After winning the program’s second America East Regular Season Title last season, the UVM baseball team is poised to make another run.
In 2006, the Catamounts finished 16-8 on the season in America East and advanced to the conference tournament, where they finished third.
The Catamounts have been projected to finish third in America East play this year, behind defending champion Maine and Binghamton.
Head coach Bill Currier is entering his 20th season as the skipper of the Catamounts and feels that this year’s team offers more speed, balance, and versatility throughout the lineup.
He was named the 2006 America East Coach of the Year.
Currier pointed to defense and pitching as they keys for this year’s team’s success. “Defense is first, and we are returning strong pitching,” Currier said.
“You don’t hit everyday, sometimes you run up against a real good pitcher, and you have to rely on solid pitching and making defensive plays.
“It’s important in close one and two run games, we have to manufacture runs,” Currier said.
Pitching is one of the Catamounts’ strengths this year with a deep rotation, but they will be without Junior Joe Serafin, who is out for the season with an injury.
Junior lefthander Eric Thompson had a staff-leading 3.16 ERA last season.
Sophomores Keith Rakus and Jeremiah Bayer are also looking to step up in Serafin’s absence.
Rakus earned America East All-Rookie honors and Bayer lead the team in appearances in the 2006 season.
The return of junior lefty Kyle Henry, who is back from an arm injury, should also aid the Catamounts rotation.
Senior Brian Miles will also contribute to the rotation.
The bullpen, led by sophomores John Boyle, Justin Albert and freshman Derek McDonald will be crucial in the 55-game schedule.
“We’ve had some tough setbacks already, our best hitter, Miguel Magrass, is not eligible, and Joey Serafin who is America East All-Conference First Team just had leg surgery and is out for the year.”
The loss of Magrass doesn’t help the Catamounts’ offense, which lost two big bats in Kyle Brault – last year’s America East Player of the Year – and Jason Carey.
The Catamounts are led by senior co-captains Jim Chapman and Bryan Rembisz.
Chapman posted a .309 average last season with 27 RBI’s and 15 doubles.
Rembisz hit .282 with four home runs and 27 RBI’s.
The two anchor the Catamounts up the middle with Chapman at shortstop and Rembisz at second base.
Junior’s Kyle Henry, first base, and Kyle Massie, third, willoccupy the corners of the infield.
In the outfield is senior Will Huntington, who roams centerfield and will bat lead-off for Vermont.
Senior Nick Gallipani is at left field, while freshman Ethan Paquette will hold down the right side.
Sophomore Nate Matusick, redshirt freshman Brad Currier and freshman Bryce Shattie all newcomers to the team will add depth.
Sophomores Jeff Nolet and Jeff Jeppner will both get time behind the plate for the Cats.
“We need to focus on staying consistent and coming ready to play everyday, we are balanced and we need to stay hungry and want to win.”
The Catamounts are off to a 4-6 start this season, play-ing teams of all statures, including nationally ranked Texas Christian University.
The Cats play home opener is slated for April 3 against Plattsburgh State at Centen-nial Field with the opening pitch coming at 3 p.m.