Delaware Baseball Heads South for 2011 Season Opening Series against UNC Greensboro
February 17, 2011
Photos Courtesy of Mark Campbell
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GREENSBORO, N.C. - - The 2011 campaign starts this weekend for the University of Delaware baseball team, as the Blue Hens head south to play in a three-game series against UNC Greensboro, starting on Friday.
The Blue Hens look to improve upon their 27-24 overall record from a season ago, and more importantly improved upon their 9-15 Colonial Athletic Association record from 2010. But head coach Jim Sherman feels that Delaware’s time is now, as that record could have been reversed if it wasn’t for a 1-6 record in one-run games in the conference.
“I think we were second in the conference last season in hitting”, Sherman said when talking about his pitching staff last season. “If you look at the numbers from an offensive standpoint and then look at the numbers in pitching…that should have equated to one of the four spots in the playoffs last year. So if we get pitching a little better this year and some kids have a breakout year, I think that is going to make a difference.”
Before the team can talk about CAA play and the playoffs, the Blue Hens need to get on a field and get back into the feel of the game. With the snow this winter, the team has been stored away in the Delaware Field House and the practice football fields.
That’s what a trip south to UNC Greensboro and a trip west next weekend to Arizona State will help with to start the season.
Again the team will be led by its offense, returning five of their top eight hitters, including First Team All-CAA members Pat Dameron (above right) and Steve Ulaky. The senior duo combined for 21 homeruns, 96 runs batted in, 84 runs scored, 38 doubles and a .386 average.
Dameron and Ulaky were named captains, along with fellow senior Dave Anderson (below left) in leading the Blue Hens this year. Anderson will anchor the defense as the team’s shortstop and look to hit over .300 for the second straight season.
“Ulaky and Dameron are our offensive engines,” Sherman said when talking about his senior trio. "As they go, we go offensively. We need those guys to have real good years. Dave Anderson is not quite the offensive threat those guys are but Dave needs to chip in with a good year himself, for Dave that is, and obviously play a steady defensive role. Those three guys know the importance of us needing to try and win earlier (in the season).”
The Blue Hens also return two sophomores to the starting lineup, as DJ Long and Hank Yates look to build upon a terrific start to their career. Long, named to the Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American Team last season, batted .350 while starting all 51 games at second base. Yates batted .313 in 39 games, all starts, coming on strong towards the end of the year. He will anchor the outfield as the centerfielder.
The big difference for this year’s team is in the pitching staff. With the loss of a proven number one, Sherman will look to a number of guys to fill the void.
“I don’t really know yet (who will replace Brian Rorick),” Sherman continued. “We have six or seven guys dumped into the pot and who emerges will have to be figured out with the numbers and starts, and back end starts. Games will be split up the first couple weekends, and we will see who comes out on top in the first couple appearances.”
Nick Young returns with the most starts on the mound (10), while Matt Soren (8), and Eric Buckland (7) are the only others with more than one. Matt Harden and Devon Pearson look to anchor the back end of the bullpen once again, as they had 21 and 20 appearances, respectively.
In the only other series played between the two programs took place in 2005, with UNC Greensboro coming out on top in all three meetings.
The Blue Hens open the series with the Spartans in a 4 p.m. start on Friday, followed by consecutive 1 p.m. starts on Saturday and Sunday.Back To Baseball Home Baseball Story Archive