2014 Xavier Baseball Season Preview: Pitchers/Catchers

Klever is slated to start this weekend.

Klever is slated to start this weekend.

Feb. 10, 2014

CINCINNATI - Xavier baseball is set to start its 2014 campaign Friday, Feb. 14, against Toledo at Fluor Field in Greenville, S.C. The Musketeers are coming off of a 32-26 record a year ago, which included a 16-8 mark in the A-10.

Head coach Scott Googins returns for his ninth season as skipper of the program and will usher the Musketeers into their first season in the BIG EAST. Xavier returns 26 players from last season's roster and welcomes seven newcomers to the squad. Over the next three days, GoXavier.com will preview the 2014 team, starting with the pitchers and catchers.

The Musketeers welcome 10 pitchers back in 2014, including seniors Vinny Nittoli (RHP) and Scott Klever (RHP) and juniors Alex Westrick (LHP) and Jacob Bodner (RHP).

XU has big shoes to fill from three of the departed pitchers. Jon Richard (LHP) graduated as one of Xavier's most-prolific pitchers, starting more games than any pitcher in program history (57) and ranking second in innings pitched (368), second in career wins (26) and fifth in strikeouts (212).

Tyler Koors and Alex Vice also graduated after leaving their mark on the program. Koors' 42 career starts rank tied-eighth all-time and his 264.2 IP sits ninth. Vice served as the Musketeers' closer last year, amassing nine saves (fourth all-time) in a season where he also registered a 2.23 ERA.



Xavier's weekend rotation will most likely consist of Adam Hall, Klever and Nittoli. Hall missed the 2013 campaign due to injury, but was a regular on the mound in 2012 for the Musketeers. He registered a 2.70 ERA with a 1-1 mark in 16 appearances, while fanning 25 batters with just 10 walks.

Nittoli will split time this season on the mound and in left field when not pitching. Last year, he went 2-2 with a 4.73 ERA in 12 appearances and was one of Xavier's leaders at the plate, hitting .281 with 41 RBIs and 36 runs scored.

Klever spent the majority of last season as Xavier's midweek starter, compiling a 5-4 record with a 3.70 ERA in 14 appearances. Westrick appeared in 12 games, starting seven, and posted a 3-3 record with a 2.79 ERA. Although he still has two year's eligibility left, Westrick's career 2.26 ERA currently ranks second-best in Xavier's annals. The Musketeers will be without the services of Bodner, who was a significant contributor from the pen, due to injury.

Juniors Sean Campbell (RHP), Zach Johnson (RHP) and Daniel Przeniczny (RHP) are the other three returning Musketeers who saw significant time on the mound. All three served in relief, with Campbell making 13 appearances (0-2) with a 6.20 ERA. Johnson pitched in 11 games (0-1, 9.53 ERA) and Przeniczny appeared nine times (0-0, 6.08 ERA).

Senior Markus Kuykendoll and sophomore Eric Stiene return to the pitching corps after sitting out last season with injuries. Kuykendoll will bolster Xavier's bullpen.

The Musketeers welcome freshmen Trent Astle (LHP), Jason Hall (RHP), Greg Jacknewitz (LHP), Brad Kirschner (LHP) and Ethan Schmidt (RHP) to their stable of pitchers this season. Jason Hall, Jacknewitz, Kirshner and Schmidt will pitch some key innins in the bullpen.

Xavier's stable of catchers is anchored by sophomore Daniel Rizzie, who is a nominee for the 2014 Johnny Bench Award. Following a freshman campaign where he hit .283 with 12 RBIs and 15 runs scored, Rizzie was named to the Atlantic 10 All-Rookie Team.

Derek Hasenbeck, who split time with Rizzie behind the plate last season, will continue to see some time behind the plate on Rizzie's off days, but will also see time at designated hitter and first base. Hasenbeck was one of the Musketeers leaders at the plate, batting .261 with 35 runs, 33 RBIs and 16 doubles.

Junior Joey Noble, who redshirted last season, and freshman Glen McClain round out Xavier's catchers.