2015 MIAC Baseball Preview and Preseason Coaches' Poll

2015 MIAC Baseball Preview and Preseason Coaches' Poll

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2015 MIAC Baseball Season Preview

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. -- The 2015 Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) baseball will prove whether or not the number 13 is a lucky one for St. Thomas, or for the rest of the conference. This season, the Tommies aim for 13th-straight conference title, while the rest of the teams in a very competitive will try to end that streak at 12.

Head Coach Chris Olean guided UST to a 12th-straight MIAC title in 2014, in addition to the MIAC Playoff championship and another trip to the Division III College World Series, where St. Thomas wrapped up a 39-9 season with a third-place finish in the national tournament. UST was alone at the top of the MIAC standings with an 18-2 conference record, and claimed title No. 12 in a row by at least four games over the rest of the field.

From there, the conference was about as competitive as it can get, as the next seven teams in the standings were separated by just five games. Bethel was second with a 14-6 record (23-12 overall), as the Royals edged the third-place duo of Saint John's (21-10 overall, 13-7 MIAC) and Saint Mary's (18-23 overall, 13-7 MIAC) by a single game for the No. 2 spot. Carleton also had a great season with a 22-14 overall record and a 12-8 conference mark, and just missed the final Playoff spot in fifth place.

After the Knights, it was a three-way tie for sixth as Hamline (19-15 overall), Concordia (18-16 overall) and St. Olaf (20-20 overall) all finished .500 or better overall and an identical 9-11 in MIAC play. Augsburg (13-24 overall, 6-14 MIAC), Macalester (14-24 overall, 5-15 MIAC) and Gustavus (7-24 overall, 2-18 MIAC) rounded out the final three spots in the 2014 standings. In all the MIAC had seven of its 11 teams finish .500 or better overall last season.

With the first pitches of the 2015 season already thrown, the big question will be whether St. Thomas stays a step ahead of the rest of the league, or if another scenario plays out. Will another contender emerge from a crowded back to dethrone UST? Will the parity throughout the standings all rise together to create a multiple-team race for the title? What does Mother Nature have in store for Minnesota ballparks this spring? Fortunately, those answers are just around the corner.

COACHES CALL FOR ANOTHER TOMMIE TITLE
The MIAC baseball coaches expect St. Thomas' time at the top to continue, as the Tommies were the unanimous top choice in the 2015 MIAC Baseball Preseason Coaches' Poll. UST received 10 first-place votes and 100 points and were tabbed as the favorite to win title No. 13 in a row in a system that didn't allow coaches to vote for their own team.

The coaches expect Saint John's and Bethel to be the top contenders again in 2015, as the Johnnies received the other first-place vote and edged the Royals for second place in the poll. SJU finished with 86 points, and Bethel was third with 83. The coaches expect a repeat of the four-team Playoff field in 2015, as Saint Mary's came in fourth in the poll with 69 points.

However, Concordia, St. Olaf and Hamline all figure to be in the running for the postseason as well, as the Cobbers were fifth with 57 points, the Oles were sixth with 53 and Hamlien was seventh with 52. Augsburg (39) edged Carleton (33) for eighth place by six points, and Macalester (18) and Gustavus (15) rounded out the final two spots in the poll.

ONE COACHING CHANGE, SEVERAL MILESTONES
There was one major changing of the guard in the MIAC coaching ranks this season, as Concordia's Bucky Burgau retired with a MIAC-best 711 career wins, and turned the Cobbers over to Chris Coste, who was a member of the Philadelphia Phillies World Series championship team in 2008 and was a 3-time MIAC MVP for Burgau and Concordia during his collegiate playing days.

Amazingly enough, Burgau wasn't the only MIAC coach to hit the 700-win milestone last season, as Saint John's Jerry Haugen - who enters his 38th year leading the Johnnies - also notched his 700th win last season and could overtake Burgau as the MIAC's all-time wins leader this season. St. Olaf Head Coach Matt McDonald - entering his 21st season - won his 500th game last season as well to give the MIAC an unheard of trio of coaching milestones in 2014.

After Haugen and McDonald, Gustavus' Mike Carroll (19th season) and Macalester's Matt Parrington (16th season) are the next-longest-tenured, followed by Augsburg's Keith Bateman (12th season) and Carleton's Aaron Rushing (10th season). Saint Mary's Nick Winecke starts season No. 7 in Winona and Olean is seeking his sixth MIAC title in as many seasons leading St. Thomas. Brian Raabe starts season No. 4 at Bethel and Hamline's Jim Weyandt is opening his third campaign as the Pipers' head coach.

WHO TO WATCH FOR
If the Tommies can capture a 13th-straight MIAC title, chances are it will be led to victory by its starting pitching. UST graduated two MIAC MVPs in Tim Kuzniar and Tyler Peterson, along with All-MIAC staples J.D. Dorgan and Ben Podobinski, but talented starters Eric Veglahn and Colin Wendinger both return to give Olean the best rotation in the league again, and outfield Kelvin Strok hit .327 last year and will be one of the leading returns in the Tommie lineup.

Saint John's also has a few key losses as MIAC Pitcher-of-the-Year Justin Thompson and outfielders Dylan Graves and Joe Lampe graduated, but Haugen is excited about the return of All-Region 2B Brett Becker, starting pitcher Collin Felhaber and outfielder Aaron Pfaff. Bethel brings back a lot of its talent from a year ago, as the Royals advanced all the way to the MIAC Playoff championship game. All-MIAC pitcher Joe Zorn and outfielder Grant Anderson are both back, as is outfielder Matt Conrad who nearly hit .400 (.395) a season ago.

Saint Mary's used an incredible late-season surge to get into the MIAC Playoffs, and though it loses All-MIAC selections Kevin Gannon and Taylor Thelemann, the Cardinals have a lot of talent back. Willie Doll (All-MIAC and All-Defensive Team) and Ben Buerkle (MIAC Rookie-of-the-Year) both received conference honors in the outfield last season, and two-time All-MIAC catcher Jon Schlemmer is back behind the plate.  In his first season leading the Cobbers, Coste has a good nucleus to build on despite the loss of All-Region slugger Jordan Gefroh. Infielder Phil Kuball and outfielder Devin Johnson will anchor the lineup and standout reliever Bryce Feia is back after six saves and a 1.40 ERA in 2014.

The Oles graduated a lot of talent from a year ago, but are excited to have sophomore starter Ryan Tapani back in the rotation after going 4-3 in eight starts as a rookie, and a pair of juniors - Kap Davis (.339) and Tim Maus (22 RBI) are back to lead the Oles offensively. Hamline's hopes start with versatile P/OF Matt Connell, who was an All-Region selection and hit .393 while also starting six games on the mound. Outfielder Evan Cordell and his .421 average are back as well, and sophomore starter Ryan Gick is also back in the Piper rotation. Hamline will move into a new ballpark as well this season, as they'll share the brand-new CHS Field in St. Paul with the St. Paul Saints.

Augsburg ace Tanner Oakes returns for his senior season after an All-MIAC and All-Region junior season. The Auggies also have Steven Piette back in the bullpen and the outfield, and infielder Ave Welckle and his .300 average also return to Minneapolis. Carleton graduated a pair of All-Region players in Jeff Dsida and David Stillerman, but there's still a lot to like about the Knights. Hayden Tsutsui is back for his junior season after earning All-Region honors in each of the first two, and standout pitcher/hitter Nolan Baker is back after All-Region accolades in 2014 as well. Jack Violetta joins Baker in the rotation again to give Carleton an outstanding 1-2 punch at the top.

Macalester is happy to see C/OF Tom Forster back for his senior season after earning All-MIAC and All-Region honors last season, and he'll be joined by infielder Quentin Stuart and pitcher Joseph Aulisi as the Scots try to return to the postseason for the first time since 2011. Gustavus is excited about the return of a pair of seniors, as Garrett Fuchs and his .364 average are back in the infield, and pitcher Grant Soderberg is back at the top of the rotation.

CIRCLE THESE DATES
A few of the MIAC's teams have already headed south to begin their 2015 seasons, though most of the conference is getting set for opening day in the coming weeks. MIAC doubleheaders are scheduled to start on Saturday, March 28, with conference play running through Monday, May 4. The MIAC Playoffs will return to Veterans Field in Minnetonka, Minn., for the fifth-straight season, and the four-team, double-elimination tournament is set for May 8-10.

The top two teams in the Coaches' Poll will meet for a doubleheader with major MIAC championship implications on Wednesday, April 15, when St. Thomas hosts Saint John's at 2:30 p.m. The other two returning Playoff teams will meet in the regular-season MIAC finale, as Bethel travels to Saint Mary's for a huge series on May 3 at 1 p.m.

Concordia, St. Olaf, Hamline and Carleton all hope to contend for Playoff spots as well, so their head-to-head doubleheaders will be of maximum importance. The Cobbers and Pipers will square off to close the regular season on Saturday, May 2, at 1 p.m., and Playoff implications could be huge when Concordia heads to Hamline. The two Northfield rivals will meet in a key early-season series, as the Knights travel across town to face the Oles on April 7 at 2:30 p.m.

Augsburg, Macalester and Gustavus are all hoping to ascend upward in the standings this season and get into the postseason conversation as well, so their meetings will be crucial to each team's success. Gustavus visits Augsburg on April 4 at 1 p.m. and the Gusties also head to Macalester on April 25 for a 2:30 p.m. doubleheader, while the Auggies and Scots meet in a Twin Cities showdown at Parade Stadium on April 30 at 4 p.m. 

A CLOSER LOOK
The rest of the 2015 MIAC Baseball Preview contains complete results from the 2015 Preseason Coaches' Poll, MIAC Playoff details, helpful links and a preview for each team submitted by their sports information director. The MIAC web site - www.miacathletics.com - will be an outstanding source for MIAC baseball news, schedules, scores, stats and more throughout the 2014 season.

Visit the MIAC scoreboard on game days to follow all the action, and download the MIAC mobile app, which is a free download for Apple and Android devices, to have all the information with you anywhere you travel. Also, connect to the conference on its FacebookTwitterYouTube and Instagram pages for updates and interaction all season long.


2015 MIAC Baseball Preseason Coaches' Poll

Coaches voted for every team in the conference except their own team. Points were assigned for each vote (10 for first, nine for second, etc.) Teams are ranked in order of highest point total to lowest with vote totals listed and first-place votes shown in parentheses.
 

2015 MIAC Baseball
Preseason Coaches' Poll

Rank   Institution Total  
1. St. Thomas (10)    100
2. Saint John's (1) 86
3. Bethel 83
4. Saint Mary's 69
5. Concordia 57
6. St. Olaf 53
7. Hamline 52
8. Augsburg 39
9. Carleton 33
10. Macalester 18
11. Gustavus 15

2015 MIAC Baseball Playoffs

The 2015 MIAC Baseball Playoffs will feature the conference's top four teams squaring off in a double-elimination tournament with a trip to the NCAA Tournament on the line. The Playoffs will return to Minnetonka's Veterans Field for the fifth-straight season with three days of action on May 8-10. There will be two games Friday, May 8, three games Saturday, May 9, and one or two games to decide the champion on Sunday, May 10. The winner will receive the MIAC's automatic bid to the 2015 NCAA Division III Baseball Tournament.

| MIAC Baseball Playoffs Websites | 2014 | 2015 |


MIAC Baseball Links

| Website | Standings | Schedule | Statistics | News | Recordbook | Archives |


Team-by-Team Previews

AUG | BU | CAR | CON | GAC | HU | MAC | SJU | SMU | STO | UST |


AUGSBURG | Auggies' baseball home page | 

Head Coach
• Keith Bateman (12th season)

A Year Ago
• 6-14 MIAC (9th place) | 13-24 Overall

Top Returners
• Tanner Oakes (P, SR | All-MIAC and D3baseball.com All-Midwest Region 3rd team in 2014; Pitched in 64.2 innings and 9 starts, going 5-2 with 3.06 ERA, 4 complete games, 1 shutout, 44 strikes and 6 walks; 13-7 career record in 38 appearances, 4 saves, 3.75 ERA, 10 complete games, 4 shutouts, 113 strikeouts against 21 walks.)
• Steven Piette (P/OF, JR | Relief pitcher in 10 games in 2014 with 1.82 ERA, 3-4 record, 32 strikeouts against 9 walks in 24.2 IP; Also hit .206 with 3 doubles, 1 triple, 1 HR and 15 RBI.)
• Abe Welckle (INF, SR | Hit .300 with 8 doubles, 2 triples and 13 RBI in 2014; career .297 average with 12 doubles, 2 triples, 2 HR and 29 RBI.)

Key Losses
• Adam Carl (SS | All-MIAC in 2012 and 2013; Hit .297 with 5 doubles, 1 triple and 16 RBI in 2014; Hit .326 in his career with 22 doubles, 2 triples, 5 HR and 71 RBI.)
• Tyler Beck (P | Pitched in 10 games with 4 complete-game efforts in 2014; Team-best 59 strikeouts against 14 walks and 4.62 ERA; Pitched in 23 games in his career with a 7-11 record, 4.72 ERA and 85 strikeouts against 29 walks.)
• Gary Mariscal (OF | D3baseball.com All-Midwest Region 3rd team in 2013, All-MIAC Sportsmanship Team in 2014; Hit .206 with 11 runs, 5 doubles and 12 RBI in 2014; .284 career average with 39 runs, 8 doubles, 1 triple, 1 HR, 29 RBI.)

By the Numbers
• 6: Starts in which pitcher Tanner Oakes threw at least seven innings, including two 9-inning complete games, in 2014. He had four complete games last season in his nine starts.
• 242: Strikeouts thrown by Augsburg pitchers in 2014, the second-most among all MIAC teams. Augsburg's 98 walks were also fifth-fewest among MIAC teams.
• 11: Multiple-hit games by both Gordon Kappers and Abe Welckle in 2014, a team-best total. Kappers and Welckle also had two 3-hit games each in 2014.

Did You Know?
• For the past four seasons, Augsburg's baseball team has led an on-campus effort to recruit potential bone marrow donors through the Be The Match organization, holding numerous "Swab a Cheek, Save a Life" registry drives. Assistant Coach Troy Deden '07 underwent a bone marrow transplant recipient in 2009 to battle leukemia.

Off the Field
• Four Augsburg baseball players earned Academic All-MIAC honors in 2014 -- Billy Brookshaw, Andrew Julkowski, Gordon Kappers and Gary Mariscal. Mariscal, an NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship recipient, had a perfect 4.000 grade-point average. Mariscal and Julkowski also earned Capital One Academic All-District honors in 2014.

BETHEL | Royals' baseball home page | 

Head coach
• Brian Raabe (4th season)

A Year Ago
• 14-6 MIAC (2nd place) | 23-12 Overall

In the 2013 Postseason
• MIAC Playoffs runner-up (11-8 win vs. Saint Mary's, 1-6 loss vs. St. Thomas, 7-4 win vs. Saint Mary's, 1-3 loss vs. St. Thomas)

Top Returners
• Joe Zorn (Pitcher, Sr. | All-MIAC, 5-2, 64.1 IP, 3.64 ERA, 47 K's, 6 BB's, 7.83 K-to-BB ratio)
• Grant Anderson (Outfield, Sr. | All-MIAC, .356 AVG, .430 OBP, .423 SLG, 77-of-78 defensively)
• Matt Conrad (Outfield, Jr. | .395 AVG, .469 SLG, .495 OBP, 38 total bases in 81 at-bats)

Key Losses
• Chris Hall (Pitcher | 1.15 ERA, 3-0, 15.2 IP, 4 Saves, 2 ER, .169 AVG against)
• Luke Schultz (Outfield | .236 AVG, .292 SLG, .311 OBP, .949 FLD, 26 GS)

By the Numbers
• 2: Bethel's second-place finish in both the regular season and the playoffs last year was the highest in program history. The Royals finished 14-6 in MIAC play and reached their first-ever championship game after two postseason victories.
• 5: Five has been the magic number for Bethel in the last two years, as the Royals are 39-2 when scoring five or more runs. Additionally, Bethel is 25-3 when allowing one walk or less in the same time frame.
• 24: Centerfielder Bryce Marquardt recorded 24 stolen bases throughout his freshman campaign. His 0.73 steals per game led the league and ranked No. 15 among all players nationwide.

Did You Know?
• Senior pitcher Joe Zorn surrendered just six walks and struck out 47 in 64.1 innings pitched last year. His 7.83 strikeout-to-walk ratio finished first among all MIAC pitchers and 13th nationally.

Off the Field
• Last year Bethel shortstop Nik Anderson claimed the first-ever MIAC Baseball Elite 22 Award thanks to the Royals first trip to the MIAC Playoff championship game in program history. A Business major with a 3.87 GPA, Anderson helped lead BU back to the postseason for the third consecutive season after a 12-year drought with a .311 batting average, 17 runs, and 12 RBI. 

CARLETON | Knights' baseball home page | 

Head coach
• Aaron Rushing (10th season)

A Year Ago
• 12-8 MIAC (5th place), 22-14 Overall

Top Returners
• Hayden Tsutsui (C-OF, Jr. | D3baseball.com 2015 Preseason All-American… 2014 D3baseball.com All-Region in 2013 and 2014… Hit .428 in 2014 and led MIAC in hits (65), doubles (19) and extra-base hits (26); finished with 35 RBI, .470 on-base percentage, and .671 slugging percentage)
• Nolan Baker (RHP-OF, Sr. | D3baseball.com All-Region Second Team… .409 batting average… 5-1 with a 3.04 ERA)
• Jack Violetta (LHP, Jr. | Went 5-3 and paced the pitching staff in starts (10), innings pitched (53.0), strikeouts (43), and victories) 

Key Losses
• Jeff Dsida (C | D3baseball.com All-Region First Team… .415 average, .661 slugging percentage… ranked 10th in D-III with seven triples… threw out MIAC-best 56 percent of runners attempting to steal)
• David Stillerman (SS | D3baseball.com All-Region Third Team… led conference shortstops with .370 average, .437 on-base, and .533 slugging percentage)
• Kevin Johnson (RHP-2B | ranked first among MIAC second basemen in hits (45), RBI (26), and slugging percentage (.416) as well as second in batting (.360) and on-base percentage (.409)… also made 7 starts on the mound, throwing a staff-best 3 complete games)

By the Numbers
• .342: The Knights hit a MIAC-best .342 last season.
• 286: The Knights scored 286 runs last season, which set the school record.
• 15: The Knights hit 15 home runs last season.

Did You Know?
• Hayden Tsutsui was named the 2013 D3baseball.com national Rookie-of-the-Year.

Off the Field
• Infielder David Stillerman was named to the Academic All-America team last season.

CONCORDIA | Cobbers' baseball home page |

Head coach
• Chris Coste (1st season)

A Year Ago
• 9-11 MIAC (T6th place) | 18-16 Overall

Top Returners
• Phil Kuball (IF, Jr. | Led team in at-bats and total plate appearances in 2014; third on the team in hitting (.326))
• Devin Johnson (OF, Sr. | 2013 All-Region; .349 career batting average)
• Bryce Feia (P, Sr. | led the team in ERA (1.40) and saves (6) in 2014)
 
Key Losses
• Jordan Gefroh (IF | 2014 All-MIAC & D3baseball.com All-Region; led the team in hitting in 2014 (.422))
• Michael Olson (OF | 2013 All-MIAC; second on the team in batting average in 2014 (.344)
 
By the Numbers
• 3: Chris Coste is only the third head coach in the past 46 years for the Cobbers. Coste is a former 3-time MIAC MVP and 3-time All-American.
• 43: Concordia has 43 players on this year's roster
• 711: Former Cobber head coach Bucky Burgau finished his Hall of Fame career with 711 career wins. The most by any coach in the history of MIAC baseball.  
 
Did You Know?
• Concordia will be playing on a brand new field this season. The Cobbers' home games will be played at the newly christened Bucky Burgau Field. 

GUSTAVUS | Gusties' baseball home page |

Head coach
• Mike Carroll (19th Season)

A Year Ago
• 2-18 MIAC (11th place) | 7-24 Overall 

Top Returners
• Garrett Fuchs (Infielder, Sr., Cold Spring, Minn. | Played and started all 31 games last season…Ranked second on the team in batting average (.364) with a team-best on-base percentage of (.444)...Had four doubles, two triples, and 15 RBI.
• Grant Soderberg (Pitcher, Sr., Eden Prarie, Minn.) | Went 1-3 overall with a 3.10 ERA in 40.2 innings…Recorded 35 strikeouts against just seven walks…Finished with an opponent batting average of .309.

Key Losses
• Scott Benjamin (Outfielder) | Started and played all 31 games…Led team in AB (115), H (41), R (20) and TB (55) after batting .357.

By the Numbers
• 2: The number of senior starters the Gusties lost from their 2014 squad due to graduation. 
• 95: Percent of innings pitched last season by players that will return for Gustavus this season. The only Gustie pitchers not returning to the team are Dan Venn and David Tranvik who combined to pitch 11 innings a year ago.
• 91: The number of walks recorded by Gustavus last season. That number was good for second-fewest in the MIAC, one more than Bethel who gave up 90.

Did You Know?
• Pitcher Chris Kelly (Sr., Savage, Minn.) signed an amateur contract to play for the Duluth Huskies of the Northwoods League last July. In five games for the Huskies, Kelly went 2-0 with a 3.05 ERA in 17.2 innings pitched.

Off the Field
• Seniors Grant Soderberg and Steven Zehms each earned Academic All-MIAC honors for the 2013-14 season.   
HAMLINE | Pipers' baseball home page |

Head coach
• Jim Weyandt (3rd season)

A Year Ago
• 9-11 MIAC (6th place) | 19-15 Overall

Top Returners
• Evan Cordell, OF, Sr. Hit .421 (6th in MIAC)with .589 Slugging Pct. last year
• Matt Connell, P-OF, Hit .393 last year; also started six games as LHP.; All-MIAC and ABCA Midwest All-Region team member
• Ryan Gick, So. , RHP, was 1-2 in five starts (8 appearances) last year

Key Losses
• Harley Thompson, OF, led team with 5 HR and 34 RBI in 2014
• Cam Smith, OF, led team with 11 doubles; 9th in MIAC with 27 walks
• Rob Miller, P, led team with 5 wins working as a starter and a reliever.; Member, MIAC All-Defensive team

By the Numbers
• 12: returning regulars from 2014 team
• 16: first year players on 2015 team
• 52: players on hand for first practice February 1

Did You Know?
• The Pipers will move into the Saints' new ballpark in downtown St. Paul this spring. First scheduled game is April 4 against St. Thomas.

Off the Field
• The team had a combined 3.12 GPA for the Fall 2014 semester. 

MACALESTER | Scots' baseball home page |

Head coach
• Matt Parrington (16th season)

A Year Ago
• 5-15 MIAC (10th place) | 14-24 Overall
 
Top Returners
• Tom Forster (Sr., C/OF | 1st Team All-MIAC, D3Baseball.com 3rd Team All-Region, Team MVP, Team Offensive MVP, .416, 32 RBI, 9 SB)
• Joseph Aulisi (So., P | Team Most Valuable Pitcher, 2-2 with 1 save, 2.77 ERA, .209 opponent BA)
• Quentin Stuart (So., IF | .337, 12 2Bs, 25 RBI, .439 OBP)

Key Losses
• Aidan Hennen (OF | .372, 19 RBI, .427 OBP, 7-7 SB)
• Ross Bronfenbrenner (OF | .367, 10 2Bs, .433 OBP, 15-16 SB)
• Justin Sims (1B | Team Defensive MVP, .337, 18 RBI, .983 Fld%, 1.000 Fld% in MIAC play, MIAC All-Sportsmanship Team)
 
By the Numbers
• 23: Of 32 players on last year's squad, 23 return this season.
• 241: The number of career victories by head coach Matt Parrington, making him the winningest coach in Macalester history.
• About Half: Besides being the title of a book by James Foster, it was also how often Tom Forster reached base last season, sporting a .486 on-base percentage.

Did You Know?
• Coaching runs in the family of Macalester's Danny Halloran. His father, Mike, won a pair of state tiles as Eden Prairie's head coach and is the only person in history to both play for (Edina, 1983) and coach (Eden Prairie, 2011) an America Legion World Series champion while his grandfather, Lorne Grosso, with 693 victories, is the winningest high school coach in Minnesota history.

SAINT JOHN'S | Johnnies' baseball home page |

Head coach
• Jerry Haugen (38th season)

A Year Ago
• 13-7 MIAC (T-3rd place) | 21-10 Overall

In the 2014 Postseason
• MIAC Tournament – lost to St. Thomas (3-7), lost to Saint Mary's (0-3)

Top Returners
• Brett Becker (2B, Sr. | 2014 ABCA All-Midwest Region third-team selection…named to 2014 All-MIAC first team…2014 Capital One Academic All-American…started all 31 games and led SJU with a .375 batting average in MIAC play/.384 in all games…tied for team-lead with eight stolen bases in MIAC/12 in all games…tied for team-lead with 38 hits and was third with 18 RBIs…excelled in three situational categories, batting .422 (27-for-64) with runners on base, .522 (24-for-46) with runners in scoring position and .438 (14-for-32) with two outs…enters his senior season with 74 career hits, good for a .363 batting average, and needs three stolen bases to crack SJU's top-10 list.
• Collin Felhaber (RHP, Sr. | Led the team with eight starts, seven of which came during the regular season…tallied a 4-2 record and led the team with 48 innings pitched and 42 strikeouts…two-time MIAC Pitcher of the Week in 2014)
• Aaron Pfaff (OF, Sr. | Started all 31 games for SJU in 2014…led the team in at-bats (115) and runs scored (23)…needs eight hits to crack the school's top-10 list and is 14 stolen bases away from the school record)

Key Losses
• Dylan Graves (OF | Started 30 games in centerfield and batted .342, tied for the team lead with 38 hits, finished second with 20 RBI and 12 multi-hit games…ended his career tied for seventh in school history with 12 home runs (12), seventh with 120 games played (120) and 10th with 120 hits)
• Joe Lampe (OF | 2014 ABCA All-Midwest Region…led SJU with 12 extra-base hits in conference play and finished sixth in the MIAC with a .648 slugging percentage…his five triples tied him for the MIAC lead and his three homers were good for fifth…finished second to Becker with a .381 batting average, but led the team in doubles (8), triples (6), home runs (4), RBI (24), slugging percentage (.711) and outfield assists (4)
• Justin Thompson (RHP/C | 2014 ABCA All-American…2014 MIAC Pitcher of the Year and All-MIAC…led the MIAC with a 0.72 ERA and posted a 2-0 record with eight saves, 29 strikeouts (to eight walks) and a .187 opponent batting average in 11 conference appearances (25 innings) on the mound…overall, Thompson registered 10 saves with a 0.87 ERA, a .179 opponent batting average and 38 strikeouts (to eight walks) in 15 appearances (31 innings) 

By the Numbers
• 1998: Justin Thompson '14 was the first Johnnie to be named the MIAC Pitcher of the Year since Andy Schneider '00 in 1998.
• 89.6: The Johnnies stole bases at an 89.6-percent clip in 2014 (43-for-48) and threw out 13 attempted base stealers in the field (22-for-35, 62.8 percent).
• 181: SJU's pitching staff returns 181 of its 241 innings from last year, 75.1 percent, which combined for a 3.78 ERA last season.

Did You Know?
• For the first time in the program's history, SJU baseball will fly to warmer destinations for two separate trips in 2015. The Johnnies open their season with nine games in Fort Myers March 2-6 and travel to Tucson for five games March 19-21.

Off the Field
• Last year, six Saint John's student-athletes earned Academic All-MIAC honors, including senior second baseman Brett Becker (North Oaks, Minn./Mounds View), who was named SJU's first Academic All-American in 2014 since 2005. 

SAINT MARY'S | Cardinals' baseball home page |

Head coach
• Nick Winecke (7th season)

A Year Ago
• 13-7 MIAC (3rd place) | 18-23 Overall

In The Post-Season
• MIAC Tournament: vs. Bethel (L, 11-8), vs. Saint John's (W, 3-0), vs. Bethel (L, 7-4)

Top Returners
• Willie Doll (5-9, 170, Jr., OF, Amherst, Wis. | 41 GP, .349 BA, 169 AB, 32 R, 59 H, 17 2B, 4 3B, 1 HR, 22 RBIs, 87 TB, .515 SLG %, 23 SB | 2014 First-Team All-MIAC, 2013 & 2014 MIAC All-Defensive Team | Single-season school record holder in at-bats, doubles and stolen bases)
• Ben Buerkle (6-1, 175, So., OF, Roseville, Minn. | 40 GP, .405 BA, 148 AB, 32 R, 60 H, 13 2B, 2 3B, 2 HR, 33 RBIs, 83 TB, .561 SLG %, .467 OB % | 2014 MIAC Rookie of the Year; Saint Mary's Outstanding Male Athlete)
• Jon Schlemmer (6-4, 225,Sr., C, De Pere, Wis. | 40 GP, .264 BA, 121 AB, 19 R, 32 H, 8 2B, 1 HR, 11 RBIs, 43 TB, .355 SLG % | 2012 & 2014 First-Team All-MIAC)

Key Losses
• Kevin Gannon (41 GP, .268 BA, 142 AB, 25 R, 38 H, 4 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 21 RBIs, 47 TB, .331 SLG %, 10 SB, .989 FLD % | Started every game of 3-year collegiate career | First-Team All-MIAC (2012) | ABCA All-Midwest Region Third Team (2012) | Academic All-MIAC (2012)
• Taylor Thelemann (36 GP, .264 BA, 106 AB, 16 R, 28 H, 2 2B, 1 3B, 8 RBIs, 32 TB, .302 SLG % | 2014 First-Team All-MIAC)

By The Numbers
• 7: The Cardinals boasted seven players — Ben Buerkle (Roseville, Minn.), Taylor Thelemann (Bloomington, Minn.), Steph Scatassa (Westchester, Ill.), Kevin Gannon (Roselle, Ill.), Pat Krieger (Mendota Heights, Minn.), and Kevin Miley (St. Paul, Minn.) — who recorded four hits in a game last season. It was the first collegiate four-hit game for all seven.
• 9: Saint Mary's won the first game in nine of its 10 conference doubleheaders this season.
• 39: Ben Buerkle (Roseville, Minn.) had at least one hit in 36 of the 40 games he played in — and reached base safely in 39 of 40 contests. Buerkle kicked off his first year with the Cardinals putting together a season-opening 20-game hit streak — the longest consecutive-game hitting streak since Brady Knudsen hit safely in 21 straight games during the 2008 season.

Did You Know?
• The Cardinals collected nine MIAC post-season honors in 2014 — four earning All-MIAC First-Team, three on the MIAC All-Defensive Team, the MIAC Rookie of the Year (Ben Buerkle) and the Jim Dimick MIAC Coach of the Year (Nick Winecke).

Off The Field
• The Cardinals boasted four players— Willie Doll (Amherst, Wis.), Paul LaNasa (Mahtomedi, Minn.), Kevin Miley (St. Paul, Minn.) and Pat Regan (Mound, Minn.)—on the MIAC Academic All-Conference Team.

ST. OLAF | Oles' baseball page |

Head coach
• Matt McDonald (21st season)

A Year Ago
• 9-11 MIAC (5th place) | 20-20 Overall
 
Top Returners
• Tim Maus (P/IF, Jr. | hit .275 as a sophomore with nine doubles, 14 walks.)
• Jake Mathison (P/IF, So. | Hit .294 as a first year... Was third on the team in innings with 40 1/3 innings)
• Ryan Tapani (IF/P, So. | Was 4-3 with a 4.35 ERA in 51 2/3 innings... Hit .260 in 77 at bats, with three doubles and 11 walks)
 
Key Losses
• Sam Maus (3B | Hit .399 with team highs in hits (57), doubles (15), triples (2) and homers (6))
• Jack Schechinger (C | Hit .347 with .506 OBP... Had nine doubles and four homers... Had 29 walks against a mere 13 strikeouts)
• Nick Kulla (SS | Fielded .949 from shortstop position ... Hit .264 with 17 RBI.)
• Chris Paradise (CF | Hit .291 with 10 stolen bases.)
 
By the Numbers
• 248: 248 of the Oles' 295 innings of pitching experience from 2014 returns this spring.

ST. THOMAS | Tommies' baseball home page |

Head coach
• Chris Olean (Sixth season)

A Year Ago
• 18-2 MIAC (First place) | 39-9 Overall

In the 2013 Postseason
• MIAC postseason results (1st, 3-0: def. St. John's 7-3; def. Bethel 6-1, 3-1)
• NCAA postseason results (4-0 at regional, 2-2 at College World Series, placed third)

Top Returners
• Eric Veglahn (All-Region; LHP, JR; 2014 Postseason, 3-0, 0.72 ERA, 28Ks, 3 W in 25 innings); Career: 18 app, 93.1 IP, 13-0, 2.32 ERA, 99 K, 21 W))
• Colin Wendinger (RHP, SR | 2014: Career: 29 App, 117 IP, 13-1, 2.54 ERA, 85K, 43 W)
• Kelvin Stroik (RF, SR | 2014: 46 games, 48 hits, .327, 48 runs, 30 walks; hit safely in 19 of last 22 games)

Key Losses
• Tim Kuzniar (LF, GRAD | All-America: Career: 225 hits, 179 games; 34 career postseason games hit .319)
• J.D. Dorgan (C, GRAD | All-Region: Career: 4-year starter, .335 BA, 179 games, 205 hits, 128 runs, 160 RBI, 39 walks, 48 doubles, 21 HRs)
• Tyler Peterson (IB, GRAD | All-America, MIAC Player of Year: 2014: .471 BA, 8 HRs, .794 slug%, four Ks in 152 plate app., two errors in 310 chances. 

By the Numbers
• 26 (of possible 34): MIAC regular-season and playoff crowns won by UST since 1996, including 12 regular-season in a row
• 54: Current home-field winning streak for UST, second best among all Division III men's sports (Mount Union football, 85-game string)
• 6: Top-3 national finishes for Tommie baseball over last 16 seasons, including championships in 2001 and 2009 

Did You Know?
• Five transfers and seven freshmen are pushing for starting or platoon roles, including two catchers and five pitchers. The first 40 players contending for varsity spots include 12 freshmen and 11 sophomores in eligibility.

Off the Field
• St. Thomas has 18 varsity and JV players with a cumulative grade-point average of 3.40 or higher.