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December 24, 2006
Southeastern 64 - James Madison
James Madison lost three of their top four sluggers off last season's 38-21 club that slugged over 100 home runs. Two of the top three pitchers are also gone. So Spanky McFarland's club should be rebuilding right? Not really. The Dukes have the talent to contend for the CAA crown and snag an elusive Regional berth.
Junior all-American outfielder Kellen Kulbacki (.464/24/75/13 sbs) had one of the best offensive seasons in recent history despite missing six games. He is back to anchor a strong lineup that includes Joe Lake (.327/0/26), Rob Alteri (.321/3/20), Davis Stoneburner (.325/6/30), and Matt Townsend (.303/2/8). Newcomers to watch are first baseman Steven Caseres and infielder Mike Fabiaschi.
Sixteen wins are gone with the loss of Ryan Reid (10-4/3.43) and Greg Nesbitt (6-3/3.54). Jacob Cook (4-4/5.19) moves into the ace role with freshman Kyle Hoffman and junior Kurt Houck (2-2/3.55) likely following him. Virginia transfer Allie Swanson will push them. The bullpen features freshman Dustin Crouch and senior Bobby Lasko (4-3/5.59/6 svs).
The non-CAA schedule includes games with Ohio State, Seton Hall, Kansas State, Charlotte, Virginia, Maryland, Marshall, Virginia Tech, and Liberty. Inside the conference, the Dukes host Old Dominion, William & Mary, Northeastern, Hofstra, and Towson. They visit VCU, UNC-Wilmington, George Mason, Georgia State, and Delaware.
The offense will again be the team strength with Kulbacki serving as a game-changer. If the pitching comes around, this team will be in the postseason hunt.
Strengths: A scary guy in the middle of the order and talented front-line pitching
Weaknesses: Lineup protection for Kulbacki and unproven pitchers in key roles
The Southeastern 64 is made up of teams from the following conferences: ACC, SEC, Conference USA, Sun Belt, Atlantic Sun, Colonial, Big South, Southern, Southland, Ohio Valley, MEAC, and SWAC. The following schools were also included due to their geographic location: South Florida, Louisville, Louisiana Tech, and Charlotte.