The College Baseball Blog continues our series of interviews with head coaches with Mik Aoki of Boston College. He is entering his second season as the head coach of the BC program. He led them to a 24-27-1 record including a conference mark of 12-17 which was only 1.5 games out of eighth place. The Eagles return two weekend starters in Terry Doyle and Dan Houston but lost a ton of position players to graduation so there is some roster spots to fill. Continue reading CBB talks with Mik Aoki (Boston College)
The CBB recently had the opportunity to send some questions to Rob Valli of Temple. He is entering his third season in charge of the program coming in with a two year mark of 30-78. He came to the Temple program from Gloucester County College (NJ) where he made the NJCAA World Series in each of his five seasons. Continue reading CBB talks with Rob Valli (Temple)
The College Baseball Blog recently had a chance to send some questions to Gary Gilmore of Coastal Carolina. Gary is entering his 13th season in charge of the Chanticleer program after a very strong 2007 season in which they went 50-13 and hosted the school’s first regional. They ended up losing the regional championship game to Clemson. Continue reading CBB talks with Gary Gilmore
The College Baseball Blog recently had a chance to talk to John Cole who is entering his third season with the Penn Quakers. They won the Lou Gehrig division in 2007 but were swept by the Brown Bears in two games.
1. In 2007, Penn had a great season in the Ivy League by going 12-8 in the conference but finishing with an overall record of 20-19. The Quakers return a veteran squad as seven out of the nine starters from the 2007 Gehrig Division championship team return. Who is going to replace Joey Boaen (.310 BA) and Josh Corn (.288 BA) who have both graduated? Continue reading CBB talks with John Cole (Penn)
We continue our recent series of interviews this week with Lelo Prado of South Florida. He is entering his second season with the Bulls after a very successful run at Louisville.
1) The South Florida Bulls had a 34-26 overall record and went 13-14 in the Big East. Matt Quevedo (4-3, 4.06 ERA) is the only returning starting pitcher as you lost Danny Otero (9-7, 3.32 ERA) and Chris Delaney (9-4, 4.00 ERA) but return closer Shawn Sanford to the squad. Who do you expect to fill Otero’s and Delaney’s spots in the rotation? If Sanford moves to the rotation who is going to fill the closer’s role? Continue reading CBB talks with Lelo Prado (South Florida)
The College Baseball Blog recently had the chance to talk with Donnie Watson of Stephen F. Austin to discuss his program. He is entering his third season with the Jacks after taking over in 2004 when the school decided to bring the program back after an eleven year absence.
1. Stephen F. Austin finished the 2007 season with a 31-28 overall record after having a tough first season in 2006 which saw the Jacks struggle to a 15-41 record. Who has improved the most over the summer and during fall workouts? Continue reading CBB talks with Donnie Watson (Stephen F. Austin)
The College Baseball Blog recently had a chance to speak with Scott Stricklin. He is entering his fourth season at the helm of the Golden Flashes program. He led the team to the NCAA Tournament in 2007 and a conference championship game appearance in 2006.
1. In 2007, Kent State had a solid record of 33-26 with an outstanding record of 19-8 in the MAC. This season you return seven out of your nine starters from your MAC championship and NCAA participant squad. Who do you think has improved the most during fall practice from 2007?
We had several guys make jumps this fall for us. Doug Sanders, our second baseman, came back in great shape and worked very hard to become more athletic. Conor Egan saw limited time in the outfield last season but has really improved and will be pushing guys for more at bats. Jason Patton was the MVP of the MAC tournament last spring and he has added some strength and is ready to have a great junior year. On the mound, Kyle Smith and Jon Pokorny really impressed us this fall. Both guys gained strength over the summer and they now have one college season under their belt. Steven Ross has come back from injury and looks like he is going to be ready to make a push for a lot of innings.
2. Chris Carpenter entered the 2007 season as your top starter in terms of talent. He had an up and down season where he went 4-1 with a 4.50 ERA. I heard that he had some issues in the Cape Cod League on his surgically repaired right arm. Is he going to be ready to hold down your Number 1 starter role when play kicks off on February 22nd against UNC-Greensboro?
When you look only at Chris’ numbers from last year, they do appear average. However, when he pitched his way back into our rotation, we started winning. We won 16 of our last 17 games going into the regionals and Chris was a big reason why. He is our best prospect in terms of a professional player but he is also our hardest worker. Our kids really look up to him and he makes everyone around him better. He established himself as our number one starter this fall and is much more comfortable on the mound. When he was pitching last season, he was coming off almost a two year break due to Tommy John surgery. He has found the command for his fastball and his breaking ball has really sharpened up. We are all looking forward to watching him finally be able to pitch at 100% every Friday this spring.
3. You lost your top catcher in Will Vazquez who started 56 games last season. You have four catchers on your roster including Cory Hindel who is transferring from Wake Forest. Has any of the four put a hold onto the position heading into Spring practice?
Losing a leader like Will Vazquez is always difficult but I’m very optimistic about our catching situation. Cory Hindel came in and had a great fall for us and established himself as our starting catcher. However, Tyler Martin also had a good fall and has worked extremely hard. Those two will be pushing each other for the majority of innings behind the plate.
4. How will the new rules with the way the scholarships can be split on the team affect your program? Do you think it is a good change for college baseball?
I don’t think too many coaches are excited about having a minimum scholarship put into effect. We are already short-handed with 11.7 scholarships and now we are being told how to spend that money. The roster limit of 35 will not affect us because we are operating with a 32 man roster right now but I know that it will impact a lot of other schools and players on those rosters. The other dynamic that will be difficult to handle on a yearly basis is the rule that stipulates that only 27 players on the roster can receive athletic scholarships. The uncertainty of the pro draft will make this a tough issue for sure.
5. Has any of your incoming freshman impressed you during Fall Workouts? Do you see any of them breaking into the starting lineup this season?
We were very happy with our freshman this fall and feel like several of them will make an impact for us. Ben Klafczynski had a very solid fall with the bat and made some strides defensively in the outfield. Brett Weibley came into the fall injured but was able to practice at the end of the fall. He showed a lot of athletic ability at 3rd base and is going to hit for a lot of power. We feel that both Ben and Brett have a chance to be a great players here. The two freshman pitchers that performed well were Justin Gill and Kyle Hallock. Both showed that they can locate their fastballs and have command of their secondary stuff. Cory Martin, another one of our left handed freshman, has really made some improvements this off season and we feel that he is going to get some quality innings.
6. What is your biggest challenge on and off the field in dealing with young men from 18-23?
There are always challenges when you are dealing with 32 different individuals on a daily basis. It’s certainly never boring around here! I think as a coach you can limit those challenges if you recruit the right type of kids. Talented players are great, but if they are going to give you constant headaches off the field, it’s just not worth it. Our kids are required to go to class and we check to make sure they do. They are all required to do at least five hours of community service to make sure they are giving something back. If my kids are busy doing the right things, they don’t have much time to do the wrong things.
The College Baseball Blog would like to thank Scott for checking in with us for the second straight year. If any more coaches are interested in doing a similar interview feel free to email us by clicking here.
The Penn Quakers will head to Providence RI to take on the Brown University Bears in the Ivy League Championship series (Best of three). The winner of the series will punch the first ticket to the NCAA Tournament.
The Quakers won the Gehrig Division title last weekend after Princeton lost their final game of the year against Cornell in extra innings. Penn is led by second year head coach John Cole. He led the Quakers to a second place finish in 2006 in the Gehrig Division and won the Division title in only his second season. He had a ton of success at the Division 3 level at Rowan College where he compiled a 229-73 record. Cole has been receiving outstanding pitching from freshman pitcher Todd Roth who enters the weekend with a outstanding 6-1 record and an ERA of 2.25. He has thrown six consecutive complete game compiling a 1.50 ERA and 32 strikeouts while only walking six batters. Roth picked up a 5-3 victory over Brown on April 9th. He is expected to start Game 1 for the Quakers on Saturday. In Game 2, Penn is expected to send another freshman to the hill in Jim Birmingham who has a 4-1 record and a 3.30 ERA. The top hitter for the Quakers is Kyle Armeny who leads the team with a .326 average and eight homers.
The Brown Bears will be taking part in their first Ivy League playoff series in the 15 years of the playoff format. The Bears are led by Jeff Dietz who is tied in wins at 6 with Todd Roth of Penn. Dietz has had some outstanding performances throughout the season on the mound with a 6-3 overall record and an ERA of 3.57. He is expected to start Game 1 against Roth in a battle of aces. Dietz is also a solid hitter for the Bears as he plays first base when he is not pitching and has a .352 average with seven homers and 48 RBI in 39 games. Devin Thomas who is the starting catch for Brown has a very strong average of .372 and has hit 14 homers on the season.
The College Baseball Blog will be making the road trip down to Providence to check out the first two games of the series on Saturday and will provide a full report on Saturday evening.
Brown Game Notes
Penn Game Notes
John Cole Preseason interview with CBB
Baseball America Preview of series
River Ave. Blues recently sat down with us and wanted to discuss the upcoming MLB draft. I spoke about many different players and their draft stock based on my observations and my conversations with MLB scouts. The full interview is available here.
I know that Red Sox and Yankees fans are not suppose to get along but River Ave. Blues has a ton of great information on the Yankees and is well run.