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Vermont Travels To Vandy To Open 2009 Baseball Slate PDF Print E-mail
Written by VT Sports Network News Feed   
Thursday, 26 February 2009

The Vermont Catamounts step up in class to open their 2009 baseball season traveling to Nashville to take on perennial national power Vanderbilt of the SEC. The Catamounts and Vandy open the three-game series Friday at 7 p.m. with the first pitch on Saturday at 3 p.m and Sunday at 2 p.m. (all times Eastern). Live stats and free streaming video are available for all three games.

The Catamounts head into the campaign with 16 letterwinners back from a team that won 27 games a year ago (27-24, 12-11 America East) and advanced to the America East Championship for the fifth time in the last seven seasons. Returnees for coach Bill Currier, who begins his 22nd season Friday, include six members of last season's everyday lineup and three quality starting pitchers. Five of the returning players were honored by the America East in 2008 on its All-Conference, All-Rookie and All-Academic Teams.

The Commodores (2-3) split four games with Stanford and California on the West Coast last weekend before returning to Hawkins Field to top Western Kentucky, 10-7, in their home opener Wednesday.

On The Hill ...
Friday's game will feature the mound aces for both teams as Cats senior lefty Joe Serafin (Tariffville, Conn.) faces Vanderbilt junior lefthander Mike Minor (0-0, 3.18 ERA). UVM senior southpaw Justin Albert (Hull, Mass.) goes up against sophomore righty Caleb Cotham (1-0, 1.29) on Saturday and freshman RHP Bobby Dean (Danvers, Mass.) makes his debut against senior RHP Nick Christiani (0-0, 4.50) in Sunday's series finale.

Serafin and Minor each have received several preseason honors as both were named to the 2009 Preseason Brooks Wallace National Player of the Year Watch. The 2008 America East Pitcher of the Year, Serafin went 6-5 last season with a conference-best 2.51 ERA. Minor went 7-3 with a 3.18 ERA in 2008 and this winter was named to the Golden Spikes Award Watch list and was selected to several preseason All-American Teams.

Cats Picked Fourth In America East Preseason Poll ...
Vermont was picked to finish fourth in the America East Preseason Coaches Poll announced by the conference earlier in February. Binghamton, winners of the last two regular season championships, was a narrow first place choice receiving four first place votes and 34 points. Stony Brook, the 2008 America East Champion, was just behind with 33 points and three first place vote. Maine was picked third with 24 points, two ahead of the Catamounts with Albany (12 points) fifth followed by Hartford and UMBC who tied for sixth with 11 points.

Leading The Catamounts ...
Seniors Joe Serafin, Keith Rakus (West Suffield, Conn.) and Jeff Nolet (Concord, Mass.) along with junior Ethan Paquette (West Burke, Vt.) will captain the Catamounts in 2008. Vermont also has two other seniors on the roster in Justin Albert and 2B Brad Currier (Essex Junction, Vt.).

Super Sophs ...
Sophomores SS Matt Duffy (Milton, Mass.) and OF Mark Micowski (Haddam, Conn.) were named to the 2008 America East All-Rookie Team after strong freshman seasons. Duffy was also selected to the Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American Team after hitting .308 with 18 doubles and 33 RBI. A speedy centerfielder, Micowski hit .285 and tied for second in the conference with 16 stolen bases while tying for sixth in walks (30) and 11th in runs scored.

Summer Stock ...
Justin Albert is coming off his second straight solid season and he has ranked among the top seven in the America East in ERA over the last two years. In 2008, he went 5-5 with a 3.65 ERA, seventh in the conference, and tied for sixth in strikeouts. He went on to have an excellent summer as an all-star for Holyoke of the wood bat New England Collegiate Baseball League recording a 7-0 record with a 2.01 ERA and 53 strikeouts in 53.1 innings.

Milestones ...
Joe Serafin enters his senior year with a 17-10 career record and he is tied for sixth all-time in victories at Vermont. He is fourth in career innings pitched (233.2) and in his final start of 2008, he became the fifth pitcher in school history to record 200 strikeouts. Senior RHP Keith Rakus is just outside the Vermont top 10 in pitching appearances with 48. Senior catcher Jeff Nolet is 11 hits shy of 100 for his career. Friday's opener will be the 100th career game for 1B/OF Ethan Paquette, who was named to the 2008 America East All-Academic Team. Paquette hit an improved .321 last season, second on the team, after just .231 as a freshman.

Wallace Award Watch ...
UVM is the lone America East school and one of two in New England to have have two players named to the 2009 Brooks Wallace National Player of the Year Preseason Watch List. In addition to Joe Serafin, junior outfielder Justin Milo (Edina, Minn.) was named to the watch list for the award given by the College Baseball Foundation. Milo, who also skates for the ninth-ranked Vermont men's hockey team, also was selected to the 2009 Preseason National All-PingBaseball.com Third Team. He led the team in several hitting categories last year including a school-record 8 triples that tied for third in the NCAA. Milo will join the baseball team at the conclusion of hockey season.

Scouting Vanderbilt | WEBSITE ...
The Commodores, who have been to the NCAA Tournament three straight years, are not ranked in the preseason for the first time in several seasons. Coach Tim Corbin, who grew up in Wolfeboro, N.H., has 20 letterwinners back but only four regulars from last season's batting order. Top hitters returning hitters include 1B Andrew Giobbi and OF Steve Liddle. Key losses for Vanderbilt include All-American 3B Pedro Alvarez, the second overall pick in the June Major League Draft. In 2007, Vandy lefty David Price was the first pick in the draft and he closed out last season for the AL Champion Tampa Bay Devil Rays.
This is the first meeting on the baseball diamond between Vermont and Vanderbilt, and UVM's first-ever action against an SEC foe.

Common Background ...
Bill Currier and Vandy skipper Tim Corbin are both proteges of former Vermont coach Jack Leggett, now the coach at Clemson. Currier played for Leggett at Vermont and later was on his staff at Western Carolina. Corbin came to Vanderbilt after assisting Leggett at Clemson.

Cat Nips ...
Sunday's probable starting pitcher Bobby Dean is one of 11 freshmen on the Catamounts and among the team's eight rookie hurlers ... Vermont has three natives of Milton, Mass., Matt Duffy, junior RHP/OF Tom Kelly and freshman infielder James Katsiroubas. All three were members of the 2007 Milton American Legion team that won the Northeast Regional Championship and advanced to the American Legion World Series ... Kelly will see time in the outfield this season after competing last season exclusively on the mound where he led the team with 21 appearances ... Freshman RHP Harry Glynne (Hamden, Conn.) saw action last summer for the German National Team in the European U-21 Championships ... Coach Bill Currier has two new assistants on his staff. Former Cats standout infielder Mike Cole is back on the staff after three years at Manhattan. He is joined by pitching coach Josh Santerre, a native of Essex Junction, Vt., who was a standout hurler at Manhattan. Keith Carter is back for his second season on the staff.

On Deck ...
After the Vandy series, the Catamounts next play at another SEC power Mississippi. The three-game series at Ole Miss is Friday to Sunday, March 6-8.

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