Nick Barese knew exactly where to begin when asked about the strength of the UMass Lowell roster that he is inheriting for his first season as head coach.
Losing the likes of center fielder Gerry Siracusa to graduation and the uber-athletic Jacob Humphrey (Standish, Maine) in the Transfer Portal to national powerhouse Vanderbilt leave major holes within the positional lineup, but the River Hawks still expect some of their best players to reside in the middle of the field.
Between catcher Ryan Proto (Centerville, Mass.), the middle infield duo of second baseman Roddy Hernandez and steady shortstop Fritz Genther — who hit a team-best .324 with a .974 OPS, 23 extra-base hits and 47 RBI last season, and center fielder Alex Luccini (Hopedale, Mass.), Barese is excited about the veteran backbone that will be helping to lead his team.
“We have guys there that have multiple years of experience and got playing time early in their careers,” Barese said. “Now that they’re in their junior, senior or graduate seasons, they make up the nucleus of our team. When you add in guys like LJ Keevan (Holden, Mass.) who’s pitched a ton in his first two years, there’s a bunch of guys we’re hoping can take some real major steps forward.”