2011 UMW Baseball in Review

 The University of Mary Washington baseball team added another in a long line of successful seasons in 2011, finishing with a 27-15 record, advancing to the Capital Athletic Conference Championship round for the fifth time in six years, and maintaining a national ranking as high as 22nd in the country. Under the direction of 24th year head coach Tom Sheridan, the Eagles, with just four seniors on the roster, posted victories over six different conference champions and went a combined 12-6 against teams that advanced to the NCAA Tournament.

 The Eagles started the year red hot, winning their first nine games and jumping into the national rankings. UMW counted victories over Christopher Newport, Messiah, and Penn State-Altoona during the streak, and also started their Capital Athletic Conference slate with three wins over Stevenson University.

 After topping Gettysburg and Randolph-Macon, the Eagles dropped a pair of series in league play before bouncing back to take a twinbill at Gallaudet University. After struggling at the end of March, UMW rebounded as the calendar turned to April, winning four of six, including two of three against eventual CAC Tournament champion Frostburg, to build momentum entering the conference tournament.

 The Eagles found themselves with their backs against the wall immediately, falling on the road to St. Mary’s in the first round of tourney play. UMW saw the bats awaken, and topped top-seeded Salisbury, 11-3, in the second round before eliminating Wesley College, 11-7, to advance to the conference championship round.

 Needing a sweep over Frostburg, the Eagles easily handled the Bobcats, 15-6, in the opener, before falling, 9-5, in the deciding game. Following the league tournament, the Eagles won three of four games, including a second win over Landmark Conference winner Catholic University and a 12-7 win in the finale at Ferrum College.
 UMW saw four players named to the All-CAC team, as seniors Eric Rehbein and Jackson Clement and junior Brent Steffey were named to the first team, and freshman Beattie Southerland gained second team honors. Rehbein closed his career with a .370 average with two home runs, 36 RBI, and 34 runs scored, and also went 5-4 on the mound as UMW’s \#1 starter. Clement hit .385 with five homers and 35 RBI, and Steffey, in his first year at UMW, hit a team-high .393 with nine doubles, 27 RBI, and 29 runs scored. Southerland hit .355 with 34 runs scored in the two slot in the Eagles’ lineup.

 Among the pitchers, sophomore Michael Straub emerged as the number two starter, going 6-0 with a 2.21 ERA in six starts, and senior lefty Parker Talbert led the team in ERA with a 2.07 mark with a 4-3 record in 10 outings. Sophomore Torey Mancari led the team with 18 appearances, all in relief, and posted a 4-1 record with a 2.36 ERA. Freshman Ben Sisk also notched a sub-3.00 ERA in five appearances with a 2.45 mark.

 In all, the Eagles hit 332 as a team while limiting opponents to a .267 mark, with the staff posting a 3.86 team earned run average. Ten different pitchers won at least one game during the season, and among the hitters, eight regulars hit at least .300 on the year.