7. NOVA SOUTHEASTERN SHARKS (35-15)
Final 2012 Ranking: 13
Nova Southeastern battled deep into the South Regional for the second year in a row but had their season come to an end after they went 2-2 in Tampa and were eliminated by national runner-up Delta State. Head Coach Greg Brown could have one of his most talented rosters to date when the Sharks take to the field in 2013. The team is deep and experienced with an improved pitching staff that could give NSU the final push it needs to capture a conference and national crown.
The straw the stirs the Sharks drink is rising MLB prospect Carlos Asuaje. Asuaje, a hardworking second basemen led the team with a .389 batting average, .480 OBP and 23 doubles and provided stellar defense, only making four errors for an astonishing .984 fielding percentage. Returning outfielder Alex Marrero and Florida transfer Brandon Sedell will have to ratchet up their games considerably to make up for the loss of AJ Regoli who pounded 17 homeruns last season. Marrero had 20 extra base hits and a .566 slugging percentage and Sedell saw limited action as a Florida Gator, but was ranked 40th in the 2011 Final Rankings from Perfect Game. Coach Brown also anticipates strong seasons from seniors Brett Clements and Blake Boyd.
The Sharks have an extremely formidable tandem on back on the mound in Zach Westcott and Cody Stiles. Westcott had a team high nine wins and team low 2.27 ERA. He also displayed excellent control, only walking 17 batters in 91 innings pitched. Stiles has the makeup to be one of the best DII hurlers in the nation. A former Yankee draft pick and pitcher at North Carolina, Stiles’ 3.68 ERA was good for second on the team and he held opposition to a .203 batting average while striking out more than a batter an inning. Mike Gonzalez and Vinnie Contaldi, a pair of experienced arms could make a big difference if they are able to transition from dependable utility pitchers to full time starters. Combined they went 11-4 in 30 appearances (nine starts) and had 4.06 and 4.23 ERAs respectively. Also look for Julien Loret de Mola, a transfer from Florida Atlantic, to get a chance to earn some innings in his first year as a Shark.