ShareThis Page
Vulcans spring-cleaning memories of last season |

Vulcans spring-cleaning memories of last season

| Sunday, April 8, 2001 12:00 a.m

Heading into the 2001 college baseball season, the big question hanging over California University of Pennsylvania’s program was this: Can the Vulcans shed the stigma of finishing dead last in the western division of the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference•

Those 2000 Vulcans, you may recall, finished a woeful 6-14 in the league, dropping the last nine games to conference foes by a combined score of 64-37.

But with the new season just a few weeks old, it appears that the Vulcans have already swept away the memories of last spring’s disaster. Cal U, now at 15-10 overall, has won its first four games against PSAC-West competition to find itself atop the division standings.

Coach Mike Conte’s squad opened league play with a sweep of Clarion (4-1 and 1-0), and followed with a sweep of Edinboro (10-4 and 12-4).

Next up for the Vulcans are PSAC-West twinbills with Slippery Rock (Wednesday) and at Indiana (Saturday) and Clarion (April 17).

Staking an early claim on first place is certainly a good way to start the campaign. But staying in first could prove difficult.

Last year’s squad, after dropping a pair to Indiana, reeled off five straight PSAC-West wins, giving rise to title hopes. Those hopes were dashed during the final two-thirds of the season, when Cal U managed just one victory in the final 13 division games.

If Cal U is to stay in the race, it will need good pitching. So far, so good. The Vulcan staff has fashioned a tidy 3.06 earned run average this spring, its hurlers allowing just 142 hits in 153 innings.

Jason Foreman, the 6-3, 205-pound junior, was 3-1 with a 1.69 ERA after five starts. Foreman, with three complete games, has limited opponents to a measly .177 batting average and has walked 10 and fanned 23 in 32 innings.

Ryan Balan, another junior, notched a pair of wins in two route-going efforts, including a shutout. His ERA stood at an impressive 0.57 after two starts and two relief appearances. The 6-1, 195-pound Whitby, Ontario, native allowed just seven hits in 15.2 innings, walking six and striking out an impressive 17 batters.

Sophomores Scott Belcastro (2-2, 2.22) and Bobby Saddler (1-1, 3.86) and junior Brad Markovich (2-1, 3.43 with 2 saves) have started a combined 13 times. And freshman Nick Damico (3-3, 5.82) has earned a decision in each of his appearances. Ian Heisel, who had not allowed an earned run in four appearances, checked in with three saves.

Sophomore outfielder Bryan Hartung opened the campaign with a hot bat, ripping opponents for a .388 batting average and, thanks to eight doubles, a triple and four home runs, a lofty .716 slugging average. He also leads the team with 22 runs batted in.

Ditto for Brian Stoecklein, the junior shortstop who had a .351 average, 10 doubles and 14 RBI.

Junior outfielder Brad McClelland was hitting .325 with a pair of homers, three triples and a double, and Foreman, who also plays third base, was hitting .319 with 10 RBI and a team-leading 12 walks.

Jeff Boyle, a senior infielder who shares captains duties with Foreman, was sporting a .313 batting average. And Balan, who also plays outfield, was sporting a .294 average.

First baseman Jim Booth (.286), outfielder Wayne Loyer (.286) and middle infielder Scott Van Sickle (.226) – all of them juniors – round out the cast of regulars. Justin Pifer, Bob Winwood, Frank Morgan, Duke Nave and Ryan Nemshick are the top bench players.

Categories: News
TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.