Baseball Looks to Continue to Climb NE-10 Ladder in 2010

At first glance, the Southern New Hampshire University baseball team's 14-26-1 record last season doesn't look all that impressive.  However, for a program that has sometimes struggled in the ultra-competitive Northeast-10, a closer look at the campaign shows signs that things are on the way up for the Penmen program.

-     SNHU did double its win total from a 2008 season that saw it go 7-32.

-     The Penmen lowered their staff ERA by over 2.5 earned runs per game, posting a 3.84 ERA in 2009.  As a team SNHU ranked fourth in the NE-10 in ERA.

-     SNHU swept perennial NE-10 power Franklin Pierce, posting its first wins over the Ravens since 2003.

-     After allowing 10 runs or more 14 times and suffering just two one-run losses in 2008, the Penmen allowed over 10 runs just twice last season and dropped six games by just a single run.

Second-year head coach Scott Loiseau hit the ground running in his first full year of recruiting, bringing in a total of 18 new players for the 2010 season.  Add this year's newcomers to 17 returners, and Loiseau hopes his team has the talent to continue to climb the NE-10 ladder.

PITCHING

Pitching should prove to be a strength for the Penmen in 2010.  Despite losing NE-10 All-Conference hurler Ryan Quinn, SNHU returns four pitchers with experience in the starting rotation, including a pair who were freshmen last season.

Senior lefthander Steve Golbranson (Abington, Mass.) returns for his third season.  Last season he recorded a 3.84 earned run average and struck out 45 in 61 innings of work.  Classmate Derek Anderson (Dracut, Mass.) made 12 appearances with four starts last season after transferring from UMass Lowell and posted a 3.50 ERA and .223 opponent batting average while fanning 41 in 43.2 innings.

Junior Bryant Gauthier (Lynn, Mass.), a member of the rotation as a freshman, made a pair of starts last season and 10 appearances total, posting a 1.98 ERA.  Sophomores Brad Monroe (Hampton Falls, N.H.) and A.J. Dusablon (Burlington, Vt.) also figure to factor into the rotation.  Monroe ranked second on the Penmen in strikeouts as a freshman (45) and registered two wins and two saves in 13 appearances (nine starts).  Dusablon made seven appearances (five starts) last season and recorded a 4.97 ERA in 29 innings of work.

Junior Adam Flynn (Derby Line, Vt.) and sophomores Garrett Jewell (Alexandria, N.H.), Justin Mansfield (Arlington, Mass.) and Fred Whittle (Mystic, Conn.) round out the returners on the hill.

Flynn made three appearances last season and in 2.2 innings of relief, allowed no runs and just one hit.  Jewell recorded a 3.68 ERA in four appearances, while Whittle posted a 4.26 ERA in five outings.  Mansfield made six appearances out of the pen and threw two innings of scoreless relief in a tie with Assumption.

The Penmen welcome a total of eight new pitchers to the staff, seven freshmen and one transfer.

Junior Ryan Walfield (Strafford, N.H.) comes to SNHU with two seasons of eligibility after starting his career at Division I Quinnipiac University.  Beset by injuries in his time with the Bobcats, Walfield was the 2005 New Hampshire Gatorade and Louisville Slugger Player of the Year while at Spaulding High School.

Chris Crutcher (Londonderry, N.H.) was a Second Team All-State selection at Londonderry HS, while Joshua Dufton (Newington, N.H.) comes to SNHU by way of Portsmouth Christian HS.  Taylor Eames (Epsom, N.H.) was a two-time captain at Bishop Brady HS, while Evan Humphrey (Fryeburg, Maine) posted a 3.14 ERA with 81 strikeouts as a senior at Fryeburg Academy.  Kenneth Pennini (Millis, Mass.) was a team captain as a senior at Millis HS.

John Pickowicz (Hill, N.H.) and Derrick Sylvester (Franklin, N.H.) were teammates at Franklin HS.  Both were All-State performers for the Tornadoes, with Sylvester posting a 10-1 record and a pair of no-hitters as a senior.  He was also the Class M Player of the Year as a senior.

CATCHERS

With the graduation of catchers Skyler Byrd and Joe Gargan, the position looks to be wide open heading into the season.  Junior Kevin Bossart (Quincy, Mass.) is the lone returner at the position.  He appeared in 13 games two seasons ago.

Sophomore Kevin Spatkowski (Bristol, Conn.) attended UMass as a freshman.  As a senior at Bristol Eastern HS he batted .380 with 20 runs batted in.  Freshman Nick Leva (Cambridge, Mass.) was a member of the baseball team at Cambridge Rindge and Latin HS.

INFIELD

Southern New Hampshire returns five players who saw time in the infield a season ago.  Senior Eric Pelletier (Beverly, Mass.) played in 27 games a season ago and batted .276 with 10 RBI.  After spending time at third and the outfield last season, Pelletier will look to play second base this season.  He also tied for the second-longest hit streak on the Penmen last season at nine games.

Juniors Tim Rines (Merrimack, N.H.) and Bobby Wronski (Arlington, Mass.) return after starting at shortstop and first base last season, respectively.  Rines batted .255 with 24 runs scored and nine RBI, while also cutting down on his errors last season, committing five fewer in 46 more chances.  Wronski led the team in home runs (6) and RBI (21) and started all but one game.  He also slugged a team-best .426.

Sophomore Curtis Burke (Bristol, R.I.) started 23 times last season, splitting time between second base and the left side of the infield.  Richard Pecoraro (Hampton Bays, N.Y.) batted .265 in 15 games last season and will also look for time at first base as well as DH.

Five newcomers will be vying for playing time in the infield.  Patrick Copp (Cumberland, Maine) batted .453 as a senior at Greely HS and captained the Rangers to a state championship as a senior.  He will be looking to compete at first base.  Second baseman Jon Massad (Shrewsbury, Mass.) played at St. John's Shrewsbury, where he helped the team to a state championship berth.  Shortstop Matt Boulter (Wrentham, Mass.) was a three-time All-League selection in baseball at Bishop Feehan HS.

Brandon Dutch (Monroe, Conn.) and Thomas Quicker (West Islip, N.Y.) look to be in the mix at third base.  Dutch captained a Masuk HS team to a state finals berth in 2008 and spent last season at Bridgton Academy.   Quicker batted .425 as a senior at St. John the Baptist and was an All-League selection.

OUTFIELD

The Penmen return two-thirds of their starting outfield from a season ago, as seniors Jeff Giannino (Beverly, Mass.) and Chris O'Neil (Chelmsford, Mass.) are back.

Giannino, who saw action primarily in left field last season, tied for the team lead in home runs (6) and knocked in 17 runs.  O'Neil batted a team-best .276 last season and had the longest Penmen hit streak of the 2009 season (14 games).  He hit safely in 17 of the final 18 games of the season.

Southern New Hampshire has added three freshmen to the outfield for the 2010 season.  Jon Minucci (Madison, Conn.) played at Daniel Hand HS.  Brendan O'Brien (East Bridgewater, Mass.) was a two-time All-League selection at East Bridgewater HS, while Scott Rogers (Orr's Island, Maine) batted .463 as a senior at Mount Ararat HS and served as team captain as a senior.