2019 SLIAC Baseball Poll

Spalding University and Webster University are the favorites for the 2019 SLIAC baseball season according to the league's coaches. Spalding received eight of ten first-place votes as the favorites in the East Division while Webster captured nine first-place votes as favorites in the West Division.

Spalding reached the 30 win mark in 2018, just the second time reaching that milestone since joining the SLIAC

Spalding picked up 44 total points in the poll, receiving eight first place votes to finish as the preseason favorites. Head Coach Matt Downs and the Golden Eagles return eight starters from last years squad that finished 31-12 overall. Headlining the list of returners is All-American Garrett Wilson. Wilson, a junior outfielder, was a force last season; hitting .470 with 28 runs batted in and 32 stolen bases. The 2018 SLIAC Player of the Year led NCAA Division III in hits last season while setting a school record for stolen bases. Junior shortstop Eric Meyer (.390 average and 35 RBI) and senior outfielder Quenton Brownlee (.333 average and a team high 7 home runs) both earned All-Conference honors last year and will have plenty of chances to drive Wilson in. Jack Parisi picked up Third Team All-Conference honors last season as a freshman toatling 67 strikeouts in just 56 innings pitched. Utility player Dillon Sievert hit .265 with 6 home runs and also recorded 3 wins on the mound. Newcomers include Drew Switzer and Nathan Thoms, a pair of pitchers that will look to pick up the slack after the graduation of All-American pitcher Jimi Keating.

Greenville has advanced to five consecutive SLIAC Tournament championship games.

Greenville University finished with 38 points including two first-place votes in the poll, coming in second. The Panthers were 23-20 overall last season and bring back 27 players and eight starters. They will have to replace a strong core of their lineup with the graduation of two of their top three hitters. However junior Klaiton Wolff does return after hitting .347 with 3 home runs and 27 runs batted in while also picking up 3 wins on the mound. Joining him in the lineup will be junior Sam Hodges, who earned First Team All-Conference honors after hitting .314 with 3 home runs and 24 RBI. Outfielders Adam Lamb and Andrew Torbeck continue to fill out the Panther lineup. Jonah Moore, a senior, will anchor the pitching staff after throwing a team leading 59 innings last season while picking up 4 wins. Head Coach Lynn Carlson is expecting Wyatt Boyer, Devin Gumb, and Matt Schroeder to push for time.

MacMurray totaled 14 wins in their first season under the direction of head coach John Grana

MacMurray College received 21 total points, placing third on the poll. The Highlanders, coached by John Grana, were 14-24 overall last season. They return 18 players and six starters on a team that includes just two seniors. Alec Taylor, a junior third baseman, led the team with a .368 batting average last season, driving in 14. Mason Hale had a solid freshman campaign, hitting .288, and will split time behind the plate with Wyatt Logsdon. Hayden Radford and Brendan Schanz will also figure to be key players in the lineup. Top newcomers include Connor Allen, Bryce Griebler, and Jacob Goudzwaard.

Principia set a school record with 22 wins last season, including 12 SLIAC victories.

Principia College was picked fourth in the East with 17 total points. The Panthers finished 22-15 overall in head coach Chris Marston's third year. Despite the loss of five seniors the Panthers still return six starters. Zach Grennie, a senior outfielder, finished with a .325 batting average while leading the team with 5 home runs and driving in 30. Fellow returners Aleq McMullin had a team high 39 runs batted in while hitting .283 and infielder Sean Hannan scored 23 runs. The Panthers pitching staff will rely on Alex Stamos, a Second Team All-Conference performer last season. Stamos threw team high 71 innnings, recording 43 strikeouts and 6 wins. Both McMullin and Hannan also made double digit appearances on the mound. Principia will look for freshman Chris Stamos to add to the pitching depth while Jack Adler and Blake Lesky should compete for playing time on the infield.

Bubby Stepp has a no-hitter in his career; doing so on March 24, 2017

Blackburn College garnered 13 total points, coming in fifth in the East. The Beavers finished 10-29 overall and 7-15 in the SLIAC last season. Head Coach Mike Neal returns just 11 players and will lean on seniors Ryan Steen and Bubby Stepp. Steen, a catcher, hit .258 while driving in 26 and leading the team with 7 home runs. Stepp, a pitcher, worked 48 innings, striking out 50 and throwing two complete games. Sophomore outfielder Steven Diaz hit .316 last season while driving in 22 and swiping 6 bags. Newcomers Sammy Gordon, Tyler Jackson, and Trevor Platt should contribute this spring.

Webster has won a conference record 12 straight SLIAC regular season titles

Webster is once again the favorites in the West Division, picking up 45 points and nine of ten first-place votes. The Gorloks were 38-10 overall last season and head coach Bill Kurich brings back seven starters. The offense should be dangerous once again with Kyler Kent and Ben Swords returning. Kent, a junior, hit .428 with 6 home runs and 46 RBI last year, setting a school record with 83 hits, and earning All-American honors. Swords, a sophomore, was Second Team All-Conference after hitting .360 while driving in 37 and finishing with 18 stolen bases. Junior catcher Joe Swanson will once again be behind the plate and work with a strong pitching staff that includes starter Matt Mulhearn and reliever Shane Donovan. Mulhearn, a junior, was All-Region after recording a 2.99 earned-run average and 76 strikeouts with 10 wins last year. Donovan is one of the top relievers in the nation, earning All-American honors, after finishing with 6 wins and 8 saves to go with a 1.72 earned-run average last year. The Gorloks bring in several transfers including Dakota Borman, Aron Hopp, and Bryce Meyer, as well as a strong class of freshmen.

Head Coach Ryan Good will look for a repeat season of 2018 SLIAC Co-Pitcher of the Year Luke Summers

Fontbonne University was the only other school in the West to receive a first-place vote, totaling 31 points. The Griffins have an experienced group this season, bringing back 18 players and eight starters from a team that totaled 19 wins for head coach Ryan Good. The Griffins have one of the top pitchers in the league in Luke Summers. Summers was named SLIAC Co-Pitcher of the Year last season after going 7-3 with a 2.10 earned-run average and tallying 83 strikeouts in 77 innings. The offense will include a trio of .300 hitters in Gus Purschke (.339), Michael Puckett (.312), and Matt Tossick (.311). Infielder Jonathan Hoevelmann will look for a bounce back season after hitting .366 two years ago. Transfers Lance Chapman, Mike Jacobson, and Alex Phillips could play key roles.

Westminster will be looking for their fifth straight conference tournament appearance, which would be the second longest stretch in program history

Westminster College was picked third with 28 total points. The Blue Jays were 20-15 overall and 15-7 in the SLIAC last season. Head Coach Denny Hughes returns 16 players but just five starters. They lose their top two hitters from a year ago but can build their lineup around sophomore Ryan Clavin, who was the 2018 SLIAC Newcomer of the Year. Clavin hit .336 with a .641 slugging percentage and led the conference with 9 home runs. He also worked 43 innings on the mound, recording 5 wins and 41 strikeouts. Senior Ian Cassidy led the team with 75 innings pitched and totaled 66 strikeouts to go with 7 wins. Catcher Branden Beeler, a junior, is also back after hitting .318 with 17 RBI.

Eureka more than doubled their win total (14) from the previous season and finished with their third most wins in a season since joining the SLIAC

Eureka College received 18 points, coming in fourth on the poll. Head Coach Jerry Rashid led the Red Devils to a 14-17-1 record last season, his first at the helm. He brings back an experienced team with 27 returning players. Leading the list of returners is outfielder Sean Green. Green hit .384 while scoring 31 runs and driving in 17 in earning Third Team All-Conference honors. Junior outfielder Braxten Ary hit .297 with 16 RBI while senior catcher Grant Mullin hit .278 and led the team with 6 home runs and 26 RBI. Eureka also brings back pitcher Greg Cluskey and Joe Quinn. Cluskey, a sophomore, threw a team high 43 innings, striking out 35 batters while Quinn, a senior, finished with a 3.98 earned-run average in 31 innings of work. Freshmen Noah Harlan, J.D. Theile, and Hunter Triche will compete for playing time.

Infielder Chazz Brown has hit above .297 in all three of his seasons as a Tiger including a career high .315 average last season

Iowa Wesleyan University finished with 13 points on the poll, placing fifth. The Tigers were 7-33 last season under head coach Blake Beaber and return seven starters. The offense will be led by seniors Chazz Brown and Parker Leland. Brown hit a team best .315 last season with 3 home runs and 17 RBI while also stealing 22 bases. Leland, a catcher, drove in 22 while throwing out 12 base runners. The pitching staff features the trio of Brandon Devillier, Everett Swinson, and Mitchell Wilcox. Devillier averaged more than a strike out per inning while Swinson and Wilcox combined to work over 60 innings. Transfers Dominic Gerace and Clay Lathen, along with freshman Joe Morrison, will help build the team depth.


Created with images by 2246794 - "softball glove sport"

Report Abuse

If you feel that this video content violates the Adobe Terms of Use, you may report this content by filling out this quick form.

To report a copyright violation, please follow the DMCA section in the Terms of Use.