CAA Weekend Preview

No. 30 UNC Wilmington (17-7, 5-1) at George Mason (21-5, 4-2).
No doubt the series of the weekend in the CAA. UNC Wilmington is currently projected to be the lone CAA team in the NCAA tournament.
The host Patriots will look to continue their nation-best 17 game home winning streak. GMU’s pitching staff has been one of their strengths as the team ranks second in the CAA and 38th nationally with a 3.83 ERA. The bullpen has been particularly impressive, posting a collective 2.31 ERA in 93 2/3 innings. Catcher Chris Henderson (.445-5-23) is second in the conference in batting average, while first baseman Scott Krieger (.343-9-31) leads the nation in career home runs. The Seahawks rank right behind the Patriots in ERA, checking in at 4.12. Freshman Steven Davis (3-0, 0.75, 3 sv) has been spectacular out of the bullpen in his fourteen appearances. Second baseman Ben Thielsen (.338) is the Seahawk’s leading hitter.
The Patriots’ Kevin Crum (3-2, 4.50) will face UNCW’s Daniel Cropper (3-1, 5.46) 3 p.m. Friday in the series opener. Other pitching matchups have not been announced.


William & Mary (10-15, 2-4) at Northeastern (12-9, 3-3)

The Huskies open the home portion of their CAA schedule with the Tribe coming to Friedman Diamond. Forecasted rain for Friday makes it likely the teams will play a double header Saturday.
If the Huskies are make a run at the CAA tournament for the first time since 2006, they need a more consistent effort from their offense. The team’s deep pitching staff has a league-best 3.59 ERA, but the offense is hitting a league-worst .263. Freshman Andrew Leenhouts (1.54) is one pitcher to keep an eye on as the season progresses. For the Tribe, outfielder Jeff Jones (.371, 18 steals) will look to wreck havoc on the basepaths.

Probable pitchers: (W&M listed first)
Friday: Cole Shain (1-1 8.46) vs. Ryan Quigley (2-2, 3.41)
Saturday: Kevin Landry (0-3, 4.66) vs. Jeff Thomson (2-3, 5.54)
Sunday: Jeremy Neustifter (1-1, 7.16) vs. Les Williams, (0-0, 4.30)

Georgia State (17-8, 2-1) at Delaware (16-8, 4-2)
Georgia State has started the season with the best record through 25 games in school history. They’ll travel to a hot-hitting Blue Hen squad that leads the CAA with a lofty .332 team batting average. Delaware has five players hitting .340 or better, including third baseman Carlos Alonso (.400-3-21) and right fielder Bill Merckler (.373-11-37). The Panthers have gotten strong pitching from their top two weekend starters: Robinson Polanco (1-0, 3.68) and Will Palmer (2-2, 2.90). GSU hasn’t lost any of Polanco’s starts thus far.

Probable pitching matchups
Friday: Polanco vs. Brian Rorick (2-0, 5.35)
Saturday: Palmer vs. Brad Miller (3-2, 5.57)
Sunday: Ryan Moore (3-1, 5.94) vs. Rich O’Donald (2-2, 4.64)


VCU (11-10, 1-2) at Hofstra (5-15, 1-5)

Third baseman Joe Van Meter (.398-1-20) leads the Rams in hitting and is six-for-six in stolen base attempts. Ryan Crosby (3-1, 5.19) leads VCU in starts and ERA. For the Pride, right fielder Mark Stuckless is hitting an even .400 from his leadoff spot. Hofstra will trot out Rob Kumbatovic (2-4, 6.45), Brody Fontaine (0-4, 8.57), and Nick Panzarella (0-2, 8.34) for the three game set. VCU has not announced their rotation

Old Dominion (8-16, 2-4) at James Madison (15-13, 3-3)
James Madison was picked to defend its CAA title, but the Dukes have lost five of their last six games. First baseman Trevor Knight (.404-6-24) and center fielder Matt Townsend (.346-10-29) are JMU’s top bats. ODU has struggled as well, losing four of its last six .

Probable pitching matchups (ODU starter listed first):
Friday: Brett Harris (3-2, 4.21) vs. Turner Phelps (5-0, 4.72)
Saturday: Brady Burchill (1-2, 4.61) vs. Alex Valadjia (2-2, 6.15)
Sunday: Ben Tomchick (1-3, 2.97) vs. Evan Scott (2-2, 7.01)

Towson (14-13, 3-3) has the weekend off.