Staff
Head Coach
Justin Blood

Head baseball Coach Justin Blood has helped reestablish the University of Hartford baseball program as a regional power.

Entering his eighth season at the helm in 2019, Blood owns 170 career victories, the most by any Hartford coach in program history. Overall, Blood holds a 170-209 record (.449), including 84 victories in America East play. Blood's conference winning percentage (.503) ranks No. 1 in program history.

2018 was a historical season for the Hawks, as the team finished the year with the programs first ever America East Regular Season and Tournament Championship and made its first ever NCAA Tournament appearance. Blood earned America East Coach of the Year honors, leading a sweep of the four major conference awards. Freshman Nicholas Dombkowski became the first player in America East history to win both Rookie and Pitcher of the Year in the same season.

Blood also saw his eighth player drafted, as right-handed pitcher Seth Pinkerton was drafted by the Minnesota Twins (20th round).

The Hawks battled injuries in 2017, playing to a 20-30 record, but saw three players selected in the MLB Draft: Catcher Erik Ostberg (13th round; Tampa Bay Rays), shortstop Ben Bengtson (23rd, Pittsburgh Pirates) and David MacKinnon (32nd, Los Angeles Angels).

Hartford was dominant in 2016, posting a program record 37 wins. It marked the second time in three seasons that the Hawks earned the No. 2 seed in the America East Conference playoffs, where the Hartford ultimately finished third. The 2016 Hawks helped rewrite the program's record book in the process, setting nine single-season team records and five individual single-season marks. Overall, Hartford ranked among the top five in program history in 25 statistical categories during the 2016 season.

In addition to the Hawks' then-record 31 wins in 2014, Hartford had three players drafted in the Major League Baseball First-Year player draft including left handed pitcher Sean Newcomb who was picked 15th overall by the Los Angeles Angels. Newcomb represents the highest draft pick in school history, a title that was previously held by Jeff Bagwell who went to the Boston Red Sox in the fourth round in 1989.

Under Blood's tutelage, the Hawks have had nine America East All-Conference First Team selections, 12 Second Team picks and six players named to the league’s All-Rookie squad. Blood also emphasizes the importance of academics within his program, evidenced by 19 America East All-Academic honors the Hawks have earned since 2012. Exemplifying Blood's commitment to athletics and academics, first baseman David MacKinnon was named America East Player of the Year, America East Male Athlete of the Year and America East Scholar-Athlete of the Year in 2016. MacKinnon, who graduated in 2017, finished as the program’s all-time leader in hits (269) and runs scored (155).

Blood came to Hartford after spending six seasons at UConn as the Huskies' pitching coach and recruiting coordinator. He helped lead UConn to its most successful season in program history, which included a BIG EAST regular season championship and the first trip to the NCAA Super Regional’s. UConn ended the 2011 season with a 45-20-1 overall record and a 22-5 mark in BIG EAST play.

In Blood’s final season at UConn, the Huskies pitching staff finished the season with an ERA of 3.14, 23rd best in the nation in Division I. The Huskies were also eighth in the nation in hits allowed per nine innings (7.58). Blood coached right-handed hurler Matt Barnes to BIG EAST Player of the Year accolades and First Team All-America honors from the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association. Barnes was the third player in UConn history to be selected in the first round of the MLB Amateur Draft as he was taken 19th overall by the Boston Red Sox.

In 2010, Blood helped the Huskies to one of their most successful seasons to that point as the UConn ball club broke into the national rankings for the first time since the 1979 season. The Huskies finished that season with a program-record 48 wins. His pitching staff finished the year with the 17th best ERA in the nation at 3.91. The Huskies also struck out 397 batters, the second-best tally in program history, falling short of Blood’s 2009 staff, which struck out a school record 455 batters.

In his six overall seasons with UConn, Blood had 14 different pitchers drafted in the Major League Baseball draft, including five from the 2011 squad.

A pitcher himself, Blood was drafted by the Seattle Mariners in 2001 and excelled in the minor leagues before retiring to pursue coaching on the collegiate level. Upon his retirement, Blood had accumulated a 3.97 ERA in 82 games as a minor league player with a 7-4 record. He helped to lead the Inland Empire 66ers to the California League Class A title in 2003, posting a 5-2 record with two saves and a 3.07 ERA with 77 strikeouts and just 27 walks in 58.2 innings out of the bullpen.

Associate Head Coach
Steve Malinowski

Steve Malinowski returns for his eighth season as an assistant coach at the University of Hartford in 2018-19. He serves as the Hawks' recruiting coordinator and primary hitting coach, while also working with the team's catchers.

Malinowski was a key piece to Hartford’s historic season in 2018, helping lead the Hawks to the program's first ever America East Regular Season and Tournament Championship, as well as making their first ever NCAA Tournament appearance.

Hartford swept the America East Major award in 2018, including senior Nick Campana, who was named America East Player of the year. Campana was the team’s top hitter, thanks in large part to Malinowski, last season, batting .385 with 10 home runs and 39 RBI.

Under Malinowski's watch, Hartford has rewritten its offensive record books. The Hawks’ top five single-season hits records have been set since 2012 and the team proved dominant in 2016. That year the Hawks batted .302 as a club, the second-highest percentage in program history behind only the 1997 squad (.311). Hartford also set a handful of program records in 2016, including hits (559), runs (379), RBIs (332), doubles (103), triples (22) walks (235) and total bases (805).

Hartford's hitters have thrived with Malinowski's guidance. Former first baseman David MacKinnon set the single-season hits record (85) in 2016 and broke the career hits record in 2017, finishing with 269 during his time at Hartford. Former catcher Erik Ostberg also flourished under Malinowski, getting selected by the Tampa Bay Rays in the 13th round of the 2017 MLB Draft, after one season as the Hawks’ full-time starter.

Prior to Hartford, Malinowski spent four seasons on the coaching staff at UConn alongside current Hawks Head Coach Justin Blood. At UConn, Malinowski was charged with coaching first base and developing the outfielders. In addition, he coordinated the Connecticut Baseball School and several hitting clinics. In that role, he helped the Huskies to their most successful seasons under head coach Jim Penders, including a program-best 48 victories in 2010 and back-to-back NCAA Tournament berths in 2010 and 2011. The 2011 Huskies advanced to the NCAA Super Regional’s for the first time in program history.

Prior to his tenure at UConn, Malinowski spent one season as an assistant at Bryant University. Malinowski also served as an assistant coach with the Pittsfield Dukes in the New England Collegiate Baseball League (NECBL) in 2008, while in 2009, he was an assistant with the Manchester Silkworms.

Malinowski played two seasons at UConn, appearing in 33 games as a senior and finishing with a .260 batting average. He had three doubles and two home runs, both of which came in the BIG EAST Tournament, and drove in 19 runs that season. He played in 25 games as a junior after transferring from Wake Forest in 2004. At Wake Forest, Malinowski finished his first collegiate game 4-of-5 at the plate with four runs scored, becoming the first freshman in Wake Forest history to tally four hits in his debut.

A native of Kensington, Conn., Malinowski graduated from UConn with a degree in coaching and administration in 2007.

Recruiting Coordinator
Trey Stover
Assistant Coach
Garrett Lamborn