8. WILMINGTON WILDCATS (43-13)

WILMINGTON WILDCATS (43-13)
After running away with the CACC regular season and conference titles, Wilmington was in good position to advance to the DII Championships. WU dropped their first game in the East Regional, but responded by winning three straight to set up an opportunity to advance to Cary. The Wildcats were ultimately stymied in a rematch with Franklin Pierce, the team that dealt them the opening round loss as well. The ‘Cats returned to campus a game away from making it to the final eight. Head Coach Brian August and the rest of the team are the short list of contenders to appear from the East. The staff has multiple valuable arms and the lineup boasts one of the most productive hitters in the nation.

The most intimidating aspect of the Wildcat roster is unquestionably their deep and talented pitching staff. While they lost the formidable Dave Hatt during the offseason, many arms return which will keep opposing lineups from scoring often against the green and white. Ray Gambone was tops on the team among starters with a 2.05 ERA and led the club with a 9-1 record and 66 strikeouts. The junior received a number of postseason honors after his breakout season including First First Team All-CACC.  If Jamie Treml returns to post the numbers he amassed his first two years on campus. WU will have a pair of top starters few teams can match with. Treml missed most of 2013 due to injury, but finished his first two seasons with a combined 14-3 record with 184 strikeouts in just 149.2 innings on the mound. Nick Marics, who had a 2.38 ERA with a team leading eight saves and 6’7” junior Tyler Fries, who accumulated a 1.82 ERA with a 5-1 give the team incredible support in the late innings. Impressive output is also forecast for Jay Kluka, a transfer from Montgomery County Community College. Last season Klucka was 7-1 with 86 strikeouts in 61.2 innings while pitching for the Mustangs.

The offense will once again get a big boost from Josh Hampton who played brilliantly his first year after being a second team NJCAA All American. Not only was he stellar at third base where he won a regional gold glove, he batted .328 with 33 extra-base hits with a team leading 46 RBI. He will be flanked in the lineup by Sam Goines who hit a team leading .359 and is mentioned as making major strides during the offseason, Matt Lopes who added a .320 average and Frank Samiuk who played solid defense at second base while adding a steady .315 batting average. Additional run support should also come in the way of freshman Christian Adorno who is acclaimed for his defense and speed and Fredrick Community College transfer Josh Swirchak who hit .391 last season for the Cougars and earned All American honors.