Spring Sports Preview: Baseball


Izzy Pulido

Ryan Thomas

Pitching win championships, offense sells tickets. It’s a cliché by now. The Red Sox try to embody it and now the UMass Boston baseball team is following suit. Their offense might not sell tickets, but their pitching will certainly win games come springtime.

The Picasso of pitching, and reigning Little East Conference Pitcher of the Year, Nick Conway is back for another season of dominance over the teams of the LEC. As a sophomore, Conway led the Beacons to one of their more successful seasons in recent history by topping the league in shutouts (2) and complete games (7) while ranking second in strikeouts with 82 in 86 IP and holding his opponents to a skimpy .233 batting average.

The only way fro Conway to go is up, and his coach Brendan Eygabroat has nothing but good things to say about his ace. “[Nick has a] tremendous work ethic and should have another strong season for the Beacons.” With a 90 mph fastball, a curve and a plus-change-up that he uses as his out pitch, Conway seems to be a lock to repeat as LEC Pitcher of the Year.

To compliment Conway, the Beacons have senior Jamie Soto, a pitcher that Coach Eygabroat believes will make up the latter of a very good one-two punch at the top of the rotation.

The Beacons lost 9 one-run games last season and Coach Eygabroat made it a point to solidify the bullpen in the off-season in order to improve the team’s record in close games.

The Beacons pitching staff ranked third overall last season with an ERA of 4.48 so the pitching is not the primary concern for the Beacons, it’s the offensive production. The Beacons sat in the bottom third of their conference in batting average, on-base percentage and total bases in 2006, but with senior leadership and a few key additions over the winter, the Beacons are looking at an increase in both offensive production and the number in their win column.

“Last year we moved up from sixth to fifth in the league and this year we hope to make the jump into the top half of the league,” Coach Eygabroat said. “Having strong team leadership is a key component to any successful season.”

The teams to beat in the LEC this season will be Eastern Connecticut State and the University of Southern Maine, both of which are ranked in the top eight nationally among Division III colleges.

The Beacon’s 2007 season begins with a trip to Arizona for a week’s worth of spring training with their regular beginning on March 26 when they visit Bridgewater State College. The Beacon’s first home game will be played on March 29 against Johnson and Wales University.