LANCASTER, Pa. – Returning all but one member of the batting order, a pair of starting pitchers that each won five games and a record-breaking closer, the 2016 edition of Franklin & Marshall's baseball team has the talent and depth necessary to compete for a Centennial Conference (CC) Championship.
Action begins this week when the Diplomats travel to Greensboro, N.C. for a three-game series with Guilford College, which includes a double-header on Saturday (12:00 and 2:30 p.m.) and a single game on Sunday (12:00 p.m.)
To watch a season preview video featuring the reigning CC Coach of the Year Ryan Horning, click here.
Last year's squad tallied a 28-13 record, good for the program's highest win total since 2006 and the fourth-most in F&M baseball history. The Diplomats also captured a pair of wins in the CC Tournament, however, their bid for a seventh conference title came to an end with two losses against Johns Hopkins on Championship Sunday.
To read a recap of last year's historic season, click here.
Twenty-six returners, along with a group of seven freshmen make up the 2016 squad that looks to band together and recreate last season's success. The group will need to overcome the losses of key seniors, which includes a pair of top rotational pitchers, the team's starting centerfielder and five members of the bullpen.
To watch a video roster of the 2016 team, click here.
Top Returners (Batting Order)
Casey Bulik | Jr. | IF (.234/.293/.262 – 25 Hits, 18 Runs)
Tyler Daley | Jr. | OF (.301/.381/.397 – 22 Hits, 18 Runs, 7 SBs)
David Iacobucci | Jr. | OF (.319/.382/.442 – 44 Hits, 24 Runs, 2 HRs, 24 RBIs)
Dan Marano | So. | 1B/DH (.363/.378/.473 – 53 Hits, 25 Runs, 2 HRs, 32 RBIs)
Matt Mezansky (Captain) | Sr. | 3B (.266/.387/.353 – 37 Hits, 32 Runs, 16 SBs)
Brett Poniros (Captain) | Sr. | SS (.309/.371/.423 – 46 Hits, 26 Runs, 14 SBs)
Luke Seib | Sr. | 1B (.315/.396/.425 – 40 Hits, 31 Runs, 2 HRs, 29 RBIs)
Mike Smeriglio | Sr. | OF (.330/.420/.476 – 34 Hits, 22 Runs, 25 RBIs)
Christopher Vincent | Jr. | C (.299/.364/.374 – 32 Hits, 20 Runs, 17 RBIs)
*Slash line indicates (AVG/OBP/SLG)
Top Returners (Starting Pitchers)
Mike Androconis | So. | RHP (5-2, 3.11 ERA, 55 IP, 36 Ks)
Eric Bateman | Jr. | RHP (2-0, 3.33 ERA, 27 IP, 17 Ks)
Mack Glavin | Jr. | RHP (5-3, 3.40 ERA, 39 2/3 IP, 22 Ks)
Top Returners (Bullpen)
Andrew Mascis | So. | RHP (9 Saves, 0.48 ERA, 18.2 IP, 14 Ks)
Milestones to Watch
Closer Mascis set the program's single-season record with nine saves during his freshman campaign and enters the year just one shy of F&M baseball's all-time mark held by Dan Tischler '08.
Mezansky, a senior captain at third base, is quickly approaching the top 10 list for a number of program records, including hits (129), RBIs (71) and doubles (23).
A Look at Guilford
This weekend's trio of contests against Guilford will mark the 11th, 12th and 13th time these schools have faced off. F&M trails by a 7-3 record dating back to 1973, but the Diplomats have won each of the previous three matchups including a 14-9 victory in their 2014 season opener on Feb. 22.
The Quakers already hold a 4-4 record on the year after accumulating a 14-22 mark in 2015.
The Road Ahead
A matchup against Penn St.-Harrisburg on Tuesday, March 1 tentatively marks the Diplomats' home opener, while Centennial Conference (CC) competition begins with a doubleheader against McDaniel on Saturday, April 2. F&M's Florida spring break trip features one of the most challenging schedules in recent memory and will see the Diplomats face 10 teams in an eight-day span.
Three regular season games are slated to take place in Clipper Magazine Stadium, home of the Lancaster Barnstormers, including Monday, March 28 against York, Friday, April 8 against Gettysburg, and Thursday, April 21 against Washington.
The CC Tournament starts with the first round on Thursday, May 5, with the title game scheduled for Sunday, May 8.
CC Preseason Poll
F&M is picked to finish second in the conference this year, according to a preseason poll of conference coaches. The Diplomats received three of the 10 first place votes and trailed only defending champion Johns Hopkins who was tabbed to repeat with six first-place votes. McDaniel (No. 3), Gettysburg (No. 4) and Ursinus (No. 5) round out the top five.
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.