Wilmington Baseball Voted No. 19 in NCBWA National Preseason Poll; No. 2 in East Region
Thursday, January 30, 2014 - Newark, Del.
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Josh Hampton looks in on his teammates surrounding the plate after he hit a walk-off home run against So. New Hampshire in the 2013 East Region Tournament. Copyright 2013; Wilmington University. All rights reserved.
Frank Samluk was a vital two-way player for the Wildcats in 2013, roaming the infield and pitching. He struck out 12 New Haven batters in a East Region Tournament win to keep WU alive. Copyright 2013; Wilmington University. All rights reserved.
Matt Lopes bats against St. Thomas Aquinas (probably resulting in a single), as he went 4-for-4 against the Spartans in the East Region Tournament. Copyright 2013; Wilmington University. All rights reserved
Another preseason baseball poll was released and the Wilmington University baseball team was once again in the mix, prior to starting the much anticipated 2014 season in late February. The National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association placed the Wildcats second in the East Region and 19th in NCAA Division II.
In addition to the team polls, the NCBWA released the 2014 NCBWA Preseason All-East Region Teams on Wednesday, and five Wildcat student-athletes were recognized.
After an outstanding 2013 NCAA East Region Tournament, junior catcher Matt Lopes, senior third baseman Josh Hampton, and junior utility man Frank Samluk were named First Team NCBWA Preseason All-East Region. Junior left-handed pitcher Ray Gambone and senior closer Nick Marics were named Second Team NCBWA Preseason All-East Region as well.
Lopes batted 8-fo-18 in five games in the East Region Tournament last year, scoring five runs while knocking in four. He went a perfect 4-for-4 with a walk against St. Thomas Aquinas to keep the Wildcats alive. He was named Second Team NCBWA All-East Region last year a sophomore.
Hampton set a program record with 24 doubles last season, but will be most remembered for his walk-off home run in the bottom of the 10th on the first pitch he saw against Southern New Hampshire in the East Region Tournament to send the Wildcats to the championship game. He earned First Team NCBWA All-East Region as a junior last year.
Samluk was named Second Team NCBWA All-East Region last year as a two-way player, playing the infield and pitching. He struck out a season’s best 12 batters in seven scoreless innings in the NCAA East Region Tournament against New Haven, keeping the Wildcats alive. He also tossed a seven inning no-hitting against Molloy in Florida, and batted .315 mainly as a second baseman.
Gambone led the team in wins and strikeouts last year, going 9-1 with a 2.05 earned run average in 16 appearances. He struck out 66 batters in 88 innings of work. He tossed eight scoreless innings against St. Thomas Aquinas in the East Region Tournament, keeping the Wildcats alive. He was named Second Team NCBWA All-East Region as a sophomore.
Marics set a new program record with 31 appearances out of the pen as a junior, leading the team with eight saves. He tossed 34 innings and finished with a 2.38 earned run average, posting a 5-3 overall record. The team went 25-6 in the 31 games he pitched in. He picked up wins against Felician and Southern New Hampshire in the postseason last season, and earned First Team All-CACC.
The Wildcats finished 41-14 last season and finished No. 8 in the final NCBWA National Poll. This year, the team starts at No. 19, tied with Drury (Mo.) with 110 points. Tampa earned 12 first place votes and 348 points to earn the top spot.
Franklin Pierce, the team that defeated the Wildcats in the East Region Tournament Championship, takes over the top spot in the East Region Poll, earning 83 points and five first place votes. The Wildcats are second in the East, earning three first place votes and 79 points. Southern New Hampshire earned the final first place vote and took home 77 points to sit in third.
The 2014 season begins for the Wildcats on February 21 against Mercyhurst (No. 10 in Atlantic Poll) in Petersburg, Va. The Wildcats will also take on Mansfield and Saint Rose during that weekend in Petersburg, Va.
To view the entire NCBWA National and Region Polls, click here.