2013 Xavier Baseball Preview: Pitchers and Catchers

Vinny Nittoli will be in the starting rotation for the third-straight season.

Vinny Nittoli will be in the starting rotation for the third-straight season.

Jan. 28, 2013

CINCINNATI - The 2013 Xavier baseball season kicked off with the first practice this past Friday. Head coach Scott Googins and the Musketeers look to build on a 28-28 record and 13-11 mark in the Atlantic 10 last season. XU is returning the majority of its roster, including a strong corps of pitchers.

Pitching Staff Overview
On the mound Xavier only lost two players, Seth Willoughby who was drafted by the Colorado Rockies and Nathan Mutsch who graduated. Last season's weekend rotation of Vinny Nittoli, Jon Richard and Tyler Koors all return to the mound for their third season as starters. Nittoli, Richard and Koors led XU in starts last season and combined for 141 strikeouts.

Alex Westrick, Zach Johnson and Scott Klever will figure into this season's starting rotation as well. Westrick was named to the A-10 All-Rookie team in 2012 after registering a 1.57 ERA with 38 strikeouts in 17 appearances. A transfer who is eligible to compete this season, Johnson has emerged as contender for a starting position. Klever tied for third on the team with four wins last year.

After missing the 2012 season due to injury, Markus Kuykendoll will be back in the Musketeers' bullpen. Kuykendoll will be joined by Alex Vice, who posted a 5-3 record with a 3.00 ERA last season. Joe Forney, Daniel Przeniczny and Jacob Bodner will see a lot of innings this season as well. Austin Lane, Eric Steine, Jarred Marks and Sean Campbell are also in Xavier's pen and available for use.



Impact Pitcher
Vinny Nittoli will make an impact on both the mound and at the plate. The redshirt junior is a true power pitcher who has the talent to post double-digit victories. He posted a 4-5 record and 3.94 ERA in 14 starts last season. Nittoli hit .258 with 11 walks and 13 RBI in only 62 plate appearances.

Catcher Overview
Sophomore Derek Hasenbeck is the incumbent starter for the Musketeers, after appearing behind the plate in 32 games last season. The Poway, Calif., native was one of Xavier's top hitters in 2012. Freshman Dan Rizzie will also see time at catcher for XU this season. Rizzie arrived on campus with a strong reputation for his defense, but proved he could be an asset at the plate during fall ball.

Jake Forrester, who showed notable gains during the fall, and Joey Noble, who continues to rehab some nagging injuries, complete Xavier's crew of catchers.