The Ursinus College Baseball team is gearing up for their season. The Bears are ranked 7th in the Centennial Conference preseason poll and will look to improve on their 2019 (18-18) season with eight returning starters, a strong group of pitchers and leadership from their impressive senior class. The Bears are looking to make their first playoff run since 2017, of which only the senior class were a part.
That senior class is comprised of Dom Fiorentino, Alex Mumme, Mike Stanziale, Jake Supran and Kyle Supran. These players were a part of the 2017 team which lost in the Centennial Conference Championship game to Johns Hopkins. Senior Jake Supran (the Grizzly Sports Editor) is confident that the team can make a run this year. “We just have to find a glove with our throws and have consistent timely hitting.” Supran adds, “Our team culture will be a big part of our success because everyone wants to see each other succeed both individually and as a team.”
The team graduated two strong starters in David Drea and Carter Usowski. Drea, a pitcher, appeared in 13 games last season, striking out 18, while Usowski, an in-fielder, appeared in all 36 games and had a career batting average of .319. Although the team has lost two big pieces from the 2019 class, the Bears will be able to continue on with their tight-knit team culture and top talent.
Alex Mumme is coming off an incredible junior season in which he made history more than once for the Ursinus College Bears and the Centennial Conference. Most recently he was named a Preseason All-American by D3baseball.com. Following last season, D3baseball.com labeled him First-Team All-American while ABCA/Rawlings had him as Second-Team All-American. He is the first Bear to earn these honors, as well as being the Centennial Conference Player of the Year. Mumme’s countless records and achievements are extremely impressive, but the out-fielder remains humble and hungry for more. “I owe all of my success to the coaching staff, my teammates and the four other seniors that have made this trip with me. I hope to help this team do whatever it takes to win a championship this year.”
Dom Fiorentino has been a big part of the team’s success in recent years as well, with a batting average of .353 last year and a team-high of 10 triples. This total was a program record which had previously been set by Mike Gizzi in 2003 with 7. Fiorentino believes this is the Bears’ year. “As long as we’re consistent with our play on both sides of the ball, I feel we have a real shot to win the Centennial Conference and make a run into the NCAA tournament.”
Jon Moldoff is coming off an impressive freshman season, which culminated in the honor of receiving rookie of the year. The first baseman thrived in RBIs with 44 (third in the conference) and had a strong batting average of .343 with one homerun. Moldoff looks to continue to shine for the Bears this season as they hope for a playoff run.
Among pitchers, the team returns innings leader Nick Defeo, along with junior Nolan Graber who received Rookie of the Year honors in 2018. The pitching staff as a whole has some work to do after finishing last in earned runs average and last in strikeouts in the conference. However, Graber knows that the staff has the potential to improve and mentions, “We have been grinding in the weight room and it has been showing on the field in practice.” Graber trusts, “We as a pitching staff need to command the zone and pitch to our full potential.”
The Ursinus College baseball team returns to play on Monday, March 2nd against Rutgers-Camden at Thomas Field. The Bears play at home 15 times this season and celebrate their seniors on Saturday, April 18th.