Falcons To Play Four Games In Three Days In Florida
Falcons To Play Four Games In Three Days In Florida
The Air Force baseball team (3-8) looks to get back on track this weekend with four games from Thurs.-Sat., March 3-5, in Bradenton, Fla. The Falcons take on Northeastern (1-1), Valparaiso (0-3) and IPFW (1-2) at the IMG Academies and Lehigh (1-0) in a Saturday night-cap at Manatee C.C.
Air Force enters the weekend with a record of 3-8 after going 0-3 at the 2005 Service Academies Spring Classic at USA Stadium in Millington, Tenn. On Friday, the Falcons went up against a strong Memphis team, losing 10-4. On Saturday, Air Force lost to Navy, 5-3, for their first loss to the Midshipmen since 1998. The Falcons wrapped up the tourney with a 9-3 loss to Indiana State. Sophomore Karl Bolt was named to the All-Tournament team with two home runs over the weekend.
The Falcons are batting .292 as a team. Bolt headlines the AFA offense with a .371 average and a conference-leading six home runs, .971 slugging percentage and .558 on base percentage. The Air Force pitching staff has a 9.76 earned run average led by junior righty Paul Pratt, who is 1-2 with 15 strikeouts in 19.2 innings pitched.
Head Coach Mike Hutcheon
Mike Hutcheon begins his second year as the head coach of the Falcons. Prior to his stint at the Academy, Hutcheon spent the last four years at Bethel College in Mishawaka, Ind. and compiled a record of 130-78 during his tenure there. In 2002, Hutcheon was named the National Christian Collegiate Athletic Association (NCCAA) National Coach of the year after leading Bethel to the 2002 NCCAA national title. Prior to his stay at Bethel, Hutcheon coached at Belhaven College in Jackson, Miss., for five seasons where he went 109-62. Through ten seasons as a head coach, Hutcheon has compiled a 248-197 record and is 9-57 at Air Force.
Scouting The Opponents
The Huskies of Northeastern, located in Boston, Mass., enter the week with a 1-1 record. Led by Neil McPhee, in this 20th season at Northeastern, the Huskies are batting .270 after two games. Senior right-hander Devin Monds leads the Northeastern pitching staff with with eight scoreless innings pitched to go with six strikeouts.
The Crusaders of Valparaiso, located in Valparaiso, Ind., are 0-3 heading into the week. Valpo is led by Paul Twenge, in his 18th year as head coach.
The Mastodons of IPFW (Indiana-Purdue Fort Wayne), located in Fort Wayne, Ind., are 1-2 on the season. Led by Billy Gernon, in his 5th year at the helm, the Mastodons are batting .269 as a team. Their top hitter is senior Ryan Steinbach, who is batting .428. The IPFW staff has an ERA of 7.27.
The Mountain Hawks of Lehigh, located in Bethlehem, Pa., are 1-0 on the season. Led by Sean Leary, in his 10th season as head coach, the Hawks defeated Coppin State, 9-3 in their first game.
The Falcons play Valparaiso, IPFW and Lehigh for the first time ever...AF and Northeastern are tied 2-2 all-time with the Huskies winning the last meeting, 7-6, in 1990...AF outfielder Matt Musser (Madison Memorial) and Valpo P/OF Patrick Paulus (Monona Grove) both hail from Madison, Wisc. ...Jon Polston (Indianapolis - Ben Davis HS) and Troy Jeffers (Terre Haute - Terre Haute South Vigo HS & Lincoln Trail CC) both are natives of Indiana...Brent Doty of IPFW and Jeffers both played at Lincoln Trail CC...Air Force head coach Mike Hutcheon was an assistant coach from 1991-93 under legendary coach Tim Hill at Manatee C.C., a Florida juco baseball powerhouse that has won 12 state titles...Right-hander Jeff Tetrault is the lone Falcon from the state of Florida, hailing from Boca Raton (Spanish River Community HS).
Air Force batted .242 at the Service Academies Spring Classic and were held to just 10 runs in three games...Karl Bolt leads the MWC in home runs (6), slugging percentage (.943), walks (12) and on-base percentage (.558)...Reid Lamson leads the MWC in stolen bases (7) and has a nine game hitting streak...Matt Ghigna has a seven game and Brent Tittle a six game hitting streak...Troy Jeffers tripled vs. Navy...Geno Salazar doubled vs. Navy...Dale Kasel is second in the conference with 10 walks and is tied with Karl Bolt for the conference lead with 4 hit by pitches...Andrew Vasquez singled in his lone at bat...Austin Ferreria and Price Paramore are looking for their first hits of the season.
The Falcons had a team earned run average of 6.23 over the weekend to lower their overall ERA by nearly two runs...Travis Fugler allowed no earned runs in 4.2 innings of work vs. Memphis...Paul Pratt has logged seven innings in two of his three starts...Sam Rosener pitched a career-high three innings vs. Indiana State...Price Paramore struck out a career best 3 batters vs. Memphis...Andrew Goss made his first relief appearance of the season after making two starting appearances to start the season...Mitch Brown appeared in two games in relief.
The Falcons fielded .955 over the weekend...The Falcons have played five error free games through 11 games this year...At the same point last year, the Falcons had played zero error free games and had only eight errorless games in the entire 2004 season...Jon Polston leads the conference with seven runners thrown out attempting to steal...Polston has thrown out seven of 16 base runners attempting to steal, good for a 43.8 % percentage...Karl Bolt is second in the conference with 96 putouts...Nate DeRohan is 5th in the MWC with 34 assists.
Pos. Player (Yr./BA/HR/RBI/SB)
1B Karl Bolt (So./.371/6/13/1) Named to Service Academies All-Tourney Team
2B Geno Salazar (So./.300/1/5/1) Has started eight games at second
SS Nathan DeRohan (Sr./.279/3/9/1) Has started 66 consecutive games
3B Troy Jeffers (Fr./.317/0/6/0) Hit .357 in Millington last weekend
LF Brent Tittle (Sr./.348/1/13/1) Leads team with 16 hits and 13 RBI
CF Reid Lamson (Sr./.389/0/3/7) Leads team in hitting, runs and stolen bases
RF Matt Ghigna (Fr./.289/0/9/5) Swiped three bases in first career game
C Jon Polston (So./.227/1/1/3) Hit first career home run vs. Southern Utah
DH Dustin Smith (Jr./.500/0/4/0) Returned from torn ACL in '04 to go 4-for-5 in first game
Pos. Player (Yr./W-L/IP/BB/K)
P Paul Pratt (Jr./1-2/19.2/7/15) Leads team in innings and strikeouts
P Travis Fugler (Sr./1-2/12.2/7/3) Earned first career win with six solid innings vs. NDSU
P Andrew Goss (So./0-2/11.0/6/5) Looking for first win of the season
P Paul Vignola (Jr./0-1/11.1/2/10) 10 K's to just two walks so far this year
Bolt Named to Service Academies All-Tournament Team
Sophomore first baseman Karl Bolt was named to the 2005 Service Academies Spring Classic All-Tournament Team for his efforts this past weekend. Bolt led the Falcons by batting .375 over the weekend hitting two home runs at USA Stadium in Millington, Tenn.
Bolt's first home run of the weekend broke up a no-hit bid in the fourth inning against Memphis pitcher Stephen Gostkowski. His second home run was a monster blast that cleared the left field fence by over 40 feet against Indiana State. Bolt also had an on-base percentage of .615 for the weekend, reaching base eight times.
The two long-balls gives the Stockton, Calif., native three home runs at the tourney as he hit a grand slam a season ago against Murray state. Bolt now has a Mountain West Conference leading six home runs on the season.
Bolt, Pratt Sweep MWC Player & Pitcher of the Week Honors
Karl Bolt and Paul Pratt were named MWC Player and Pitcher of the Week, respectively on Feb. 7.
Bolt was 6-for-13 (.462) with a pair of home runs, 4 runs scored and 6 RBI in a 4-game series vs. Southern Utah. He was 2-for-3 with a home run, 2 RBI and 2 runs scored in game one, 2-for-3 with an RBI and run scored in game three and 2-for-4 with a home run, 2 RBI and a run scored in game four. Bolt had 3 multi-hit games, reached base 10 times in the series and had 29 putouts from the first base position.
Pratt, from Tooele, Utah, tossed a complete-game 5-hitter in Air Force's opening game vs. Southern Utah, giving the Falcons an 8-2 victory. In his first appearance since serving a two-year mission, he struck out 7 batters, while allowing 2 earned runs and 2 walks. After allowing a run in the first inning, Pratt went on to toss 5-consecutive shutout innings before giving up his second run of the game.
Up Next: Northern Colorado
The Falcons have little time to rest as they return home Sunday, then travel three hours up north on Tues. March 8 to take on Northern Colorado for a noon doubleheader in Greeley. The Falcons are then off for the following ten days before beginning Mountain West Conference play at UNLV from March 18-20.
Young and inexperienced, the Falcons stumbled to a 6-49 season in 2004, finishing sixth in the Mountain West Conference with an 0-28 conference mark. The Falcons batted .285 as a team, led by freshman third baseman Karl Bolt's .349 average. The Air Force pitching staff had a steep 12.16 earned run average and were led by sophomore right-hander Clayton Couch, who led the team with a 3-7 record, 7.79 ERA and 47 K's in 71.2 innings pitched. Couch was named to the Mountain West Conference All-Tournament team for his complete game win over BYU.