Patchogue, NY| The St. Joseph's College baseball team is set to start the 2018 season a year after finishing a 2017 campaign that saw the Golden Eagles, 25-14 a year ago, post a 15-3 record in Skyline Conference play to capture the regular season title.
SJC entered the Skyline Championship tournament as the top seed but fell to fifth-seeded Mt. St Mary College and eventual champion, SUNY Maritime.
Returners: In his fifth season leading the Golden Eagles, Coach Rick Garrett returns 29 Golden Eagles to a squad that graduated nine in 2017. Eight of Garrett's nine starting position players come back with 11 returning to the pitching staff.
Senior Lou Doria is back for his senior season and will headline the Golden Eagle offense. In a stellar 2017 campaign, Doria posted a .361 batting average and a 1.225 OPS. The ABCA/Rawlings New York All-Region First-Team selection finished first in the conference in homeruns (9) and tied the program record for most RBI's in a single season (42).
Senior Tyler Crafa earned SJC's first-ever D3Baseball.com All-Region First-Team nod after leading the Golden Eagles with a .431 batting average and an on base percentage of .494. The second baseman came in third on the team in runs scored (30), fifth in doubles (8), collected 31 hits, drove in 15 runs, and was a perfect 18-for-18 in stolen bases.
Junior Daniel Campanelli reprises his role behind the dish after boasting a 1.000 fielding percentage a year ago and picking up his first All-Conference and All-Region honors. The catcher hit .354 with 29 hits and 16 RBI.
On the mound, seniors Nick Clemente and PJ Martino look to guide a pitching staff that graduated two All-Region selections and Skyline Pitcher of the Year in Josh Outsen and Brandon Lubrano. Clemente was 5-2 last season with 24 strikeouts in 44 innings on the bump, while Martino posted a 3.29 ERA with 23 K's in his 11 appearances.
Newcomers: Thirteen new Golden Eagles join Coach Garrett's squad and will look to make an immediate impact.
Joseph Murphy joins after leading Suffolk Community College last season with a .486 batting average, collecting 51 hits, 34 runs and 25 RBI's. The junior will see time on the mound having posted a 6-1 record with a 1.21 ERA and 62 strikeouts a year ago.
Joining forces with Murphy is Anthony Papa, a junior hurler who spent time at LIU Post and Coastal Carolina before landing at St. Joseph's. Junior Ryan Szalay, sophomore Elliot Robles, freshmen Matt Schock, Thomas Crispyn and Bryan Lyons round out the staff's newcomers.
Expectations: With eight of nine position players, four All-Region selections and three All-Conference honorees returning, Garrett and the Golden Eagles expect to compete for a conference title again in 2018.
"Last year, we were tops in defense and our pitching finished in the top three categories in the country so we are very excited for the opportunity to compete for the Skyline Championship this year and go on further," stated Garrett.
The results of the Skyline Conference Baseball Preseason Coaches Poll, released on February 15, saw the Golden Eagles selected second, six points behind first-place Maritime.
2018 Skyline Conference Baseball Preseason Coaches Poll
Rank, Team (first-place votes), Points
1. Maritime (8), 78
2. St. Joseph's-L.I. (1), 71
3. Farmingdale State (1), 68
4. Old Westbury, 55
5. USMMA, 50
6. Mount Saint Mary, 42
7. Mount Saint Vincent, 29
8. Purchase, 26
9. St. Joseph's-Brooklyn, 22
10. Yeshiva, 9
When they begin: St. Joseph's starts its 2018 campaign on Sunday, March 4 with a non-conference doubleheader vs. non-conference opponent Ithaca College. First pitch is slated for 11:00 am.
SJC then flys south to Auburndale, FL for an eight-game stretch before returning home to host John Jay and the College of New Rochelle on March 14 and 15, respectively. Skyline Conference play begins with a home set against the United States Merchant Marine Academy on Saturday, March 31.