Baseball Preview: Rhode Island

Fullerton is on a nine game winning streak going into their four game weekend, with two games scheduled against Oklahoma State and two against Rhode Island.

Rhode Island has an experienced lineup, having to replace only three regulars from last season.  The Rams didn't have much power last season with only 24 HR's but they have already hit 10 HR's in 9 games.  Rhode Island stole 81 SB's last season but their three leaders were the three players that they are replacing in the lineup.  The Rams have 13 SB's in 9 games.  Rhode Island is not a patient team at the plate, going up there and taking their hacks as they have averaged around 3 BB's per game last season and this year.  Rhode Island was a poor defensive team last season, making 110 E's, and has been a poor defensive team again this season, making 21 E's.  If they are going to be competitive with Fullerton and Oklahoma State they are going to have to field better this weekend.

C – FR Milan Adams (RH – .389-2-7-0) replaced all A-10 C Zach Zaneski.  Adams bats 9th and baserunners are 7-9 against him.  His backup is FR Mike Eschman (RH – 1-11), and baserunners are 4-7 against him.  They will be tested by Fullerton.

1B – Soph Tom Coloumbe (RH – .290-0-5-0) was a part-time starter last season (.264-0-14-5) and is the cleanup hitter.  He was below average defensively last season, making 8 E's.

2B – JR Oliver Palmer (RH – .351-1-4-1) started every game last season (.271-1-21-9) and bats 2nd.  He has been a sparkplug at the top of the lineup and played solid defense after being poor defensively last season, when he made 19 E's.

SS – SR Dan Rhault (LH – .419-2-12-1) is the only LH hitter in the lineup.  He led the team last year in HR's and was 2nd in RBI's (.316-6-35-6) and was predicted by Baseball America to be the best SS in the A-10 and has played like it so far this season.  He bats 3rd and has been poor defensively, making 9 E's.

3B – FR Mike LeBel (RH – .281-1-5-3) has been solid in his first season.  How he handles Fullerton's bunting will be key.

LF – JR Zoey Angulo (RH – .455-1-6-1) has gotten off to a hot start after hitting only .229 last season in a part-time role.  He will bat 7th.

CF – Soph Kenny Burns (RH – .205-0-5-2) is the lineup for his speed, which is why he is leading off despite getting off to a slow start.  He hit .231 last season in 91 AB's.

RF – JR Rob Deveney (RH – .286-2-7-1) missed only one game last season (.255-2-31-5) and bats 5th.

DH – Soph Jeff Cammans (RH – .417-0-7-1) is another hitter who has gotten off to a hot start.  He hit .231 in 65 AB's last season.

 

PITCHING

Rhode Island also has an experience pitching staff only having to replace one SP from last season.  The Rams have been pitching well with a team ERA of 3.83 and only allowing teams to hit .223 against them.

The SP's for Rhode Island are JR RHP Eric Smith, JR RHP Tim Boyce and JR LHP Nick Greenwood. 

Smith's stats – 1-0, 1.38 ERA in two starts, 13 IP, 8 H, 6 BB, 8 K, .182 BA.  Smith allowed 2 R's in 5 IP against fellow A-10 team Xavier (picked to finish 2nd in the conf) in his first start and held Miami scoreless on 3 H's last week.  Smith struggled with his control last season (1-5, 4.98 ERA, 14 starts, 72 IP, 64 H, 43 BB, 63 K) so Fullerton will have to be patient with him.

Boyce's stats – 1-0, 6.92 ERA in three starts, 13 IP, 15 H, 7 BB, 17 K, 288 BA.  He was predicted by BA to be all A-10 after going 4-1 with 5 saves last season with a 0.89 ERA in 30 IP and a standout summer when he was one of the best pitchers in the NECBL.  Boyce has a fastball in the low 90's and a good breaking pitch and changeup.  He has been ineffective in his two starts against better competition – NC State and Ohio State.

Greenwood's stats – 2-1, 2.20 ERA in three apps (two starts), 16 IP, 8 H, 5 BB, 21 K, .129 BA.  Greenwood was solid against Santa Clara (5 IP, 3 R) and Duquesne (5 1/3 IP, 2 R) and outstanding against Ohio State, relieving Boyce with 6 shutout innings, allowing 1 H with 9 K's.  He was 6-6 last year with a 3.72 ERA in 14 starts, 92 IP, 97 H, 24 BB, 95 K.  Greenwood is likely to start against Oklahoma State due to the large number of LH hitters in their lineup.

Rhode Island has several experience pitchers in the bullpen, with SR Luke Demko the closer.  Demko is one of the larger players you will find on a baseball diamond at 6'6", 290 lbs and he throws hard.  Demko's stats – 1-0, 2.84 ERA, 2 saves, 4 apps, 6.1 IP, 4 H, 4 BB, 9 K.  Last season he was 2-2 in 26 apps with a 2.30 ERA in 43 IP, 29 H, 7 BB, 55 K.  Other relievers most likely to come into games this weekend are midweek SP's Soph LHP Chris Pickering (1-0, 9.53 ERA, 3 apps, 1 start, 5 2/3 IP; 5-2, 4.07 ERA in 15 apps and 7 starts in 2008) and JR RHP Dan Rossignol (1.08 ERA in 2 apps, 1 start, 8 1/3 IP, 5 H, 0 BB, 6 K; 3-2, 6.75 ERA in 14 apps and 7 starts in 2008); RHP Ken Graveline (1-0, 7.11 ERA in 4 apps, 6 1/3 IP; 6.23 ERA in 26 IP in 2008);  RHP Gardner Leaver (6.27 ERA in 19 IP in 2008) and LHP Mark Fraser (3 apps, 2/3 IP; 5.17 ERA in 21 apps and 15 IP in 2008).