USF has brought in a large pool of talent for the 2014 season, and these three freshmen are ready for the games to begin.
For freshman utility player Matt Sinatro, a big part of his excitement for the upcoming baseball season goes beyond receiving some playing time.
“One of the reasons I decided to come to USF besides the city was the great coach staff,” Sinatro said. “I knew it was the right fit because they care about you as a person rather than how you perform on the field. It was really warm and welcoming.”
Sinatro is no stranger to the expectations of playing college baseball. His father, Matt Sr., coached under former Major League Baseball manager Lou Piniella for 19 seasons.
The Sammamish, Wash. native accumulated a batting average of .365 during his senior year at Skyline High School, also while leading the team to two conference championships. Sinatro is ready to showcase his abilities for the Dons, and he also has kind words to say about his experiences so far.
“The foundation that’s built here is driven to make you a better person rather than how you perform on the field,” Sinatro said. “It’s really nice to be a part of that.”
Despite having a rigorous schedule of classes combined with practice, his passion for the game is palpable as he describes the sport with fondness.
“What I like most is the atmosphere that surrounds baseball,” Sinatro said. “It’s definitely a team game and it’s really cool knowing your teammates have your back. It really brings people together.”
“I’ve been around USF, its culture and its baseball team pretty much my whole life,” Giarratano said. “So growing up, it’s been a dream of mine to come here and play under my dad and it’s been a great experience so far.”
He also has high hopes for the team this season. He maintains that despite hoping they go far, his positivity comes from what is instilled in him and the rest of the team.
“Like we say each day, ‘focus on the important things,’ Giarratano said. “‘Success will come. Strive for excellence and greatness will come.’”
Right-handed pitcher Andy Frakes had a rough introduction to baseball, but now he cannot imagine doing anything else.
“In my first game ever I got hit in the chest with a line drive and wanted to quit immediately but I got up and finished the game,” Frakes said. “I have never thought about giving up the game since. I love it.”
Like his teammates, the Sherman Oaks, Calif. native thinks highly of the roster for this year’s baseball team.
“We have a great group of guys that I think have not only the ability but the character to do great things as a team,” Frakes said.
Frakes attended Crespi High School in his hometown, where he enjoyed much success as a pitcher. In his high school career, he put up an excellent 1.94 ERA, made the All-Mission League First Team twice, and once was named the Mission League Player of the Year. Like other Dons freshman, Frakes has found his expectations of playing college baseball have shifted as he has gotten more practice and has become closer to his teammates.
“As a freshman coming in at the beginning all I wanted to do was play baseball,” Frakes said. “Now as the season comes closer my ideas have completely changed. I want to win with this group of guys.”