AMHERST, Mass. – Amherst College baseball is coming off their program's fourth New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) championship and is poised to make a run into the NCAA tournament for the second consecutive year and tenth time.
They will do so under new management, as they welcome Head Coach J.P. Pyne to Amherst fresh off a three-year stint as the Head Coach of Clark University.
"One of the things that excited me most about the opportunity to lead the Amherst baseball program was the expectations on this program year in and year out," said Pyne. "There's a lot of leadership on this roster. A lot of guys with high expectations and these guys have really worked to exceed these expectations."
Returning sophomores Kai Terada-Herzer and Joe Palmo will be mainstays in the Amherst outfield. Palmo played in 36 of the 38 games last year, and was second on the team with 137 at-bats. Palmo hit .314 with 43 hits, including two triples, and scored 21 runs while swiping seven bases. Terada-Herzer had a .404 on-base percentage and scored 18 runs while drawing 18 walks.
All-NESCAC selection Severino Simeone '20 will handle the duties behind the plate for the Mammoths. Simeone blasted two homers and drove in 17 runs last year. Defensively, Simeone recorded 192 putouts and caught 11 runners stealing.
Heading into his senior year, Nick Nardone will be a mainstay at third base and brings some pop to the lineup after lacing nine doubles and two homeruns a year ago. Nardone hit .280 and slugged .409 while scoring 21 runs and collecting 25 RBI.
After the departure of Max Steinhorn '19 and Harry Roberson '19, the middle of the Amherst infield will be filled with players looking to step into a larger role this year.
Sophomore Kaylen Xie will spell Simeone behind the plate, as will classmate Kevin Schroeder, who had three doubles and four RBI in just 27 at-bats last year. First year Chris Murphy can play a utility role in the Amherst infield this year as well.
The Amherst rotation will include senior hurler Andrew Ferrero, who had four victories and a sparkling 2.21 earned run average last year. Ferrero threw seven and a third shutout innings and earned the victory against Tufts in the second game of the NESCAC tournament last year, then went 6.2 with six strikeouts and just one earned run in the NCAA tournament.
"I think the strength of the team is going to be the veteran pitching staff," said Pyne. "It will be anchored by Ferrero, who is really the consummate ace of the staff."
Davis Brown '19 led the 2018 team with five victories and struck out 41 batters in 51.0 innings. Andrew Nagel '20 returns for a sophomore year, while Landry Mayo '21, Wilson Taylor '19 and transfer from Columbia Jack Harlan bolster the Amherst pitching staff.
Mike Dow '19 brings extensive closing experience back to the bullpen, after saving seven games a year ago. Dow posted a 1.33 ERA, allowing just three earned runs in 20.1 innings with a 7.97 K/9.
Fellow lefty Carson Glazier '20 and righties Jason Marshall '21 and Jordan Aucoin '21 offer versatility out of the bullpen, and first year Sachin Nambiar could develop into a significant contributor on the bump.
Looking at the Schedule
As usual, the Mammoths open their season in Florida, where they will face several out-of-region foes (Anderson (Ind.), Wisconsin Steves Point, Utica, & Concordia Chicago). Amherst will also face off against UMass Dartmouth and will have a rematch of last year's NCAA Regional game against Southern Maine.
The home opener will be on March 22nd at Memorial Field when Dean comes to visit.
NESCAC play starts March 29th at Wesleyan, followed by a doubleheader the next day at home against the Cardinals.
Amherst will also play a home-and-home series against Little Three rivals Williams, will host Elms on April 10th, and will entertain Middlebury on April 19th & 20th for a NESCAC series.