February 1, 2011

Bobcat Baseball Season Preview: Pitching

MILLEDGEVILLE, Ga. – With this weekend’s season-opening series fast approaching the No. 4 Georgia College baseball team and head coach Tom Carty will give Bobcat fans an inside look at the defending Peach Belt Conference (PBC) and NCAA Southeast Regional Champions. The preview will be released over the next three days, starting with the pitchers.

The three-man rotation for this weekend’s series will most likely be seniors Ryan Parson (Madison, Ga.) and Jason Nicholas (Wright City, Mo.) followed by sophomore Mike Guinane (Glenview, Ill.).

Parson has two seasons under his belt as a Bobcat hurler, the majority coming in relief. He was 1-1 with an 8.89 ERA and two saves in 14 appearances in 2010. Parson is a “strike thrower with good off-speed stuff command. His four pitches are better suited to a starter’s role.”

Nicholas was a solid No. 2 starter last year for the Bobcats, going 7-2 with a 4.33 ERA over 81 innings in 2010. “He’s a big strong lefty, with a hard fastball that will beat most teams.” His improved work on conditioning should pay off this year.

Guinane was a mid-year addition to the Bobcat roster, transferring from John A. Logan Junior College in Illinois. An “ultra-competitive guy” he’s a confident pitcher that goes after hitters with good movement on his fastball.

Senior and 2010 All-PBC selection Eric Pettepher (Gordon, Ga.) will factor into the starters after the weekend, as the righty went 7-1 with a 5.19 ERA in 14 starts in 2010. Pettepher’s advantage is his competitiveness, and he is working on a fourth pitch to the arsenal.

Also planned to battle for a rotation spot was Matt LaMothe (Troy, Mich.) who was held out early with a minor injury. A junior, LaMothe is a Division I transfer from Oakland University where he was a No. 1 or No. 2 starter. Big 6-foot-7 righty Chris George (Woodstock, Ga.) will also push for a starting spot. He had a good fall season, and throws strikes with both his fastball and off-speed stuff.

Another Division I transfer, Walker McKinven (Lake Bluff, Ill.) comes from Binghamton University. McKinven throws strikes, and will “contribute big as the year goes on”.

The back end of the bullpen doesn’t feature anyone in a specific closer role, but senior Tanner Moore (Thomasville, Ga.), junior Luke McKay (Augusta, Kan.) and freshman Matthew Robinson (Hull, Ga.) will pitch near the end of games, according to matchups.

Moore threw in five games a year ago with a 5.40 ERA, as he continued to recover from an injury that held him out of the 2009 campaign. Moore has good composure, and worked extremely hard this summer. McKay and Robinson are two-way players, both figuring heavily into the infield picture. McKay features a power fastball and curve, while Robinson is a side-armer, poised for a big future with the Bobcats.

Also in the pen, sophomore Michael Jeanes (Peachtree City, Ga.) tossed 1 2/3 innings of scoreless relief in 2010, and will factor into the mid- to late-relief corps.

Newcomers Blake Snyder (Lawrenceville, Ga.) and Taylor Hart (Colbert, Ga.) are both recovering from injury and will become larger factors later in the season. Freshmen Tripp Sheppard (Shady Dale, Ga.) and Connor Battle (Johns Creek, Ga.) are slotted to redshirt, but may be pulled into duty if others don’t perform as expected. Bradley West (Athens, Ga.) is injured and will miss the season.

With heavy competition for starting spots and an active and athletic bullpen, it may be tough to score off the 2011 Georgia College baseball squad.

The Bobcats begin the 2011 season Friday, Feb. 4 with a 3 p.m. doubleheader at No. 5 University of Tampa.

The Georgia College Department of Athletics, back-to-back winners of the PBC Commissioner's Cup, sponsors 10 varsity athletic programs at the NCAA Division II level. As a Division II program, Bobcat Athletics prides itself on balancing the life of the student-athlete, evidenced by the teams' multiple appearances in post-season competition as well as documented academic success and community-service involvement. Sign up at www.twitter.com/GCSUBobcats and www.facebook.com/gcbobcats for up-to-the-minute reports, and visit www.GCBobcats.com for more information, and to nominate your favorite former Bobcats and Colonials to the GC Athletics Hall of Fame.