
Series, returns unanimous first-team All-Ivy designated hitter
Ennis Coble, who batted .311 (42-for-135) with 24
runs, four doubles, one triple and 16 RBI in 2012. Junior first
baseman Dustin Selzer also is back for the Big
Green; he was named All-Ivy first team as well. Sophomore reliever
Thomas Olson, a second team honoree a year ago,
joined Cornell’s Urbon on the NCBWA preseason Stopper of the
Year watch list.
Princeton will be led by senior Zak Hermans, the 2012 Pitcher of the Year. He led the team in wins (six), earned run average (3.00), strikeouts (60), opposing batting average (.241) and innings pitched (63.0). Hermans was joined on last year’s first team by junior Alec Keller (utility).
Looking for its first League championship since 2007, Brown will be guided by a pair of second-team All-Ivy infielders in junior J.J. Franco (second base) and sophomore Nick Fornaca (third base). Yale returns junior utility player Cale Hanson, who earned second-team All-Ivy honors in 2012.
Columbia loses last season's Player of the Year, outfielder Dario Pizzano, but returns a trio of All-Ivy performers in senior first baseman Alex Black (second team) and senior pitcher Stefan Olson and senior outfielder Nick Ferraresi (Honorable Mention). Penn senior outfielder took home second-team All-Ivy honors last season and sophomore catcher Austin Bossart hopes to improve upon his Honorable Mention season of a year ago.