Play Ball! Delaware State Baseball Begins 2019 Campaign At The Citadel

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NCAA DI/MEAC/Baseball

 

Delaware State Sports Information

 

Dover, Del – The Delaware State baseball team opens its 2019 season with a three-game series at The Citadel of the Southern Conference this weekend (Feb. 15-17).  The series begins with a single game on Friday beginning at 4 p.m. at Riley Ballpark.  The Hornets and Bulldogs will also play single games on Saturday (2:00 p.m.) and Sunday (1:00 p.m.).

Delaware State is looking for a change in fortunes this season after posting a 9-35 overall record and 7-16 mark in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Northern Division in 2018.

The Citadel was 19-34 overall and 8-16 in the Southern Conference during the 2018 season.

DSU head coach J.P. Blandin, now in his 19th season, believes the Hornets have a good mixture of veteran players and talented newcomers to key a turnaround this season.

“The guys have worked really hard with great energy in the weight room and during our indoor and outdoor practices this off-season,” said Blandin, the all-time leader with 427 career wins.“

“Our veteran group includes a couple of guys who missed significant time in 2018 due to injuries and a few others who are on the verge of breakout years. We also brought in some new guys who capable of contributing right away in the field and on the mound.”


DELAWARE STATE UNIVERSITY 2019 BASEBALL OUTLOOK

Delaware State is picked to finish third in the four-team MEAC North race with one first place vote and 33 points.

Coppin State is the favorite to repeat as Northern Division champs with 13 of 18 first place votes and 66 total points. Last season, the Eagles won their first division title since 1996.

The Hornets return 14 players from last year’s squad, including three full-time pitchers and a position player that’s   one of the team’s top hurlers. DSU has nine new faces on the 2019 team, highlighted by a transfer who is likely to start in the outfield on opening day.

As usual, the Delaware State roster is loaded with former First State high school stars. The 2019 roster features a total of 14 Delaware products.


PITCHERS

The return of lefty starter Garrett Lawson (r-so.) is key to the staff’s fortunes this season. Lawson was limited to just five games in 2018 due to injury. He posted a 6-4 overall record and 4.72 earned run average as a true freshman in 2017, ranking as the team leader in wins and second in strikeouts (58) that season. Lawson was 5-2 with a 4.58 ERA vs. MEAC opponents in 2017. He allowed just one hit and struck out five in seven shutout innings in a victory over The Citadel in his second collegiate start.

“Garrett appears strong after putting in a great deal of work during his recovery and rehabilitation,” said Blandin.  “His fast ball is better than before the injury, and his curve and change-up have been really sharp during preseason workouts. He’s a tough competitor and we’re looking forward to his return this season.”

Junior righty Sean McGrath is looking for a bounce back season after a rocky 2018 campaign in which he posted a 2-8 record and 7.47 ERA. As a sophomore in 2017, McGrath was 5-3 with a 3.41 ERA while leading the Hornets with 59 strikeouts in 63.1 innings. He fanned 64 batters in 60 innings as a true freshman in 2016. He had two outings with 10-or-more strikeouts, punching out 11 vs. Coppin State in 5.2 innings and 10 UMES batters in seven frames during his rookie season.

“Sean is an experienced guy with the physical tools to be one of the better starting pitchers in our league,” Blandin said. “We’ve seen what he is capable of and I’m confident he can return as a reliable starter for us this season.”

Lefty Darnell Maisonet is slated to begin the season as Hornets’ No. 3 starting pitcher when he’s not in centerfield. Maisonet appeared in eight games on the mound, posting a 2-3 overall record and 2.98 earned run average last season.  He was selected as MEAC Pitcher-of-the-Week after striking out 11 in a 3-0 shutout of Maryland-Eastern Shore, and was 2-2 with a 1.93 ERA vs. MEAC opponents in 2018.

The Hornet bullpen and potential mid-week starters include returning right handers Chandler Fitzgerald (so.) and Miguel Rivera (so.), who can also fill in as an infielder, along with freshmen newcomers Jeremy Carrow (RHP; Smyrna, Del. / Smyrna HS) and Sean Bradley (RHP; Bear, Del. / St. George’s HS).

The Hornets’ 2019 pitching staff also includes newcomers Robert Shorts (RHP; Bear, Del / St. George’s) , Zach Dale (LHP; Rehoboth Beach, Del. / Cape Henlopen HS), Corey Loper, Jr. (RHP; Middletown, Del. / Middletown HS) and Austin Warrington (LHP; Wilmington, Del. / St. Mark’s HS).
CATCHERS
Adrian Hill (Sr.) and Alex Vasquez (so.) return as the Hornets’ top two back stops. Hill has 57 starts behind the plate, including a career-best 28 as a junior in 2018. He also had his best season at the plate, ranking fifth among team regulars with a .253 batting average, three doubles and two triples last season.

Vasquez appeared in 15 games, stating 12 as a true freshman in 2018. Tripp Kimmell (so.), who batted .250 in 18 games as an outfielder in 2018, can also fill in at catcher.


INFIELD

The 2019 Hornets have experienced players around the horn.

Third baseman Jared Gillis (jr.) is among the MEAC’s best at the hot corner, despite slipping to a .241 batting average with one home run and 20 runs batted in as a sophomore in 2018. During his freshman season in 2017, Gillis was second on the Hornets with a .292 average. He was third on the team with three homers and fourth on the club 25 RBI in his rookie season.

Veteran shortstop Tommy Jordan (jr.) returns after missing the second half of the 2018 campaign due to injury. Jordan competed in just 22 games last season before the injury after starting 45 games at short as a true freshman in 2017.

John Weglarz (so.) is slated to be the starting second baseman after starting 44 games at the position as a true freshman in 2018. He batted .244 with a .935 field percentage (12 errors in 172 chances) last season.

The Hornets are expected to mix and match at first base this season. Miquel Rivera (so.) and  Kimmell (so.) are likely to see the most time at first , although Maisonet and Gilles also have experience at the position.

OUTFIELD
Maisonet (sr.) is the Hornets’ headliner in the outfield.

A 2019 Preseason All-MEAC Second Team selection, he was tops on the Hornets with a .341 batting average vs. MEAC opponents and .303 overall average last season. He was the team leader and tied for 10th in MEAC with five home runs, second on Hornets with 21 runs batted in, while ranking third on the team in runs scored (23) and sixth in hits (36) a year ago.  As a sophomore in 2017, Maisonet batted .275 with two home runs and was third on the team with 28 RBI. His freshman season in 2016 was highlighted by a .282 average and team highs in total bases (60) and doubles (11).

Todd Henry (sr.) is a three-year regular hoping for a return to his freshman form. After leading the Hornets with a .329 average and 51 hits as a freshman in 2016, Henry has batted .264 in each of the last two seasons.

Rich Rountree (jr.) and Arthur Burrell (so.) can play each of the outfield positions, while transfer Mark Herron (r-so.; 6-3/ 220) is the top newcomer. Herron, a former standout at Warren G. Harding High School in Ohio, had brief stints at Kent State (OH) and Gateway Community College before enrolling at DSU.


SCHEDULE

In addition to The Citadel, the Hornets’ scheduled 46-game regular season includes non-MEAC North foes Navy, North Carolina Central, Maris, George Washington, Delaware, UMBU, LIU Brooklyn and La Salle this season.

DSU’s home opener is Mar. 1 against Marist at Soldier Field.

The Hornets begin Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference play with a three-game series at Norfolk State Mar. 15-17. The 2019 MEAC Tournament is scheduled for May 15-19 in Daytona, Beach, Fla.

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