Feb. 15, 2012
Boca Raton, FL - A talented pitching staff, one of the Sun Belt Conference's top hitters and several new faces will lead a Florida Atlantic University baseball team seeking a return to postseason play two seasons after winning a conference title and advancing to the championship game of the 2010 NCAA Division I Gainesville Regional.
Head Coach John McCormack's 2011 squad posted 32 victories, captured the season series with South Florida rival University of Miami, tied for fourth in the challenging SBC and had several players advance onto playing professional baseball.
In anticipation for this spring season, www.fausports.com will take a positional breakdown of the Owls, examining the infielders.
Florida Atlantic will have a totally new infield, including a brand new double-play combination, following the graduation of four seniors. Senior catcher Mike Albaladejo will anchor the infield unit as a three-year starter, but behind the plate as a catcher. He is now being asked to lead the infield from second base. Replacing Albaladejo at catcher will be junior Mike Spano, a potent hitter.
Fellow junior Mark Nelson looks to hold down the first-base assignment after receiving a handful of starts at the position last spring. Nelson can also play third base and one of the two corner outfield positions.
Freshmen Mitch Morales and Ricky Santiago will split time to replace Nick Delguidice at shortstop. DelGuidice started every game in his three-year career and is now a member of the Kansas City Royals minor league organization. Morales was a 42nd round draft pick of the Washington Nationals last summer. Meanwhile, Santiago was the Florida 6A State Player of the Year last spring and will also see playing time at second base.
Holding down the hot corner will be junior-college transfer Kyle Newton. Sophomore Robert Buckley and Devon Workman provide depth to the infield, while Billy Golding and Dylan Siegel are newcomers that will round out the unit.
"We lost a lot of experience with the graduation of Nick Delguidice, Raymond Church, Dan Scheffler and Sean Bukovich," noted McCormack. "We rotated a lot of guys during fall practice into the shortstop position to find those holes. Mike Albaladejo's move to second base helps us offensively by getting Mike Spano's bat into the lineup. Albaladejo did a good job making the adjustment throughout in fall practice. There will be some growing pains and adjustment to be made, but by late March the guys should have settled into their roles in the infield."
The Owls begin the 2012 season on February 17 against the University of Alabama of Southeastern Conference. The team's home opener will follow a week later, on February 24 at 6:30 p.m. against Manhattan College. It will begin a four-game weekend set. Live audio and statistics of all games can be found at www.fausports.com.
For season tickets visit www.ticketmaster.com or call the FAU Ticket Office at 1-866-FAU-OWLS.