UNIVERSITY OF RICHMOND, Va. - Coming off back-to-back Atlantic 10 Championship game appearances, expectations for the Richmond Spiders are high entering the 2013 season. Despite the loss of terrific graduating class, Richmond should be right in the thick of conference race again this year.
Richmond begins the 2013 season against Bucknell this weekend at Pitt Field, with first pitch on Friday scheduled for 2:30 p.m. Like usual, the Spiders have plenty of home games early in the season, with 20 of the team's first 25 games to be played at the friendly confines of Pitt Field. Over the last four seasons, Richmond has posted a record of 66-47-1 (.583) at home.
After losing a tremendous senior class that included a pair of MLB Draft picks - Chris Cowell and Adam McConnell - the Spiders will look to the senior trio of Matt Zink, Jacob Mayers and Bret Williams to help fill that offensive void. Mayers, a First-Team All-Atlantic 10 selection last season, will shift from first to third base this year, while Williams will hold down the other corner infield spot. Zink will continue to hold down center field and bat leadoff for the Spiders.
A pair of freshmen will need to step up as well, as both Aaron Newman and Tanner Stanley are penciled in as Opening Day starters. Newman will look to fill the role of the Bryan Conway at catcher, while Stanley will look to help ease the loss of Phil Ruzbarsky in right field.
Unlike the lineup, the Richmond pitching staff returns all but one of its hurlers from last season. Leading the way will be 2012 Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Year Zak Sterling and redshirt-freshman Jonathan de Marte. The staff has a plethora of starting pitching options including Andrew Blum, Ryan Cook, and Chris Bates.
Coming off a terrific summer, junior Andrew Brockett will be the team's closer once again this season. Named the top MLB prospect in the Atlantic 10 by Baseball America, Brockett will look to improve on the six saves he registered a year ago.