By GREG AUMAN
Published February 10, 2006
2005 RECORD: 33-31, 15-14 (tied for sixth) in Conference USA.
COACH: Eddie Cardieri (708-511, 21st season; 771-544 overall).
KEY RETURNING PLAYERS: C Brian Baisley, Sr. (.349, 9 HRs, 47 RBIs); OF Joey Angelberger, So. (.299, 4 HRs, 31 RBIs); RHP Casey Hudspeth, Jr. (8-6, 3.97 ERA, 95 Ks); RHP Daniel Thomas, So. (9-4, 3.84 ERA, 51 Ks).
KEY NEWCOMERS: OF Mike Consolmagno, Fr.; OF Brett Boggs, Fr.; SS Addison Maruszak, Fr., 2B/SS Gus Fernandez, Fr.; C Braulio Pardo, Fr.
NOTABLE: "We're a very young team," Cardieri says of a lineup that could include three freshmen and four sophomores. There's experience on the mound, where Hudspeth and Thomas return as a promising Friday-Saturday 1-2 punch. For all their youth, the Bulls were picked to finish third out of 12 Big East teams in a preseason poll of league coaches. The schedule is stacked with home games early, and they won't leave the state until March 31 at Cincinnati. Boggs, a freshman from Wharton, is the son of Hall of Famer Wade Boggs, so there's one more reason to make it to Red McEwen Field. Cardieri is in the final year of his contract, so his players have extra incentive to make a strong showing in their first Big East season, which ends with the league tournament in May in Clearwater.