Fordham Baseball Preview for the 2015 Season


With an experienced team and a smart coaching staff, the 2015 Fordham baseball team looks poised to succeed and possibly bring home an Atlantic 10 Championship. (Photo courtesy of Fordham Sports)


Fordham University’s 2015 baseball season started in Georgia on Feb. 13. The team ended their 2014 season with 24 wins and 30 losses, a record which helped them make the 2014 Atlantic 10 Baseball Championships. Unfortunately the team didn’t make it as far as they would hope and ended their run with one win and two losses in the championships. After several interviews with coaches and players, we gained some more insight into what the team is hoping for this season.

The team believes they have a great shot at winning the 2015 Atlantic 10 Baseball Championships. When asked about his goals for the team this season, Head coach Kevin Leighton, in his fourth year with the team, stated, “We want to finish in first place in the regular season, and from there win the conference tournament. It is something we have talked about as a group and we feel we’re capable of doing.”

Ryan Carroll, Gabelli School of Business at Rose Hill (GSBRH) ’15, in agreement with his coach,  wants “to be over .500, because we’ve never been over .500 since I’ve been here.”

Some of the other players expressed in interest in brightening team morale this year. Brett Kennedy, GSBRH ’16, expressed a desire to “stay more consistent as a team, and knowing we can go and beat any team at any point.” Overall,  “we need to be resilient and not get down if we lose a game or lose a series,” Jimmy Murphy, Fordham College at Rose Hill (FCRH) ’16, said. Looking at the team this season, it seems they have high-reaching goals, and if they can keep team morale up, then they should be able to achieve them.

A major change that should improve the team this season is that the players as a whole are more experienced on the field, as the 33 player roster only includes eight are freshmen. “This is the first year that I’ve been here that we haven’t started a freshman,”  Carroll said. The higher level of experience in this year’s starting players should lead to a more sophisticated approach to each game, allowing them to bring home more wins.

In addition to the team’s maturity, there is a lot of confidence placed upon the pitching staff this season. “I mean this is the best I have ever felt about a pitching staff, top to bottom,” Leighton said. Pitching is essential to a team’s success. “We have a couple of pro-prospect type pitchers,” Carroll said. Though the team may be at its best, every player has something he feels he needs to focus on this season. “I’d say my defense because our pitching is really good this year, so if everyone plays better defensively then we’ll be in more games and able to win more games,” Joe Runco, GSBRH ’16, said. 

Despite constant assurance from teammates and coaches, the team’s pitchers know they can still improve. Kennedy hopes “that I can battle the other team’s best pitcher to win these big games.” 

Fordham’s team has had a history of injured players, which plays into some of their goals for the season. “Personally, stay healthy. I’ve gotten hurt every single year. I’ve had four surgeries,” Carroll voiced. In addition to Carroll’s two hand surgeries and two elbow surgeries, Jimmy Murphy was out for the entirety of last season. His goal for this season is “to stay healthy and pitch deeper into games and get the team a chance to win.” While sports injuries are common for baseball, the whole team hopes to keep injuries at a minimum and retain use of all their players.

The team had their first games in Georgia on Feb. 13 and 14. In looking forward to this weekend, assistant coach Rob DiToma expressed that “we have an idea about what our strengths and weaknesses might be, but you really don’t know until you are playing against a different jersey.” The team came out of the weekend with one win and two losses. They lost to Georgia State on Friday, then split a doubleheader against Georgia Tech on Saturday. 

When asked how they thought the weekend went, the players had very positive things to say. As annual competitors for the College World Series, beating Georgia Tech was a big upset, and Carroll believes the weekend “showed we can compete with some higher level teams.” However, there were some problems over the weekend that the team will have to address. “We have to focus right off the plane and start hitting,” Runco said, “This was the first time we got to field ground balls on a dirt field. We’ve been stuck fielding ground balls on a basketball court.” Focusing on this issue will help the team with the season’s remaining away series.

Looking forward to the rest of the season and the end goal of winning the Atlantic 10 Championship, Fordham’s team may have all the skills necessary to excel this season. Conference play does not start until March 27 in which they will play a series at the University of Richmond, giving them plenty of time to fine-tune their game. While the beginning of the season is exciting, Murphy affirms, “We have to keep the same intensity from this weekend when it’s 35 degrees in March and we’re playing a conference game.”