VESTAL (WBNG) -- The Binghamton baseball team opens the regular season on the road this weekend.
The Bearcats have 24 letterwinners returning this season, including seven position starters and all three of its weekend starting pitchers.
"The veteran leadership that we have within the program, the guys we're going to count on to not only play but pitch a lot of important innings," said head coach Tim Sinicki. " The fact that they're returning and have played a lot of games for us certainly does help."
This season the Bearcats are scheduled to play 40 games against America East opponents. The schedule is set up with four-game series every weekend, with doubleheaders on Saturdays and Sundays.
Senior catcher T.J. Wegmann said his goal this season is to maintain the same momentum from last season.
"We won five of our last six games," said Wegmann. "It's different this year, we don't have that 20-game kind of 'get back into the routine' games. We're right into conference games. Everything matters."
In addition to Wegmann, all-conference players Shane Marshall (center field) and Alex Baratta (second base) return.
Sinicki said Marshall will continue to hit in the number two spot, with Baratta right behind him.
"I think personally he's (Marshall) the best athlete we have in this conference, and I know a lot of professional people feel the same way about him," said Sinicki. "Baratta will hunker down in the three-spot for us again this year, and he's probably one of the best pure hitters we have in this conference as well."
The starting rotation will be led by sophomore Thomas Babalis, who went 2-1 last season before it was canceled, and was named America East rookie of the year after his freshman season.
"Babalis will move into the number one role in our program, which he started off last season as our number one starter," said Sinicki. "A left-handed pitcher getting quite a bit of interest from professional scouts at this point, not only because of his fastball but because of his three-pitch mix that he has."
The America East is divided into two pods this season, with Binghamton competing with Stony Brook, UMBC and NJIT.
The top two teams from each pod will advance to the America East tournament, running May 27-29.
Binghamton opens the season on the road against Hartford March 20-21.
The Bearcats open the home portion of their schedule March 27-28 against UMBC.
Binghamton will play its home games at NYSEG Stadium, as the Binghamton baseball stadium continues to be under construction.