Vermont Weekend

Nobody knows a whole lot about Vermont except that this is the last year of its baseball program, and Vanderbilt handed the Catamounts three losses last weekend.

The first one was only a 7-2 setback for the Cats, but the final two games were 14-3 and 14-1 losses.

So who are these guys? Their athletics media relations info helps us out.

The Catamounts have 16 letterwinners back from a team that won 27 games a year ago (27-24, 12-11 America East Conference) and advanced to the America East Championship for the fifth time in the last seven years. Returnees for Coach Bill Currier, who is in his 22nd season, include six members of last season's everyday lineup and three quality starting pitchers. Five of the returning players were honored by the America East in 2008 on its All-Conference, All-Rookie and All-Academic Teams.

Vermont and Vandy both sent its lefty ace to the mound in last Friday's opener. UVM's Joe Serafin (Tariffville, Conn.) and Vanderbilt's Mike Minor each allowed just one run through the first six innings before the Commodores plated three in the seventh. After the Cats made it 4-2 in the top of the eighth, Vandy scored three more times in its half for a 7-2 final. Corey Moylan (Glenview, Ill.) drove in both Vermont runs. Vanderbilt kept up its offense in the next two games cruising to a 14-3 win Saturday and a 14-1 decision Sunday.

Senior lefty Joe Serafin will get the ball Friday against Ole Miss and will face junior RHP Aaron Barrett (0-1, 8.38 ERA). Saturday, senior lefty Justin Albert (Hull, Mass.) goes up against sophomore lefthander Drew Pomeranz (0-0, 4.50). RHP Keith Rakus (West Suffield, Conn.) makes his first start of his senior season Sunday against junior RHP Phillip Irwin (1-0, 2.00).

Sophomore center fielder Mark Micowski (Haddam, Conn.) was UVM's top hitter in the season opening set hitting .333 against one of the nation's top pitching staffs. The speedy leadoff hitter went 2-for-4 on Friday and again on Sunday. Classmates Corey Moylan, Tom Jackson (Wells, Vt.) and Eric Fredette (Glastonbury, Conn.) also fared well in the first weekend. Moylan had two hits, a walk and a stolen base in the three games and drove in two runs Friday. In his first career start Sunday, Jackson went 2-for-3 with a RBI. Fredette did not get a hit in nine trips to the plate but drew three walks and stole a base.

Justin Albert settled down after a rocky start in his first trip to the mound Saturday finishing with a solid five-inning outing against Vanderbilt. He is coming off his second straight solid season with the Cats and he has ranked among the top seven in the America East in ERA over the last two years. After going 5-5 with a 3.65 ERA, seventh in the conference, Albert went on to have an excellent summer as an all-star for Holyoke of the New England Collegiate Baseball League. An NECBL All-Star, he had a 7-0 record with a 2.01 ERA and 53 strikeouts in 53.1 innings.

Nine of the Catamounts 11 freshmen made their debuts in the Vanderbilt series with infielders Dave Soltis (Plainville, Conn.) and James Katsiroubas (Milton, Mass.) starting all three games. Soltis picked up his first career hit in the opener while Katsiroubas and Mike McCarthy (Wallingford, Conn.) notched their first hits on Saturday. Six rookie hurlers also saw action on the mound.

Now that you know more about the Rebels' opponent for three games this weekend – 7 p.m., 1:30 p.m., and 1:30 p.m. starts – here's some of what the Rebels have to say about the weekend.

"The goal is to play well and we haven't had a lot of games that we've played well in all three phases," said Coach Mike Bianco, whose team is 4-3 on the season. "We've been pretty consistent offensively, which is good. At times we've shown we can really pitch, but then some innings have blown up on us. At times we've played real good defense, and we've had games we haven't played such good defense.

"The goal starting (tonight) is to see if we can play a clean weekend, a weekend where we do a lot of things well."

Bianco made some significant lineup changes prior to the midweek game against Arkansas State, an 11-5 Rebel win. He says some of those might stay in place as the staff still searches for a lineup as SEC play begins next weekend - at Vanderbilt.

"We'll probably use some sort of different lineup every single day," Bianco said of the Vermont weekend. "We're continuing to try different people to find the best nine."

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