Villanova Baseball Looks Ahead to 2018 Season



Villanova Baseball Looks Ahead to 2018 Season

Kevin Gamgort

As February approaches, the dawn of a new Villanova baseball season is on the horizon. 

The ‘Cats hope their results differ from last year, when they finished with a disappointing 14-33 record. The Wildcats placed sixth in the Big East, with a 5-13 conference record. 

Villanova is returning 23 players from last year—seven of these members are starters. This is a positive sign, as the team is young and hopes to build off last years’ experience. 

The ‘Cats have 10 pitchers returning, headlined by standout starters Ryan Doty and Jonathan Rosero. It will be interesting to see what the staff decides to do with the rest of the pitching rotation, as they have an extensive bullpen of options. 

The ‘Cats are led by second year head coach Kevin Mulvey ’13, a former standout pitcher for Villanova. With a young and undecided pitching rotation, there is not a better coach to evaluate pitching talent than Mulvey. 

Prior to being head coach, Mulvey played professional baseball from 2006-2012, going back in forth between the MiLB and MLB. After retiring in 2012, he became  Villanova’s assistant coach and coordinated the program’s recruiting process. 

The recruiting process is one in which Mulvey tries to attract talent locally. 

“We want to attract the best talent in the area and get them to come to Villanova,” Mulvey said. 

At the age of 32, Mulvey is a young coach with an impressive baseball resume. However, after making the jump from assistant to head coach last year, Mulvey noticed a difference in the role. 

“It’s a big adjustment,” Mulvey said. “I would say the biggest adjustment is the fact that you’re going from just being a coach to having a multitude of responsibilities.” 

Just as the young team does, Mulvey also looks forward to building off the experience of last year in hopes of a better 2018 season. 

The ‘Cats will be playing 2018 without one of their core players over the past few years, Todd Czinege, who graduated this past May. Czinege was a four-year starter at Villanova, and one of the best position players the University has seen. He finished his astounding career with a .307 batting average, .369 on-base percentage and a .431 slugging percentage. Unsurprisingly, Czinege was drafted in the 29th round of the MLB First-Year Player Draft by the Colorado Rockies in 2017. 

With Czinege out of the picture, Mulvey is not concerned about the loss. 

“Anytime your best hitter leaves it would be a little comical to say your lineup got better, but believe it or not I do believe our lineup got better,” Mulvey said. “I feel like last year there were a lot of guys on the team that were reliant upon Todd [Czinege] and we relied on him to get a hit.” 

With Czinege gone, Mulvey believes the team has matured and is more confident in their ability to get on base, instead of relying upon their star player. 

The Villanova Wildcats play their home games at Villanova Ballpark in Plymouth Meeting, Pennsylvania, where they have played since 2003.  

The Wildcats open up the season Friday, Feb. 16 at Norfolk State, who possessed a 26-22 record last season. Villanova opened up their season with the same series last year and were swept by Norfolk State. They are looking for a different result this time around. 

The ‘Cats play a three game series over the weekend and then head to Los Angeles to play USC. It will be a tough start to the season on the road for Villanova, as they play two highly competitive teams. However, this experience could bode beneficial in the long haul.   

With the ‘Cats on the road for the beginning of the season, their first home game will be March 13th against LIU Brooklyn. The contest will be played at Villanova Ballpark at 3:30 p.m.