Friday, March 28, 2014

Weekend College Baseball Conference Preview: March 28-30

By SAMUEL BOTWINICK | Staff Writer
March 27, 2014, 6:15 p.m.
@avdbkr20samuel

Four of the five Big Five Baseball teams in Philadelphia will play against conference opponents this weekend.  The games begin on Friday and continue through Sunday.  Below is our preview of each series.

Temple (7-10 overall, 2-1 in AAC) at UCF (14-12 overall, 3-0 in AAC)

About TempleThe Owls travel to Orlando for a three-game series with the red-hot UCF Knights, who are currently on a five-game winning streak.  This will be the first time that Temple plays UCF as part of the AAC.  The Owls are led offensively by Robert Amaro and Derek Peterson, who together make up 25 of the team's 68 RBI.  Temple's weakness has been on defense, where they have committed 30 errors as a team, which is 18 more errors than their opponents (12).  Matt Hockenberry has had a stellar season on the mound for the Owls, leading the team in innings pitched, having the second most strikeouts (18), and lowest ERA per innings pitched (2.10 in 34 1/3 innings).

About UCFEric Barber is the main contributor on offense for the Knights with already 24 RBI this season.  After losing to Central Connecticut on March 16, UCF has not lost a game.  The Knights have one of the hottest pitchers on the mound for them, Eric Skoglund.  The junior is having an unbelievable season, sporting an incredible 3-0 record to go along with an equally impressive 1.76 ERA, and has 38 K's through 46 innings.

Series Probables for Temple and UCF
Friday: Matt Hockenberry (3-0, 2.10 ERA) vs. Eric Skoglund (3-0, 1.76 ERA)
Saturday: Preston Hill (0-3, 5.40 ERA) vs. Tanner Olson (2-1, 3.43 ERA)
Sunday: TBA vs. TBA

Rhode Island (4-16 overall, 0-3 in A-10) at La Salle (4-18 overall, 1-2 in A-10)

About Rhode Island:  This is the first time this season that the Rams will face the Explorers.  Rhode Island is struggling this year, and is currently on a three-game losing streak.  During those games, their offense combined for three runs altogether, and their team batting avergae is .222, which is 61 points lower than their opponents (.283).  The Rams' team ERA is almost double of the A-10's ERA (4.54 vs. 2.52).

About La Salle:  The story of the Explorers this season has been the dramatic contrast between their hitting and pitching.  Their hitting has six of the nine hitters in the starting lineup batting above .300.  The pitching staff, on the other hand, has just two hurlers who have under a 4.00 ERA.  The numbers don't say it all, though.  Shane Hollman is a having a quietly solid season for the Explorers, punching out 24 batters in 26 1/3 innings, having a 3.76 ERA, and posting a 2-1 record.  On the offensive side of the ball, Mark Williams is coming off a Big 5 Baseball Player of the Week award  for batting .375 for the week, with two homers, two doubles, and six RBI.

Series Probables for Rhode Island and La Salle
Friday: Shane Hollman (2-1, 3.76 ERA) vs. Ty Sterner (0-2, 6.89 ERA)
Saturday: Joey Ravert (1-0, 3.32 ERA) vs. Steve Moyers (0-3, 2.91 ERA)
Sunday: Shawn O'Neil (1-5, 4.71 ERA) vs. Lou Distasio (1-1, 4.26 ERA)

St. Bonaventure (4-13 overall, 0-3 in A-10) at St. Joseph's (10-7 overall, 2-1 in A-10)

About St. Bonaventure:  The Bonnies will visit Philadelphia to play the best team in the Big 5, Saint Joseph's.  Neither team has played each other this year.  St. Bonaventure has struggled with finding any sort of consistency this season, sweeping Ohio in a four game series, but losing the rest of their games.  The Bonnies are powered on offense by Dylan Dunn, who leads the team in average (.338) and RBI (17).  Asa Johnson is having an under the radar season on the mound for St. Bonaventure, possessing a 2.30 ERA in 27 1/3 innings.

About Saint Joseph's:  Saint Joseph's has been consistent in the past week, winning three out of their last four games.  Neither Brian O'Keefe nor Tommy Cunningham can be kept out of the RBI column.  Combined, their RBI totals are more than the rest of the team's 35-33.  On the mound, Daniel Thorpe has had an incredible year thus far, leading the Hawks in ERA (1.89), record (3-0), innings pitched (33 1/3), and strikeouts (27).  The Hawks have not yet announced their starting pitchers for the three game weekend series.

Series Probables for St. Bonaventure and St. Joseph's
Friday: Asa Johnson (1-2, 2.30 ERA) vs. TBA
Saturday: Connor Grey (1-4, 4.91 ERA) vs. TBA
Sunday: Joel Rosencrance (2-2, 3.86 ERA) vs. TBA

Yale (7-9 overall, 0-0 in Ivy) at Penn (5-10 overall, 0-0 in Ivy)

About Yale:  Yale will travel to Philadelphia for a quick two back-to-back game series with Penn in the Ivy League's version of a conference tournament.  The Bulldogs have had a misleading season, winning in spurts, but losing their last three out of four games to Holy Cross.  Jacob Hunter has had a solid season at the plate, notching 12 RBI in 16 games, while hitting .317.  Yale's struggles on the mound (6.29 ERA) are more than double that of the Ivy League average (4.27).

About Penn:  Penn's issues this year have come on the road.  The Quakers are 2-0 at home, but are 4-8 on the road.  Also, Penn's record doesn't tell the complete picture.  The Quakers lost the majority of their early games, but have won four of their last five games.  Jeff McGarry, Mitch Montaldo, and Ryan Mincher's combined RBI and home run total is 27 and nine.  Penn doesn't shy away from the long ball, hitting out 15 as a team compared to the league average of eight.  Connor Cuff has been virtually unhittable on the mound this season, posting an even 1.00 ERA, while striking out 22 batters in 27 innings.  Neither team has announced its starting pitchers for the double-header.

Series Probables for Yale and Penn
Sunday: TBA vs. TBA
Sunday: TBA vs TBA 

- The Philadelphia Baseball Review is the top baseball news blog in Philadelphia, providing news coverage and analysis of the 2014 Phillies and baseball in the Philadelphia-region.

0 comments: