All posts by Brian Foley

Brian Foley is the founder and Lead Editor of College Baseball Daily since its inception in 2005. He has covered two CWS, multiple NCAA Baseball Regionals, and other special events across the country. In addition to his duties with College Baseball Daily, he has covered games for Inside Lacrosse and been featured in USA Today, Wall Street Journal among other publications. He can be contacted by email at editor at collegebaseballdaily.com and followed on Twitter @BFoley82.

Kent State Q and A



We recently had a chance to have a Question and Answer session with Kent State Head Coach Scott Stricklin. He is entering his third season with the Golden Flashes. He has also been an assistant coach with Georgia Tech under former Kent State Head Coach Danny Hall for the 1998 and 1999 season as a volunteer assistant coach before moving to Vanderbilt where he worked as the pitching coach for two seasons. He then went back to Georgia Tech in July of 2001 where he stayed until July of 2004 when moved on to become the Head Coach at Kent State.

1. Andrew Davis had a great year batting .376 in 56 games last season but Kent State lost most of their position players. What players have stepped up to fill these holes?

We lost a lot of offense off of last year’s club. There is no question that losing Emmanuel Burriss, Joe Tucker, Drew Saylor, Kurt Eichorn, and Todd Balduf will raise some serious questions about our offensive capabilities. However, we had several freshman that got significant playing time last year. We expect Brad Winter, Chris Tremblay, Ryan Mitchell and Jason Patton to all step up and be leaders. Greg Rohan sat out last year due to an injury and he should hit in the middle of our order. Junior college transfer Doug Sanders will hit near the top of the order and we expect big things from him as well. Andrew Davis is the back bone of our team and he will hit in the three hole. Will Vazquez is our only other senior position player and he will be our everyday catcher. Freshmen Jared Bartholomew, Brandon White, and Anthony Gallas should contribute as well.

2. Kent State returns most of the pitching staff from last year including starters Alan Morrison and John Pacella. They also return a solid closer in Ryan Davis who had 14 saves in 2006. Are there any players expected to compete for a weekend spot in the rotation?

There is no question that our strength will be our pitching staff. We did lose Chad Wagler who was our number one starter a year ago but we feel like we have a lot more depth in year’s past. Our weekend rotation is still question because we are waiting to see how Chris Carpenter and Evan Smith come back from injury. Carpenter was a 7th round draft choice out of high school and looks like he is returning to that form. Evan Smith has been in and out of our rotation for the last three years. Steven Ross has been impressive early on and will be our number one starter to begin the season and I see no reason why that will change. JJ Pacella has been very consistent for us and he will be in the mix as well. We also have Morrison, Dominique Rodgers, Steven Davis, and freshman Kyle Smith competing for a weekend starting role. Should be interesting to see who steps up the next couple of weeks.

Our bull pen will be very strong as we return all of our key components from last year. Ryan Davis was outstanding for us in the closer’s role and Reid Lamport, Jason Seelman, and Rodgers are all back as set-up guys. When you add freshman Robert Sabo, Jon Pokorny, and Brad Stillings to that mix, we feel very good about what our pitching staff can accomplish this season. Another pleasant surprise has been Ryan Steele. He is a converted catcher who has dominating stuff. he just needs to gain some more experience on the mound.

3. Scott, What do you think is the biggest difference between coaching at Kent State when compared to other schools you have been at like Georgia Tech and Vanderbilt?

The are certainly some differences between Kent State and Georgia Tech and Vanderbilt. The biggest difference is probably on the recruiting side. At Tech and Vandy, we recruited on a national scale while at Kent State, we focus on the talent in the state of Ohio. There is also the weather factor. We practice in our indoor fieldhouse until we can get outside. The ACC and SEC schools are outside when they begin practice in January. Obviously, the ACC and SEC are tougher conferences than the MAC. However, the programs in the Mid-American Conference have all made increased commitments to baseball and I think there is no doubt that we are improving as a whole. We have new stadiums at Central Michigan, Ohio University, Miami of Ohio, and Kent State. Look for the MAC to get two teams in the NCAA tournament very soon. When we get that accomplished, we need to find a way to get to a super regional. That will go a long way toward earning more respect for our conference nation wide.

4. The uniform start date goes into effect next season, How will that affect your team in the future? In 2007, you will not have a home game until March 20th which is over a month into your season.

The start date really will not affect us much. This year we started practice on January 23rd indoors. Next year we will begin February 1st. We move our opening weekend back one week. What many northern schools are looking to do in the future is to play four game series or tournaments on early season weekends. I think you will find the southern schools receptive to this because they will have to add a lot of mid week games to their schedules if they do not. Currently, most southern schools like to spread their games out so they are only playing one mid week game. It really puts a lot of strain on your pitching staff when you consistently are playing five games per week. The big difference is that mid-week games do not happen up north until mid March at the earliest. The southern schools can get some mid week games in right away.

5. What team in the MAC will provide the biggest challenge for your team this season?

The MAC is a toss up this year. There are several teams that will contend for the title. Central Michigan returns the most form last year and is the pre season favorite. Miami (OH) has a couple of very good arms in their starting rotation that are capable of beating anyone. Eastern Michigan has the reigning pitcher of the year in Jeff Fischer pitching for them on Fridays and Western Michigan has freshman All American, Ethan Hollingsworth, returning to the mound for them. Ball State is in the same position as us. We both lost a lot of offense and we need some young guys to step up.

6. What player or coach have you enjoyed working with the most?

That’s a tough one. It’s difficult to single out one individual in particular. However, one player that really stands out is Jonathan Douillard from Vanderbilt. He was catcher that was actually the first commitment I ever received as a recruiting coordinator. He was the type of player who always worked hard and was a tremendous team leader. It was no surprise to see him behind the plate when Vanderbilt broke through and made the regionals a few years ago. The program took huge strides in the four years he was there and he was a big reason for it. He made everyone around him better and he never took a day off. I just really loved coaching the kid and had a lot of respect for him.

The College Baseball Blog would like to thank Steve for taking the time to help out the site by answering some questions. We are trying to set up some more interviews with some more head coaches to talk about the upcoming season. If anyone has any questions or comments about the site feel free to contact me.

Beavers going for two

The Associated Press has released an article about Oregon State Baseball going for their second straight national championship. The article has a good interview with Pat Casey and he speaks about how so many coaches around the country have contacted him since winning the national championship. The full article can be read here.

GoJackets previews FSU

GoJackets.com has continued the series of previews which continues tonight with Florida State. They are coming off a disappointing season as they failed to make it out of their regional which was hosted by the University of Georgia. The Seminoles lost All-American Shane Robinson in center field and also will be looking for a new weekend starter with the loss of Tyler Chambliss. They also lost starting catcher Danny Diaz who was dismissed from the program in the fall but Freshman All-American Buster Posey will try to take over behind the plate. The full preview is available here.

SouthernCollegeSports.com Previews

SouthernCollegeSports.com has posted a series of previews on different conferences recently which are very knowledgeable for a quick synopsis of each conference. Each preview that has been released is listed below.

Southern Conference and Sun Belt
Conference USA and Big Ten
West Coast and Big West
Other Schools to Watch
Pac 10
ACC

Santa Clara wins final game

The Santa Clara Broncos pulled out a victory in the final game of their series with the Hawai’i Warriors. They won 3-2 in a well pitched game by both teams. The Broncos were led by Justin Kuehn who gave up two runs (one earned) in six innings of work. He ended up with a no-decision because Hawai’i starter Matt Daly pitched five innings while letting up one run. He was followed up by Nicholas Rhodes who surrendered two runs in his 2.1 innings of work for the final scoreline of 3-2. Santa Clara closer Jeff Lombard pitched the last 2.1 innings to pick up the victory. It got rocky in the bottom of the ninth with the tying run on third base with two outs but he was able to strike out Eli Christiansen to salvage a game in Hawai’i. Santa Clara was led on offense by Senior catcher Carl Bacon who was able to go 3-4 with 2 RBI’s. Hawai’i was led on offense by a 2-4 2 run score day from Brandon Haislet. Both schools will be back in action next weekend when Santa Clara hosts Utah while Hawai’i continues their homestand by hosting Georgia Southern.

Hawai’i Recap
Santa Clara Recap
Honolulu Star-Bulletin article

CSTV Articles

CSTV has posted two articles on College Baseball. The first article deals with how Paul Mainieri (LSU) and Chad Kreuter (USC) are dealing with the intense pressure put on them at their respective schools. I believe both guys will be winners at each school since Mainieri had some major success at Notre Dame. The full article is available here.

The other article deals with how the transfer rules in college baseball are different then some other collegiate sports. The article really deals with Paul Mainieri in both occasions since he released Jarred Bogany from his scholarship and scooped up Charlie Furbush from St. Joseph’s of Maine. The full article is available here.

Nevada beat Gaels to take series

The Nevada Wolf Pack took the final game of their series with Saint Mary’s by a score of 6-1. The Wolf Pack were led by a very successful performance from Mario Rivera who pitched 5.1 innings while only letting up one run on three hits. Matt Bowman who went 3-4 with 3 RBI’s including two home runs to power the offense in the victory. Kenny Fuglerud led the Gaels on a tough hitting day by going 2-4 and driving in the only run.

Saint Mary’s Recap
Nevada Recap

Northridge wins Rubber Game

Cal-State Northridge won the final game of their non-conference series against UNLV 9-4. Edwin Quirante gave the Matadors six innings on the mound and gave up three runs on seven hits. The offense was led by Clemson transfer Jorge Andrade Jr who went 3-5 at the plate to continue his strong start to the season. Efren Navarro Jr. led the Rebels with three hits and two RBI’s.

This gives the Matadors a record of 2-1 on the young season. The next game will be against Pacific on Friday and the Rebels will head home to host Pepperdine.

Northridge Recap
UNLV Recap

San Diego completes sweep

The University of San Diego finished off the series sweep on Sunday with a 4-1 victory of the Cal Poly Mustangs. Ricardo Pecina started for the Toreros by going six scoreless innings while only giving up six hits. He also struck out two batters. Anthony Slama followed up on the mound by pitching two innings of shutout baseball. San Diego then brought in AJ Griffin to pitch the ninth where he gave up one run on a hit. San Diego was led on offense by Jordan Abruzzo who went 2-3 with an RBI. Cal Poly starter Thomas Eager gave a solid outing by pitching five innings while letting up three runs and striking out seven. Wes Dorrell, Brett Morel, and Adam Buschini all had two hits in the losing effort. San Diego visits Texas for a three game set next weekend and Cal Poly will return to action on Tuesday against University of Southern California.

San Diego recap
Cal-Poly recap