Cardinals set to begin 2011 season on Saturday at home

Cardinals set to begin 2011 season on Saturday at home

WASHINGTON – With temperatures soaring to unseasonably warm levels, it's a great time for the CUA baseball team to begin its 2011 season.  The Cardinals welcome Neumann to Talbot Field on Saturday afternoon with the first pitch slated for 1 p.m.  CUA posted a record of 22-17 a year ago, including a 13-5 mark within the Landmark Conference.

Saturday's game is the first of five straight at home for the Cardinals to begin the 2011 season.  Following this weekend CUA will host Christopher Newport and Gettysburg next week.

Head Coach Ross Natoli is now in his 26th season guiding the Cardinals and has led CUA to three straight Landmark Conference Tournament appearances, having won at least 20 games in each of those years. 

The Cardinals leading returners on offense include Dimitri Deoudes, Dave Grear and L.J. Travaglia.  Deoudes hit a team-best .417 in 2010, while Grear smacked six home runs, tops on the Cardinals, and Travaglia pounded out 44 hits, second only to Deoudes' 48.

Senior Ron Esposito leads the CUA pitching staff after posting a 5-3 record a year ago, to go along with a 2.56 ERA and 35 strikeouts in 52.2 innings.  Classmate Jack Mahoney threw the second most innings of any returning hurler for CUA with 46.2 in 2010.

Like CUA, Neumann will open its 2011 slate on Saturday.  The Knights went 20-18-1 a year ago, including a 12-6 record within the Colonial States Athletic Conference (CSAC).

Neumann batted .313 as a team and will be led on offense by Bobby Callan (.410) and Matt Grossi (.333) as well as all-conference performers Mathieu Vallieres (.336) and Joe Armata (.291). 

Pitching figures to be a strongpoint for the Knights, who return all five of their starters, including Josh Krautwald and Russ Gilliam, who went a combined 10-3 with 111 strikeouts between them.

CUA and Neumann will get started at 1 p.m. on Saturday.