Feb. 20, 2013
EASTON, Pa. – Under the direction of 14th year head coach Joe Kinney, the Lafayette baseball team will once again open its 2013 season south of the Mason-Dixon line when it travels to Davidson, N.C. for a meeting with Georgetown and a pair of contests against the host Wildcats. The Leopards return 23 letterwinners, including seven starting position players and seven pitchers from their 2012 team which advanced to the Patriot League Tournament.
Continuity on Kinney’s coaching staff is noticeable as Gregg Durrah returns for his 14th season, Brandt Godshalk enters his sixth year, and Ian Law '06, a former All-Patriot League shortstop, begins his third campaign as an assistant coach. Kinney has led four of his previous six teams to the Patriot League Tournament and aims to return the League title back to College Hill for the first time since 2007.
Duties behind the plate in 2013 will fall primarily on sophomore Parker Hills, who split time a year ago with Kevin McCarville ’12. Hills, who earned a spot on the Patriot League All-Tournament Team, made 26 starts at catcher in his rookie season and posted a .235/.304/.272 slash line with 17 RBI and seven runs scored. After Hills, Lafayette will look to senior Thomas Dunleavy when he isn’t manning right field, sophomore Tim Lazor and senior Alex Osuchowski.
Three returning starters give the Leopards a familiar and experienced look in the infield heading into this season as seniors Brad Hopek, Kevin Casey, and Scott Kelleher will be called upon to take a starting role in their respective positions. Hopek, a lefty, started 46 games at first base and slugged three home runs last season. To his right, defensively, will be Casey, the team’s co-captain and Preseason All-Patriot League selection, who will also be called upon to pitch in certain situations. Kelleher returns to third base, where he made 113 starts during his first three seasons in Easton. Rounding out the Leopards’ infield is newcomer Andrew Landolfi, a shortstop from Springfield, Pa. and The Haverford School, who replaces three-year starter Brian Davila ’12.
The infield is an area with plenty of depth behind those four for Lafayette, headed by sophomore James McCool. McCool started 34 games last year at second base, shortstop, third base and designated hitter and garnered Patriot League Rookie of the Week honors after stepping in at second following an injury to Casey. Freshmen Tyler Hudson and Jackson Kramer can also each play multiple positions in the infield, while junior Eric Anderson and sophomore Rob Caliento provide reliable backups up the middle. Behind Hopek at first base will be 6-3 freshman Campbell Lipe, who comes to Lafayette from New Trier High School in Winnetka, Ill.
The right-handed hitting Lipe will also compete for time as Lafayette’s primary designated hitter with Hudson. Hudson provides Kinney with an option from both sides of the plate, while Osuchowski could also be penciled into the lineup at DH. Additionally, Sophomore Zach Gross will provide insurance at the first base and catching positions.
Across the Leopards’ outfield from left to right are returning starters, Andrew Ruck, Andrew Santomauro and Dunleavy. Ruck will serve as co-captain with Casey a year after starting 36 games, while Santomauro started all 52 games in centerfield and Dunleavy started 30. Santomauro received the Paul E. Koch ’28 award as Lafayette’s most valuable offensive player and hit for a .277 average with one homer, four triples, 12 doubles 21 RBI and 32 runs scored in 2012.
Sophomore Brett Thompson and classmate Matt Lerner will compete for immediate depth in the outfield, with Thompson able to play all three positions and Lerner playing in the corners and also at designated hitter. A trio of freshmen, Alex Nickles, Matt Lawrence and Mark Louis each bring tremendous defensive attributes to the Leopards’ outfield. Louis will also contribute in the bullpen for Lafayette this season.
Lafayette’s schedule opens with a pair of three-game series in which the Maroon and White will give the ball to sophomore left-handed pitcher Toby Schwartz, sophomore right-hander Alex Farina and senior lefty Michael Massa as starting pitchers. During that time, Lafayette’s fourth spot in the rotation will be up for grabs between junior left-hander Connor Ortolf, senior righty Derek Gussaroff and rookie southpaw Ari Kaufman. Of that group, the two non-starters will be key components of Lafayette’s bullpen.
Right-handers Ben Meer, Rob Tatum, Corey Sperra and Mitch Leeds will bridge the gap between the starters and the end of the game. Freshman left-hander Ryan Callanan will also be called on from the pen, while classmates Connor McMahon, Dan Dymecki and Louis round out the relievers.
Lafayette’s 2013 opener is set for Saturday at Noon when the Leopards challenge Georgetown and will be followed by an afternoon contest against Davidson. The Leopards and Wildcats then meet again on Sunday at Noon from Davidson’s Wilson Field. Check back to GoLeopards.com for a preview of opening weekend on Friday.