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New Era Begins for Terrier Baseball in 2019

New Era Begins for Terrier Baseball in 2019

A new season brings the beginning of a new regime for Hiram College baseball as 2019 gets set to begin next week.

New head coach Phil Brua takes over the helm of the Terriers starting a new chapter following the retirement of former head coach Howard Jenter. Jenter had served as the leader of the program for 32 seasons.

With him, Brua sees a wealth of experience returning, not only to the batting order, but to the pitching rotation as well.

Looking to lead the infielders once again are juniors Curtis Caithaml and PJ Suso. Both players were named All-NCAC honorees as sophomores following the 2018 season.

Caithaml, who saw a majority of time in the outfield last season, will move into the corner infield where he will see significant time at third base. One of the most consistent hitters for Hiram in 2018, Caithaml hit .402 while leading the Terriers with 25 runs scored.

Caithaml spent time in the order at both the front and the back end of the lineup, but that never changed his consistency. He tallied a hit in all but six games in 2018, registering 14 multi-hit performances and finishing the year on a 12-game hitting streak.

Piece number two of a five-man infield that will be made of upperclassmen, Suso returns for his second year at second base.

An Honorable Mention All-NCAC selection last year, PJ led the Terriers in power hitting. The middle infielder tallied a .566 slugging percentage in 2018 and posted 12 extra-base hits including five home runs.

Appearing in 30 games last year, Suso ranked in the top 20 in the conference in batting average (.343), slugging percentage, on-base percentage (.441) and home runs. He collected seven multi-hit games while posting three, three-hit performances.

Other players that will see time at third include Parker Emerine and Kyle Workman, while juniors Mike Eversole and Tyler Haas will provide depth and innings at second base.

At short, the Terriers see the return of junior Vito Petrillo after he missed a majority of the 2018 season due to injury.

Petrillo was pegged to be the everyday starter at short last season after playing multiple positions during his freshman campaign. During the 2017 season, he hit .280 at the dish, collecting 21 hits and 10 RBIs. Along with Petrillo, sophomore Tommy Dailey will eye time in the middle infield.

Sophomore Zachary Bailey would like to fill a larger role at first base, while both seniors Christian Owens and Justin Joyce will vie for time. Bailey appeared in 14 games at first last season. He collected 10 hits while posting eight RBIs.

Looking to work the battery with the pitching staff, senior Alex Gould will spend a majority of his time behind the plate after a 2018 season that saw him split time at catcher and third base.

Named of the team captains for the 2019 campaign, Gould was one of the most consistent catchers for Hiram last season. He hits .298 in 2018, posting 28 hits and 15 RBIs. Additionally, he posted a .906 fielding percentage behind the dish.

Other players that will see a role at home plate include freshman Devin Houdeshell and sophomore Luke Brown. Brown appeared in 11 games last season, posting 11 hits and five RBIs as part of a platoon of catchers.

In the outfield, returning starters, senior Alex Perrella and sophomore Vince Suso, will once again return for another season.

Perella was named one of the team's captains for the 2019 season and will patrol center field for the second straight year. Last season, Perrella posted a .971 fielding percentage, coming just two errors in 70 chances. His best offensive production came two years ago when he hit .313 with 16 RBIs.

Suso will take on the day-to-day duties in left field in his second season with the program. In just his first season with the Terriers, Vince was a cornerstone to the outfield, appearing in 33 games. He finished the year ranked second on the team with 39 hits and a .351 average. His 20 RBIs and 15 extra-base hits were also a team best.

Junior transfer student Gavin Taulbee will look to bolster both the defense and the batting order as he comes to Hiram following a pair of years with Lorain County Community College. In two years with the Commodores, he hit a combined .392 while stealing 18 bases and scoring 38 runs.

Additional players that will see time in the outfield include senior Kyle Harris, junior Nate Shorts, sophomore David Paus and freshman Andrew Church.

On the mound, the Terriers also return a wealth of experience with eight letterwinners back for the 2019 season. In the rotation, Justin Humphry will look to continue his growth after making six starts as a freshman in 2018.

Junior Logan Huffman returns from injury and will take on a starter's role this season. As a freshman, Huffman was one of the top relievers in the NCAC, posting a 2.30 ERA in 15.2 innings of work. Joining Humphry and Huffman, junior Shawn May will once again take a starters' role in 2019, and will be joined by incoming sophomore Jeff Spencer.

Other returners that will see time on the bump include Joyce, Owens, Eversole, seniors A.J. Armstrong and Sebastian Jenkins, junior Kyle Harris, and sophomore Case Wiles. Newcomers Declan Ange, Phillip Moore and Matt Norton will all also vie for time.

Hiram opens the 2019 season on Sunday afternoon in Fort Myers, Fla. as they take on the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy. The Terriers will play eight games during their spring break trip before returning north.

Hiram's first home game of the season is scheduled for Sunday March 19 against Grove City College, while the NCAC home slate is set for April 19 against Denison University.