The leadoff spot will be manned once more by senior centerfielder Connor Hickey. The speedy lefty ranks second all-time in stolen bases (42), going 17-for-19 in 2018. He added a .361 batting average, 49 runs and 22 walks drawn. Senior Josh Parks is back in the outfield with a power bat that produced five homers, 15 doubles, 35 RBI and a .321 batting average. Senior Brady Sarkon mans first base (.352 BA, 3 HR, 34 RBI, 21 BB) and junior Payton Jancsy (.367 BA, 35 RBI) will continue his utility role. Senior Ian Bohn resumes duties behind the plate (.304 BA, 2 HR, 31 RBI, .992 FLD PCT).
The infield includes the double-play combo of sophomore Brian Lyle at shortstop (.336 BA, 23 RBI), sophomore James Kelly at second base (.246 BA, 9 2B, 13 RBI), who helped UChicago tally 35 double plays last year. Junior Drew Ventrelle (.248 BA, 23 RBI) was a regular starter at third base as well.
The pitching staff features senior Brenton Villasenor and junior Jacob Petersen, who made a combined 21 starts. Villasenor provided top-of-the-rotation presence with a 4-4 record, 3.22 ERA and 72 strikeouts in 67 innings pitched. Petersen led the team in victories at 8-2, with a 3.99 ERA and 42 strikeouts.
"I think that they both matured immensely last season and really possessed a commanding presence on the mound," said Fitzgerald. "I also feel that both have grown significantly in their abilities since last spring. Their ability to consistently throw strikes and compete on a pitch-by-pitch basis last season was a huge reason for the success and improvement that they enjoyed in 2018."