Head Coach Nino Giarratano of the USF baseball team is pretty confident in his team this year, believing that this season could be the year for the Dons to make an attempt at a National Championship or at least a West Coast Conference (WCC) title.
“We have a real veteran team with 23 of 34 players returning from last season,” Giarratano said. “We expect few contributions from new players and most of our game from the veterans.” However, a couple of first year Dons can expect some frequent playing time. Giarratano explained, “We plan to get some help from Pete Lavin, who is a transfer, and Freshman Abe Bobb, who will be an excellent addition as a right handed pitcher.”
Key players such as such as 2009 All-WCC first teams senior SS Derek Popert and senior RHP Doug Murray. Last season Murray finished with a perfect 9-0 with a 3.77 ERA. Poppert had a great season last year and will look to continue his productivity. He finished the year with an impressive .352 batting average while tallying 52 RBIS, 41 runs and 16 stolen bases.
Though the Dons aim with high hopes at a National Championship, the deeper meaning to this season will really be about the players aiming at their maximum potential said Giarratano. He explained that the only way for the players to reach that potential will be from being well balanced, fearless people that make good choices on and off the playing field and from being able to recover when in a state of recovery.
The Dons expect to be well balanced this season with academics and competition, they’re planning to be able to turn negative outcomes into positives, and they, at the fore most, want to have fun and play with a passion for the game. Their season opens on February 19 against Pepperdine.