The College Baseball continues our series of interviews with head coaches from around the nation today with Binghamton head coach Tim Sinicki. He is entering his 18th season with the Bearcats as he has seen them transition from a Division 3 program into a Division 1 team. Binghamton made the school’s first appearance in the Division 1 NCAA Tournament last season after winning the America East postseason tournament.
1. Binghamton finished last season with a 30-22 overall record while going 13-7 in America East play as they made the program’s first appearance in the NCAA Division 1 Tournament including a victory over CAA Champion George Mason. What are your expectations for the 2010 squad?
The expectations of our players and coaching staff for the 2010 season are the same as in recent years … to compete for both the America East Conference regular-season and post-season tournament championships. Given the choice, we would obviously take the post-season tournament championship since that’s what gets you into the NCAA Championship. But winning the regular-season title is important because that allows you the opportunity to host the tournament which I believe can be a tremendous advantage.
2. Dave Ciocchi stepped right into the Bearcats lineup last season as a freshman and led the team with a .381 batting average. Do you see any freshmen making the same impact during the 2010 season?
Heading into last season I am not sure anyone expected Dave Ciocchi to have the impact he had on our program as a freshman. But that’s the beauty of freshmen, you just never know. I do think we have a few freshmen on this year’s team who have a chance to make a similar impact in 2010. On the mound right-handed pitcher Jay Lynch is competing for a spot in our weekend rotation. Jay is 6’2, 180-pounds with command of three pitches for strikes. If he learns to pitch at this level early on, Jay has a chance to be special right away. We also have a pair of freshman infielders who are competing for starting jobs in Jordon Smucker and Joel Stubbs. Both kids are solid defensively, very athletic, and swing it from the left side.
3. Junior outfielder Corey Taylor hit .340 with a team high 16 homers and 56 RBI after having a respectable freshman season. What makes Corey such a talented hitter?
From the day he stepped foot on campus Corey has really worked hard with our hitting coach Ryan Hurba and in the weight room as well. I think Corey has a great understanding of what his strengths are in the box and since he’s such a physical young man his strength allows him to get away with some things that others cannot. Corey is also a very confident young man and we all know that confidence can go a long way in this game.
4. Greg Lane departs the program after leading the team with seven saves last season. Who do you expect to fill into his role during 2010?
Replacing Greg will be difficult. It takes a special young man, which Greg was, to really embrace the closer role. You’ve got to be able to handle the pressure and enjoy coming into a situation with the game on the line. I do feel we have some good and talented options available to us in sophomores Alex Adami and Aaron Schuldt. Both young men worked as closers for their respective summer teams in ’09 and enjoyed a considerable amount of success. I think the closer role is something that will be "worked out" in the non-conference part of our schedule.
5. Binghamton returns two out of four weekend starters in James Giulietti and Mike Augliera. What pitchers do you see filling these spots right now?
As I mentioned earlier I think Jay Lynch has an inside track on one of those spots in the weekend rotation. The other spot is going to be a battle. Maybe one the guys who we expect to be a closer (Adami or Schuldt) will emerge. It could be sophomore Walker McKinven who started and pitched well against East Carolina University in last season’s NCAA Regional. Junior Morgan Smith is another option or possibly JUCO transfer (Fort Hays CC) Zach Juliano. The only thing I am sure about at this point is that we have options … and I really like those options.
6. Henry Dunn played the summer in the NECBL while Corey Taylor played in the Cal Ripken, Sr. Collegiate Baseball League just to name two players. How do you decide where to send your student athletes in the summer?
We sit down with all our players and discuss summer baseball during the first week or two of school in the fall semester. We try to educate them on the differences from league to league, ask them about where they would like to play in a perfect world, then give them our opinions on where we think they might fit in best. We feel like in recent years we’ve really done a good job establishing relationships with certain teams in leagues all over the country, but we are always looking to expand our contacts in order to give our players the best opportunities possible.
7. America East changed the scheduling format for the 2010 season with inter-divisional opponents facing off four times while intra-divisional opponents playing six times. What is your opinion on this move?
I like what the conference has done with baseball and the two divisions format. With Vermont dropping baseball after the ’09 season I thought it was important for the coaches to work with the conference administration to not only keep the conference competitive with the schedule, but to be creative and give it a different look as we move forward. I think our conference is as competitive as it’s ever been and I know that 2010 will be a fight to the end with all six schools having a realistic shot at advancing to the NCAA Championship.
The College Baseball Blog would like to thank Binghamton head coach Tim Sinicki to take some time out of his busy schedule to answer some questions for us. If any other coach would like to be featured in a future interview feel free to contact us by clicking here.