Let’s play ball!


By Celeste Simmons | Published March 3, 2016

The air is getting warmer, the frost is starting to melt away, which can mean only one thing, spring is coming.As exciting as warmer weather is it’s even more exciting in the college sports world because it means baseball season is here.

Last season the Kean University baseball team held a record of 35 wins and 12 losses. They also won the NJAC tournament championship for the 6th time. The team had a great last season despite losing one of their main players, Andy Lopez, who suffered a season ending injury after the 7th game.

Kean, which was top seeded, was defeated in an elimination game by number 6 seeded
Misericordia University at the NCAA division III Mid-Atlantic regionals. Recently the team has been ranked by two national preseason polls, Collegiate Baseball and D3baseball.com. They were placed fifth by D3baseball.com in its top 25 and sixth by Collegiate Baseball.

This year Coach Neil Ioviero has his sights set on a winning season and he plans on getting
there with hard work and great teamwork.

“The goal basically is to get back to basic things that our program was built on for years
and years,” said Ioviero. “Which is centered around team chemistry, playing really hard, and wanting to win more than the other teams we’re playing.”

The team for this season is made up of 18 returners and 16 new players, many of which
are freshmen.

“We have a lot of new guys this year, so we’re just trying to get them acclimated really quick.”said Ioviero

Ioviero stated that there are many reasons for so many new athletes. One of the reasons
being that the team needed some “new blood.” He also spoke about two stand out freshman, Shayne Fontana who is from Lebanon, N.J. stating that he will be a starter for this season and Tyler Hopman who is a pitcher from Old Bridge.

“He’s really unique because as a pitcher he throws the ball as a lefty and righty, he can pitch with arms so he’s pretty valuable.” Ioviero said.

As well as speaking about freshman, Ioviero spoke about returning players as well.

“Andy Lopez is back,” Ioviero said. “He was injured all last year. He’s a really good player, I think he’ll make a big difference for us.”

Lopez batted .423 with four doubles and five runs scored before he became injured. In 2014
he was named All-ECAC, First-Team All-NJAC, and earned All-New Jersey Collegiate Baseball Association honors.

So far the season has started with one win and two loses but Ioviero is hopeful for more wins.

“Practices have been going good,” Ioviero said. “We’ve been able to get outside a few
times despite the weather. I like the energy and commitment that we’re getting.”


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