LANCASTER, Pa. – With a trio of impact captains who figure to make a mark on the mound and in the heart of the lineup, a group of freshmen players with the talent to play pivotal roles and an eight-member senior class providing leadership to an otherwise young but experienced squad, the 2015 Franklin & Marshall baseball team aims to prove that this year's group of players has what it takes to reach the Centennial Conference (CC) Tournament and once again compete for a championship.
The journey begins on Sunday when the Diplomats open the 2015 campaign against Wesley at Calvert Hall High School in Baltimore, Md. for a doubleheader beginning at 1:00 p.m.
To watch the season preview video for the 2015 F&M baseball team, click here.
F&M returns six players from the order that made 15 or more starts, its entire starting rotation and a trio out of the bullpen that saw action in 12 or more games. The Diplomats posted a 14-23, 6-12 CC record last year after coming out of the gate strong with six wins in their opening 10 games and blanking Swarthmore in the regular season finale with a 3-0 score.
Seven freshmen are welcomed into the fold to fight for a small number of openings in the starting lineup and rotation. Right-handed pitcher Mike Androconis is expected to challenge for a spot in the starting rotation and first baseman/outfielder Dan Marano figures to play a key role in the batting order.
Returning to the Field
Brian Erb | Sr. | OF (.300/.373/.417 – 5 Doubles)
David Iacobucci | So. | OF (.310/.394/.440 – 2 HRs, 16 RBIs)
Matt Mezansky (Captain) | Jr. | 3B (.292/.340/.362 – 38 Hits, 24 Runs, 22 RBIs)
Brett Poniros (Captain) | Jr. | SS (.325/.354/.383 – 39 Hits, 19 Runs, 15 SBs)
Luke Seib | Jr. | 1B (.289/.368/.313 – 12 Runs, 11 RBIs)
Returning to the Rotation
Sam Ackerman | So. | RHP (6 starts, 16 K's)
Eric Bateman | So. | RHP (4 Starts, 14 K's)
Sean Cosgriff | Sr. | LHP (9 Starts, 2 CGs, 32 K's)
Alex Guerra (Captain) | Sr. | RHP (5-3, 4 CGs, 2.30 ERA, 36 K's)
Returning to the 'Pen
Gareth Fancher | Jr. | RHP (14 Appearances, 2 Wins, 13 K's)
Andrew Green | Sr. | RHP (12 Appearances, 3 Saves)
Chris Mathewson | Sr. | LHP (15 Appearances, 13 K's)
Players to Watch
F&M's trio of talented captain leaders in Guerra, Mezansky and Poniros were all named to the Collegiate Baseball Newspaper Players to Watch list for 2015. Guerra again figures to anchor the starting rotation after leading the team in wins, complete games, ERA and strikeouts, while Mezansky and Poniros are expected to contribute at the top of the order and with their stellar defense in the field. Poniros produced a .918 fielding percentage at the always demanding shortstop position, while Mezansky registered an .886 clip at the hot corner.
Milestones to Watch
Guerra enters the season with 12 wins in his career, a mark that places him just eight shy of the F&M record. The program's all-time leader is Ted Serro '06 with 20. Matthewson (42) and Green (41) are both closing in on the career appearances record, sitting in seventh and eighth respectively. The record belongs to Nathan Diercks '02 with 58.
The Road Ahead
The Diplomats are set to compete in nine contests before embarking to Winter Haven, Fla. for 10 games in seven days. Leading up to the spring break trip, F&M has a difficult slate of opponents including No. 14 Rowan for its first home contest at Caplan Field on March 5 and a three-game series with 27-game winner Allegheny from March 7-8.
Conference play opens on the road against McDaniel on March 28, while the CC Tournament begins on Thursday, April 30.
Follow Along (Social Media)
All of your favorite Diplomat athletic teams are available on social media. Follow them on Twitter and Instagram, like them on Facebook and subscribe to the Diplomats Youtube page for frequent highlight videos of games throughout the season.