CAA Weekend Preview

Every CAA team with the exception of Hofstra will engage in conference play this weekend. The Pride, along with Old Dominion and William & Mary, are the only three teams in the eleven team league with a losing record thus far.

Here’s a quick rundown of the action this weekend. (All series are three games unless noted).

Away team’s starters are listed first.

Northeastern (9-5)  at James Madison (11-8)

Probable Starters:  Ryan Quigley (1-1, 3.78) vs. Turner Phelps (3-0, 3.38); Jeff Thomson (1-2, 6.14) vs.  Alex Valadja (1-1, 6.63); Les Williams (0-0, 4.30) vs. Evan Scott (2-2 7.12).

Analysis: Friday’s pitching matchup has the potential to be a great one. Phelps is 11-0 in his JMU career and leads the CAA with 33 strikeouts on the season. Quigley is a legit top-of- the-line starter as well. The key for him is throwing strikes.  Last time out versus Iona he used his slider very effectively as an out pitch, racking up 10 strikeouts. The Huskies have a deep and talented staff, as indicated by  their 2.91 team ERA. Senior third baseman Mike Tamsin (.397-1-13) is one of the top pure hitters in the CAA and is only seven hits away from tying Chris Emanuele’s school record of 227. For the Dukes, left fielder Matt Browning (.392-2-17) has been hot lately and JMU  is hitting .322 as a team. One of the keys for Northeastern will be to string together  hits with runners on, something they have struggled at this season.

Delaware (10-6) at Towson (11-8)

Neither team has announced probable starters.

Analysis: Look for a lot of crooked numbers this weekend. Delaware is hitting a CAA-best .352, while Towson is second at .323 and ranks first with 34 home runs. The Blue Hens rank second in home runs with 29. Blue Hen third baseman Carlos Alonso leads the conference with a hefty .470 mark at the plate.  The Tigers have nine wins in their last eleven games and are led at the plate by center fielder Kevin Collins, who slugged three home runs Wednesday in a 16-8 win versus Yale. He is tops in the CAA with 26 RBI and tied for first with seven home runs to accompany a .380 batting average.

George Mason (14-3) at Old Dominion (5-11)

Kevin  Crum (2-1, 4.30) vs. Brett Harris (2-1, 3.00); Mike Modica (3-1 4.12) vs. Brady Burchill (0-1, 3.86); Dan Gerjets (2-1, 7.23) vs. Ben Tomchick (1-1, 1.71)

Analysis: The Patriots are on a ten game winning streak, led by catcher Chris Henderson’s .411 batting average.  Henderson is a superb defender as well.  The deadly duo of Scott Krieger (.328-7-21) and Justin Bour (.297-5-12) give George Mason wallop in the middle of the order. GMU has gotten solid pitching to complement their sluggers, posting a 3.81 team ERA. Shawn Griffith leads the team with eleven appearances and has a 1.10 ERA out of the ‘pen.  For ODU,  third baseman  Jake McAloose leads the team with a .397 batting average and Donnie Corsner (.353-3-17) has also been a force in the lineup.

Georgia State (12-6) at William & Mary (5-11)

Robinson Polanco (1-0, 4.15) vs. Cole Shain (1-0, 6.75);   Will Palmer (2-2, 3.38) vs. Jeremy Neustifter (1-1 8.04) ; Ryan Moore (2-1, 3.65) vs. Matt Davenport (3-1, 5.49).

Analysis:  Georgia State second baseman Bradley Logan (.281-0-15) is one of the top pure hitters in the CAA. Outfielder Matt Van Horn leads the Panthers in batting average (.426).  For the Tribe, outfielder Jeff Jones is hitting .345 while being successful on nine-of-ten steal attempts this year.

VCU (9-5) at UNC Wilmington (15-2, 3-0 CAA)

Neither team has announced probable starters.

Analysis: Ryan Crosby (3-0, 3.93) has been the Rams’ top starter thus far. On offense, they are led by  infielder Joe Van Meter (.418-1-11). The Seahawks swept Hofstra in their first CAA series of the season. UNCW has gotten solid pitching in the rotation from Daniel Cropper (3-0, 3.28) anf out of the bullpen from Steven Davis (3-0, 1.08).  Outfielder Evans Grayson (.354-1-20) checks in as the top hitter.

Vermont (0-11) at Hofstra (1-9).  This will be a four game series with double headers on Saturday and Sunday.

Probable starters for Hofstra: Brody Fontaine (0-2, 11.00), Scott A’Hara (0-0, 24.30), Rob Kambatovie (1-3, 7.25), Nick Panzarella 0-2, 13.11) Vermont has not announced any starters.

Analysis: Pitching has been at problem for both teams, as they both have team ERA’s over ten. Hofstra third baseman Matt Propkopowicz is the team’s main offensive threat (.359-1-14).