FROM CBB NEWS SOURCE
TAMPA – Under the guidance of fourth year head coach and reigning BIG EAST Coach of the Year Lelo Prado, the University of South Florida baseball team opens its fall practice schedule with some lofty expectations for the 2010 season.
"We are very excited to get started together as a team," said Prado. "Everyone looks bigger, stronger and faster. This group has a lot of veteran players that have played one or two years here and I expect to see a big improvement. We are just glad it is here."
After coming up a half game short of winning their first regular season BIG EAST title in 2009, the Bulls return a pair of 2009 freshman All-America selections in shortstop Sam Mende and first baseman Todd Brazeal, a proven ace in Randy Fontanez who was a 2009 All-BIG EAST selection and 2009 BIG EAST Batting Champ Junior Carlin, among others on a veteran laden team. USF returns all but five players from a team that went 34-25, which tied for the second-most wins in the past 12 seasons of USF baseball, and 18-7 in conference play, which was the most conference wins since joining the BIG EAST.
USF will practice four days a week starting on Tuesday evenings and will then play intrasquad games on the weekend leading up to the 2009 USF Fall World Series which will be held November 5-7 at Red McEwen Field.
Recently, Prado welcomed 10 talented newcomers to his baseball program. The class of 2009-10 includes: Chad Taylor, SS/P, Jefferson HS, Tampa, Fla.; Jimmy Falla, OF/1B, Jesuit HS, Jesuit, Fla.; Ray Delphey, OF/P, Alonso HS, Tampa, Fla.; Austin Adams, P, Zephyrhills HS, Zephyrhills, Fla. Anthony Diaz, OF, University HS, Palm Harbor, Fla.; Jake Lowe, P, HB Plant HS, Tampa, Fla. ; Eric Sim, C, Colby Community College, British Colombia; Roberto Sanchez, INF, Indian River Community College, Vero Beach, Fla.; Nick Confronti, OF/SS, Cardinal Mooney HS, Sarasota, Fla.; Jimmy Moran, P, CCBC- Catonsville, Kississime, Fla.
While some of the members of the team trained over the summer here in Tampa at the USF Athletic Facility, a number of Bulls made some noise in the various summer leagues around the country and were placed on Baseball America’s top prospects lists for 18 different summer college leagues and Team USA. Brazeal, and newcomers Eric Sim and Jimmy Moran were listed as three of the top 220 prospects from collegiate summer leagues.
2009 proved to be a successful year not only on the field for the Bulls as they were just as impressive in the classroom as they were on the field in bringing home the 2008-09 BIG EAST Team Academic Excellence Awards for their efforts. For an encore the team was then added another recognition for their work in the classroom. This time the award came from inside the USF Athletic department as the Bulls accepted the 2009 Provost Cup for Academic Improvement, which will be awarded annually for the most improved GPA among any USF athletic team, at the USF Athletics Welcome Back dinner on recently.
The Bulls improved to an impressive 3.2 team GPA in the fall of 2008 then followed it up by posting a 3.21 GPA this past spring.