The Yellowjackets baseball team is looking forward to a productive season in which many fresh faces will take the field to gain collegiate experience and hopefully improve on last season’s record of 15-18-1. “We are a younger and deeper team than last year,” head coach Joe Reina said. “Last years team had a lot of older players with experience. This year, we will have some freshmen getting playing time.”

Key freshmen additions to the Yellowjacket nine include Dan Pfhol in the middle infield, southpaw Steve Foley on the mound and Chris Rosembaum behind the plate. Also contributing to the Yellowjackets bid for national recognition is a group of transfers to the pitching staff. Sophomores Mike Zollweg and Stewart Swayze and freshman Kyle Struble will provide depth in the bull-pen.

Anchoring the team will be UR’s returning players who will provide experience and leadership to the young squad. Reina is especially expectant of sophomore shortstop Adam Bravemen. Bravemen, an All-University Athletic Association selection last year, had his season cut short by a collision at the plate but has returned bigger, stronger, and faster than before he left. Bravemen is also valuable as a reliable utility player.

“Adam has played third, short, and second in the fall and played them extremely well. He will be somewhere in the lineup and is a tough kid that benefits our team,” Reina said. Senior Justin Davis, sophomore Joe Ullman, and junior Justin Sansone return to the bullpen to lead the pitching staff. They will be supported by senior Jeff Jakubowski, a leader who knows how to handle the different pitchers on the staff.

After spending a week in Sanford, Florida battling conference opponents in the UAA Championships, the Yellowjackets opened their regular season with a double-header in New Jersey versus Rutgers-Camden. UR defeated the Scarlet Raptors in the opening game 5-2 behind a five-hitter from Zollweg. The right-hander put in a strong performance and pitched a complete game that consisted of three strike outs and only one walk.

The Yellowjackets scored three runs in the second inning when the Scarlet Raptors walked junior first baseman Mike Lesczinski and senior third baseman R.J. Johnsen to put men in scoring position. Rosenbaum drilled a double to bring Lesczinski home and back-to-back singles by senior designated hitter Ryan Hanley and Pfohl brought home two more.Hanley and Pfohl each batted in two more runs during the fourth inning.Rutgers-Camden pulled a tight 4-3 win over the Yellowjackets in the second game. UR tied the Scarlet Raptors 3-3 in a 7th inning comeback, but the home team edged another run in the bottom of the seventh to notch a win over the Yellowjackets. The Yellowjackets are currently 4-4 and will open their home season Friday March 26 against SUNY Fredonia.

Schloss can be reached at aschloss@campustimes.org.



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