Baseball Musketeers Picked To Finish Fourth In Atlantic 10

Junior Seth Willoughby was named First Team All-Atlantic 10 last season.
Junior Seth Willoughby was named First Team All-Atlantic 10 last season.

Jan. 24, 2012

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. -- The Xavier baseball team was picked to finish fourth in the Atlantic 10 Conference in 2012 in voting conducted by league coaches. Defending A-10 champion, Charlotte, was picked to win the conference with Rhode Island and Dayton taking second and third respectively.

Last year XU marked its fifth-straight 20-win season and its second 30-win season in three years with a 30-27 record in 2011. The Musketeers also made their sixth-straight appearance in the Atlantic 10 Tournament.

Despite losing Xavier's all-time homerun king, Ben Thomas, the Musketeers look to be a force in the conference with a strong returning corps. XU returns all three of its starting pitchers including 2011 All-Rookie selection sophomore Vinny Nittoli and left-handed hurling junior Jon Richard. 2011 First Team selection junior Seth Willoughby will provide the Musketeers with a strong bat and solid pitching in relief. Sophomore outfielder Brian Bruening will be back in action after being named a 2011 A-10 All-Rookie selection.

The 2012 schedule is going to test the Musketeers right out of the gate as XU opens play at nationally-ranked North Carolina with a three-game series beginning February 17 in Chapel Hill. Kentucky, Northwestern, Pitt, Michigan, Michigan State, Indiana and local rivals Cincinnati and Miami (Ohio) will all test XU in the non-conference slate.

XU opens the home portion of the schedule March 16 as the Musketeers host Toledo in a three-game series. Local foes Wright State and Ohio will take the field at Hayden Field April 3 and May 8 respectively. The annual two-game series against UC will be played April 24 and 25 with the Musketeers hosting the first game.

The Atlantic 10 schedule will once again be challenging as the Musketeers host defending conference champion Charlotte March 30-April 1 and the always-tough Billikens of Saint Louis April 13-15. XU will also face off against last season's conference tournament runner-up Richmond April 6-8 on the Spiders' home turf.