This season, the NSU baseball team is making a statement to not only the Sunshine State Conference but also the nation. In the first 25 games of the season, the Sharks had a solid record of 17-8. Their most notable win came against nationally-ranked conference rival the University of Tampa.
While I have an obvious bias toward my own school, I believe that when you look at how well the Sharks compare to the competition it is no reach to say that they could be playing baseball well into May. With their record this season, the team should also be receiving some kind of national recognition.
NSU baseball is a team with a lot of experience with 17 of the 42 roster spots belonging to seniors, all of who are hungry for something more than just another average season.
Senior Shortstop Luis Penate, center fielder Andrew Durden, First Baseman Dusty Maggs, Pitchers Issac Hicks and Nick Avilla, and preseason All-South region selection Sean Albury have had standout performances. They have led the team in major statistical categories as well as on the field.
Another standout player is been freshman second baseman Carlos Asuaje, who hassled the season for the Sharks and has the third highest batting average on the team. Asuaje is a leading candidate for SSC freshman of the year.
The Sharks also rely on the strength of their pitching staff, which has done an excellent job throughout the season. With Torey Ekey, senior relief pitcher, Sean Tighe, junior starting pitcher, Tyler Redding, sophomore relief pitcher, and Mauricio Rodriguez, junior relief pitcher, the Sharks have had better numbers this season than in past years. The Sharks rank third in the conference in earned run average, hits and earned runs.
At the helm is a coaching staff with 26 years of combined experience at NSU. The staff is a big contributing factor to the number of Sharks playing professional baseball. Head Coach Greg Brown, Associate Head Coach Ray Romero, and Assistant Head Coaches Ryan Romero and Cliff Terracuso bring various talents to the team.
Although Brown is only in his first season at NSU but “I believe there is no a single person who lives, breathes and sleeps NSU baseball more than he does. Just from watching the team during batting practice, I can tell that Brown shares his knowledge and love for the game with his players.
As of April 1, the Sharks have five conference series that will count toward the overall conference standings. They will play two more conference teams in games that will affect regional standings.
When asked about why they receive little to no national recognition in the rankings from the voters, the players have taken on their coach’s attitude. They brush off the question and say “Who cares? It only matters where you are at the end of the season.”
The NCAA South Regional tournament begins on May 19, and the NCAA Division II College World Series begins on May 28. Don’t be surprised if you see the Sharks playing baseball in late May.