ITTA BENA, Mississippi – The Mississippi Valley State University Delta Devils will open the 2010 baseball season with a three-game series against the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame. The teams will meet at Magnolia Field on MVSU’s campus at 1 pm on Friday with the Saturday and Sunday contests being played at Greenville’s Legion Field with 1 pm starts on both days.
Notre Dame and Mississippi Valley State have met twice in the history of the two programs with the Irish picking up both wins in the series. In a series played April 29-30, 2008, the Irish claimed 4-0 and 13-2 victories over MVSU. In the first game, shortstop Paul Olson went 2-for-4. In game two, Olson went 1-for-4 with an RBI.
Looking at the 2010 version of the Delta Devils, MVSU will have both young and experienced players on the field. Centerfielder and leadoff hitter Chris Herron (5-9, 175, Sr., R/R) will return and likely be a vital performer in run scoring for the team. Herron is the team’s top returning offensive player batting .271 last season with 30 runs scored and 26 stolen bases (37th in the nation). Second baseman Curtis Ford (5-8, 155, Jr., R/R) returns after an exciting sophomore campaign. Ford finished 2009 batting .262 with 35 runs scored, five doubles, and 19 stolen bases.
Play-everywhere Britt Goodman (6-3, 205, Sr., R/RHP) who saw time on the mound, in the hot corner of third base and even in the outfield also gives some promise to the program. As a third baseman, he batted .231 with seven runs scored and four runs batted in. On the mound, he went 4-1 with over 58 innings pitched, 45 strikeouts, and a 2.01 ERA. Designated hitter Denarvus Turner (6-3, 235, Soph., R/R) will probably occupy first base and could be a promising power provider for the program. Nick Fangonilo (6-1, 180, Soph., R/R) is slated as the lead catcher and backup outfielder for the team while Paul Olson (6-2, 190, Sr., R/R) should see some action at shortstop alongside Ford. Fangonilo played in 19 games batting .231 with five runs batted in and six run scored. Cody Parker (5-10, 180, Soph., R/R) saw action on the mound and should have even more presence during his second season. He struck out ten batters in 22 relief innings pitched.
A trio of East Central Community College transfers also highlights the 2010 newcomers: pitchers Steven Barnes and Eric Dowell along with catcher/second baseman Kylie Ming will bring some needed assistance to the team. Ming had three doubles, 15 runs batted in and a .290 batting average last season while Dowell had two wins while striking out 18 in 18 innings. Barnes had four wins while striking out 51 in 40 innings of work.
Other newcomers to watch include: pitcher Jesus Aleman (6-1, 195, Jr., R/R) – who should vie for a position in the starting rotation and was a member of the Delta Devils football team this season and outfielder Luke Walker (5-11, 165, Jr., L/L) who finished with 38 hits, two doubles, 10 runs batted in and a .355 batting average last season at East Mississippi Community College. Erie Community College transfer Brad Gibson should also bring experience to the MVSU battery. Last season, the right-handed catcher finished with 23 runs batted in, seven doubles, seven home runs and a .306 batting average.