Trips To Louisiana Are Beneficial To @Towson_BASE
Courtesy: Milton Kent,  
Release: 02/27/2013

The state of Louisiana has been awfully good to Baltimore area teams lately.

First, the Ravens won a Super Bowl title in the Superdome in early February. Then, the Towson baseball team returned from rather successful trips to Lake Charles and Thibodaux, La.

While the Tigers (4-2) didn’t exactly come home with the Vince Lombardi Trophy, they did leave the Pelican State with the best season start for the program in the last 11 years after visits to McNeese State and Nicholls State, respectively.

For Coach Mike Gottlieb, the wins were a nice byproduct of escaping the late winter chill of Towson, so his team could get in some regular work.

“That’s one of the reasons we come down here and play these games, to get the kinks out so they can work their way to their best level of baseball,” said Gottlieb.

Towson reached a pretty good level in their opening six game, especially on the mound, where they’ve worked to a team ERA of 2.02.

“We’re throwing strikes,” said Gottlieb. “We’ve gotten a couple of good relief performances from a couple of guys.”

Indeed, lefthanders Mike Ryan (bottom right) and Kyle Paul have yet to give up a n earned run in 9 1/3 combined innings of relief. Ryan, a senior from Gaithersburg, has surrendered just three hits and struck out four in 6 1/3 innings of work. He earned two victories in relief. Paul, a Hamilton, N.J. native, has struck out five batters in just three innings.

Meanwhile, Mike Volpe, a senior, has emerged as an early ace in the starting rotation, with an E.R.A. of 0.87 in two starts.

Volpe pitched in the Valley League, a summer league for college players last summer. The league’s reputation tends to favor offense. However, the Carmel, N.Y, native who pitched to an E.R.A. above eight last year for Towson, worked to an ERA of 3.75 over 50 1/3 innings in the Valley League.

Gottlieb said Volpe is doing “a nice job picking up the slack” left by an injury to Michael Trionfo, a pre-season All-Colonial Athletic Association selection.

At the plate, outfielder Dominic Fratantuono (left) is carrying over his sizzling play from last summer, hitting .385 with a home run and a team leading nine RBI's.

Those numbers earned Fratantuono CAA Player of the Week honors for the first week of the season and has positioned him as the anchor of the Towson lineup.

“He’s figuring out how to go about being a more sophisticated hitter,” said Gottlieb of Fratantuono. “Baseball people say he has an approach at the plate. He knows what he’s trying to do and where the pitch is that he can make that happen with. So far, he’s putting that into play very well.”

The Tigers are hitting .256 as a unit, and have scored just six runs in their last three games. However, as the calendar moves to March and the team can get more regular work in, as opposed to merely playing on weekends, Gottlieb thinks the team will find their groove.

“You want to get to a high level of play, so that when you get to the conference schedule (in mid-March), you hope we’re going to be closer to our best baseball than when we’re in the middle of February,” said Gottlieb.

Of course, they could always go back to Louisiana.



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