Baseball America, one of the nation’s high-est regarded auth-orities on the nat-ional past-ime, has sel-ected two Bobcats as Players to Watch for the upcoming season.
Seniors Albert Marano, of Lin-coln, Rhode Island, and Richard “Buddy” Bengel of New Bern, North Carolina, were both selected by the magazine because of their outstanding play in previous years.
Last season, Morano led the team in batting average (.329), home runs (seven) and runs batted in (29). Bengel, the Bobcat’s ace, won six games as a started and posted a team low 2.66 earned run average.
“I was honored to see that Baseball America selected me as first team pre-season all conference selection. However my goal is to see this team win the NEC’s championship; that is all that matters to me,” Morano said. “At the end of the season if I was selected to be on first team all-conference, it would be an honor but I really want that championship trophy.”
The men’s baseball team was picked to finish fourth in the NEC according to the pre-season poll. Bengel believes that fourth is a good spot for the Bobcats to be in but reminds us that pre-season rankings are nothing more than just predictions.
Quinnipiac won 14 games last season, a school record at the Division I level, but failed to make the playoffs.
Morano remains optimistic about the team’s chances this year. He said, “To achieve our goals, I feel we’re going to have to win more then 14 games. Overall, this is the most talented team QU has had since I’ve been here, so I feel that the sky is the limit.”
The start of this year’s baseball season marks the last for Bengel and Morano, both seniors. Both players attribute the program’s recent success and growth to Coach Dan Gooley, who took the team over after previous head coach Joe Mattei retired.
Bengel said, “Skip took over a program that was struggling, and in just two years turned a Quinnipiac baseball team from the laughing stock of the NEC into a team that is going to contend for an NEC title.Since coming here as a freshman our program has taken strides in leaps and bounds.”
Both Bengel and Morano believe that this year will be a success for the men’s baseball team. Morano said, “This year, I really feel this is the best team I have ever been a part of here at Quinnipiac University.”
“When someone looks back at this year, I want them to say that this was the team that brought Quinnipiac back to prominence,” Bengel said. “This is the hardest working team I have ever been apart of, and together we have dedicated ourselves to a common goal [winning the NEC].”
The Bobcats begin play March 6 down south, as they travel to Pitt Field, Virginia, to play a double header against the University of Richmond Spiders.