Hartford, Conn. - The Trinity College baseball team, led by Head Coach Bryan Adamski (5th Season), will open the 2018 season against Case Western Reserve in Lexington, S.C. on Sunday, March 11, and play seven more games below the Mason-Dixon before hosting Eastern Connecticut on March 20 to begin its Northern schedule. The Bantams just missed the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) Tournament after finishing as the league runner=upm in 2016, but won nine of their last 10 games to finish 22-14. The squad returns to the diamond hungry to make a run at the postseason and boasting the experience, depth, and talent to do so. Eleven seniors return for their final spring in a Bantam uniform, led by captain Christian Orsini (Livingston, N.J.), while there are numerous highly-skilled players in every class ready to make an immediate impact.
Junior southpaw Erik Mohl (Milton, Mass.) burst on the scene in 2017, and established himself as one of the top starters in the league. He went 7-2 paired with a 2.55 ERA, and averaged 6.11 strikeouts per nine innings to collect All-NESCAC honors. Hard-throwing senior RHP Dan Marini (Nahant, Mass.) has enjoyed an excellent spring and will begin the year in the rotation after winning all four of his decisions and posting a 1.98 ERA out of the bullpen as a junior. Sophomore Alex Shafer (Baltimore, Md.), a 6-foot-4 right-hander, was Trinity's rookie of the year last spring, and looks build on that success, while freshman righty Justin Olson (Avon, Conn.) has been impressive enough early to earn a starting role. Senior Anthony Egeln Jr. (Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.) has significant experience both as a starter and in the bullpen, and will be a contributor where he is needed most. Shafer was 3-1 in eight starts and fanned 34 batters in 44.2 innings, while Egeln has logged 90 career innings and has pitched four complete games in his career.
Senior lefty McLane Hill (Marlborough, Conn.) will be the closer as the season kicks off, as he possesses the stuff and mentality to handle the role. Hill has struck out a mind-boggling 64 batters in the last two years and posted a 3.57 ERA last season as both a starter and reliever. Sophomores Andrew Deroche (North Reading, Mass.), who will make hid debut after missing his rookie yer with an injury, and Alex Herbst (Clarendon Hills, Ill.) from the right side and Colby Fortin (Bow, N.H.) from the left give Coach Adamski several viable relief options in front of Hill. Herbst and Fortin each made 15 appearances on the hill in their first season in navy and gold. Senior RHP Nicholas Fusco (Orange, Conn.) has been both dependable and versatile throughout his career, and Max Barsamian (Weston, Mass.) has shown promise ealy as a first-year righty arm. Junior Brad Whitman (Salisbury, Mass.) and first-year Christian Piantino (Woodcliff Lake, N.J.) round out the 12-man staff.
Trinity hurlers will have the luxury of three capable receivers this spring, led by 2017 NESCAC Co-Rookie of the Year Alex Rodriguez (South Windsor, Conn.). The sophomore catcher was a force defensively, throwing out eight of 22 potential basestealers and had a stellar offensive season. Rodriguez batted .342 and slugged .465 while scoring 21 runs and registering eight doubles, three triples, and 23 RBI. Fellow sophomore Mack Lauder (Chappaqua, N.Y.) is eager to bounce back from an injury-plagued rookie season, and first-year Eric Thronson (McLean, Va.) has been impressive behind the dish.
Trinity brings back seven veteran infielders who started at least 10 games in 2017. Junior Johnny Stamatis (Ridgefield, Conn.) is back at 1B after earning All-NESCAC honors as a rookie in 2016 and following up with 24 runs, a .311 batting average and a .447 on-base percentage last season. Senior 2B Cooper Mooney (Southbury, Conn.) returns at 2B after finishing second on the team with 29 RBI to go with a .300 batting average in 2017. Both Stamatis and Mooney figure to be fixtures in the middle of the batting order. Slick fielding junior Ben Reinisch (Troy, N.Y.) returns at SS, having impressed with 40 runs scored and 30 RBI in his first two springs. Bantam sophomore Matt Koperniak (Adams, Mass.) moves up to the hot corner full-time after playing 3B and OF as a rookie. The Trinity lead-off man was outstanding last spring with 32 runs, 20 RBI, 11 extra-base hits, and a .310 batting average. There is depth across the diamond, including seniors Tyler Forgione (North Branford, Conn.) and Carter Snyder (Lemont, Ill.) and junior Tyler Buckley (Mount Kisco, N.Y.). Forgione will fill in at 3B and should often be in the lineup as the DH. Snyder is a clutch-hitting, lefty 1B/DH option, and junior Buckley is adept at both middle infield spots and both corner bags. First-year lefty Gianni Valentini (Cranston, R.I.) provides further depth at 1B.
Outfield should be a strength of the team offensively and defensively with four seniors returning with a combined 662 career at-bats among them. Strong-armed Brendan Pierce (Hingham, Mass.) is back for his fourth year as a starter and will play CF. Trinity will also rely on Pierce as a run producer, as he led the NESCAC with five homers and has amassed 91 hits, 10 home runs, and 50 RBI in three seasons while collecting All-NESCAC honors once. Orsini and classmate Ryan Vultaggio (Vero Beach, Fla.) will start at LF and RF, respectively, while versatile senior OF Matt Toth (New Canaan, Conn.) is ready to step in at all three outfield spots. Junior CF Geoff Stillman (Scituate, Mass.) is fantastic defensively and has enjoyed an excellent pre-season, while classmate Ian Steckel (Winchester, Mass.) is a potent stick who will contribute more as he transitions to baseball from the wrestling mat. Joe Celio (West Hartford, Conn.) is an intriguing rookie outfield option.
Pitching will be the key, as Trinity's lineup is balanced and dangerous. The Bantams will also manufacture runs throughout the game, having finished fourth nationally in stolen bases (104 in 36 games) a year ago. If the staff behind Mohl fulfills its potential, Trinity should be among the best all-around clubs in the region. The experience of the 2016 playoff run combined with the bad taste left from last year's 5-7 conference mark could be the right mix for a run to the NESCAC title.