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2020 NSIC Baseball Preseason Poll

Augustana Picked in NSIC Preseason Coaches’ Poll

BURNSVILLE, Minn. - The defending NSIC Regular Season and Tournament Champions of Augustana University were the top pick in the 2020 NSIC Preseason Baseball Coaches’ Poll. This marks the second consecutive season that the Vikings have been picked to win the league. Augustana amassed 195 points after receiving 13 first place votes (coaches can’t vote for their own team). Minnesota State was second with 184 points and two first place votes. St. Cloud State was picked third with 164 points, while Wayne State was fourth with 153 points.

The preseason coaches’ poll is based off each coach ranking each team from 14 to 1 with the top team receiving 14 points, second 13, third 12, etc.

The baseball season gets underway in early February with NSIC play beginning on March 14. The 2020 NSIC Baseball Tournament will take the top eight teams in the final NSIC Standings. The double elimination tournament takes place May 6-9 in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, co-hosted by Augustana University and the University of Sioux Falls.

NSIC Preseason Players of the Year

NSIC Preseason Player of the Year
#1 Jordan Barth (1B, 6’1, 200, Jr., R/R, Cold Spring, Minn. / ROCORI HS) - Augustana
  • NCBWA Division II Third-Team All American
  • NCBWA Central Region First-Team
  • Named to the NCBA/Rawlings NCAA Division II All-Region First Team
  • D2CCA Central Region First-Team
  • First Team All-NSIC in 2019, second team in 2018 & NSIC Freshman of Year
  • Despite missing 19 games due to injury, had a .422 batting average with 39 runs
  • Added 65 hits, 14 doubles, nine homers and 45 RBIs
  • Slugged .688 and had an OBP of .468
NSIC Preseason Pitcher of the Year
#21 Max Steffens (RHP, 6’1, 200, Sr., R/R, DeWitt, Iowa / Central DeWitt HS) - Augustana
  • NCBWA Division II Second-Team All American
  • NCBWA & D2CCA Central Region Pitcher of the Year
  • NCBWA Central Region First-Team
  • NSIC Pitcher and Newcomer of the Year while earning First Team All-NSIC
  • NSIC Gold Glove award winner
  • Appeared in 16 games and made 15 starts with seven complete games
  • Went 9-1 with a 2.77 ERA in 97.1 innings pitched
  • Struck out 68 hitters and had an opponent batting average of .235
  • Broke the Augustana record for starts and innings pitched and led the NSIC in starts and innings pitched
NSIC TEAM PREVIEWS & PLAYERS TO WATCH

2019 Record: 43-16, 29-6 NSIC

The 2019 Augustana Viking baseball team followed up its 2018 National Championship with a 43-16 campaign that featured an NSIC regular season championship in addition to a NSIC Tournament Championship. The Vikings went 3-0 in the NCAA Central Regional, before falling to Central Missouri in the Super Regional. It was the second season in a row that Augustana won the NSIC Tournament and the second season in which they went undefeated in the regional round. The 2020 squad features 30 returners with 13 newcomers. Of the 13 newcomers, nine are freshmen and four are transfers. Of the returners, Augustana returns its top five batting averages from last year in Jordan Barth, Riley Johnson, JT Mix, Will Olson and Ryan Nickel. All members of the crew hit over .340 and had 10+ doubles. The top five hitters for Augustana also accounted for 26 of the 35 home runs hit and 236 of the 407 runs driven in by the Vikings last season. On the pitching side, the Vikings return seven of their top nine ERA leaders from last year, highlighted Max Steffens. Steffens garnered just about every award that you can in a season last year for the Vikings going 9-1 with a 2.77 ERA and seven complete games. Augustana also returns Tanner Brown and Seth Miller who went 7-2 with a 3.17 ERA and 6-3 with a 3.20 ERA, respectively.

#1 Jordan Barth (1B, 6’1, 200, Jr., R/R, Cold Spring, Minn. / ROCORI HS) - Augustana
  • NCBWA Division II Third-Team All American
  • NCBWA Central Region First-Team
  • Named to the NCBA/Rawlings NCAA Division II All-Region First Team
  • D2CCA Central Region First-Team
  • First Team All-NSIC in 2019, second team in 2018 & NSIC Freshman of Year
  • Despite missing 19 games due to injury, had a .422 batting average with 39 runs
  • Added 65 hits, 14 doubles, nine homers and 45 RBIs
  • Slugged .688 and had an OBP of .468
#21 Max Steffens (RHP, 6’1, 200, Sr., R/R, DeWitt, Iowa / Central DeWitt HS) - Augustana
  • NCBWA Division II Second-Team All American
  • NCBWA & D2CCA Central Region Pitcher of the Year
  • NCBWA Central Region First-Team
  • NSIC Pitcher and Newcomer of the Year while earning First Team All-NSIC
  • NSIC Gold Glove award winner
  • Appeared in 16 games and made 15 starts with seven complete games
  • Went 9-1 with a 2.77 ERA in 97.1 innings pitched
  • Struck out 68 hitters and had an opponent batting average of .235
  • Broke the Augustana record for starts and innings pitched and led the NSIC in starts and innings pitched

2019 Record: 7-39, 6-26 NSIC

Bemidji State will hit the diamond in 2020 under head coach Tim Bellew in his 15th season with the program. The Beavers finished the 2019 campaign 8-38 overall and 6-26 in the NSIC to take 15th in the league standings. BSU ended the season with the sixth fewest strikeouts at the plate and ranked 11th in fielding percentage. From the mound, Bemidji State allowed the second fewest home runs and the sixth fewest walks. BSU returns 13 position players and eight pitchers as letter-winners from the 2019 season. The Beavers return to US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis Feb. 21-22 to begin the 2020 season with a three-game series against Rockhurst University. BSU will travel to Liberty, Mo., for a four-game series Feb. 28-March 1 at William Jewell College before playing five games at the Tucson Invitational Games in Tucson, Ariz., for its spring trip March 7-11. Bemidji State will then travel to Mankato, Minn., March 14 to take on Minnesota State University, Mankato in the conference opener and host its home opening weekend March 28-29 versus Augustana University. BSU’s Player to Watch Isaiah Grancorvitz led BSU with 64 total bases, 41 hits, 27 runs scored, 16 walks, eight doubles, five home runs and a .427 slugging percentage. BSU’s Pitcher to Watch Jackson Back made nine appearances with seven starts on the mound for the Beavers during his sophomore campaign. He totaled 33.1 innings with 23 strikeouts and an opposing batting average of .364.

#8 Isaiah Grancorvitz (C, 5-10, 171, Sr., R/R, Hudson, Wis./Hudson HS)
  • Started 45 games at catcher during his junior season
  • Led BSU in total bases (65), hits (41), runs (27), walks (16), doubles (8), home runs (5) and slugging percentage (.427)
  • Second at BSU in RBI (16), stolen bases (6) and on-base percentage (.360) while totaling a .989 fielding percentage
  • Recorded nine multi-hit games in 2019
#33 Jackson Back (LHP, 6-0, 170, Jr., Beaver Creek, Ohio/Beaver Creek HS)
  • Made nine appearances with seven starts on the mound
  • Allowed an opposing batting average of .364
  • Threw 33.1 innings with 23 strikeouts

2019 Record: 21-27, 12-23 NSIC

For the first time during their 21 years as a member of the NSIC, Concordia will be led by someone other than Mark “Lunch” McKenzie as long-time assistant coach Neil Lerner was named head coach in the summer following McKenzie’s retirement. Lerner takes the reins of a program that has finished in the top five in the league four times in the past seven years, including two trips to the NSIC Championship in 2016 and 2018. While the Golden Bears lost 16 players from last year’s squad to graduation, they return their top two hitters in senior shortstop Patrick Bordewick and junior outfielder/pitcher Ryan Christopher. Bordewick, a 2018 NSIC All-Tournament Team, finished with a team-leading .301 average while collecting 12 extra-base hits and slugging .410. The senior has made 131 starts over his first three years on campus while scoring 60 runs and driving in 58 RBIs. Christopher finished the year with a .292/.361/.409 slash line over 42 games while leading the team with 25 RBIs. The left-hander also made six starts on the mound, tallying a 2-3 record with 30 strikeouts in 25.2 innings on the season. One of the top returners on the hill is senior Blake Stelzer. Stelzer had a breakout season in 2019 as he went 3-2 with a pair of saves with a 3.03 ERA and 35 strikeouts in 32.2 innings. CSP opens the season at Central Missouri on Feb. 22-23.

#16 Patrick Bordewick (SS, 6-3, 195, Sr., St. Louis Park, Minn. / St. Louis Park HS)
  • 2018 NSIC All-Tournament Team
  • Led the team with a .301 batting average and a .410 slugging percentage in 166 at-bats
  • Collected 12 extra-base hits while scoring 24 runs and driving in 24
  • Enters the year with 118 career hits over his first three seasons at CSP
#33 Blake Stelzer (RHP, 6-3, 210, Sr., Lakeville, Minn. / Lakeville North HS)
  • Went 3-2 with a pair of saves over 12 appearances, including one start
  • Struck out 35 hitters while walking just nine over 32.2 innings
  • Finished the season with a .266 opponent average

2019 Record: 17-32, 12-23 NSIC

The University of Mary baseball program took significant strides forward last season and looks to continue improving in 2020. Under first year head coach Mark Moriarty, the Marauders improved by 12 wins overall and jumped six slots in the NSIC standings from 15th to ninth place. Improved pitching was a key component as the team ERA dropped to 5.65 from 7.24 and strikeouts jumped from 5.3/nine innings to 8.1. However UMary will have a new look. Moriarty was hired by the Minnesota Twins as a minor league pitching coach. Tanner Spencer is the Marauders new head coach and will continue the program’s philosophy of incorporating technology into player development. In addition to a new head coach, UMary will also feature new players throughout the lineup and in the starting rotation. Sr. OF Jaxon Ford, who tied for the team lead for runs scored with 29 and had a .352 on base percentage, is the only returner out of the six players with 100 or more at bats from last year. Look for several new faces to make an impact. In his first year at UMary, Spencer Gilland was a 3rd team NJCAA All-American and a two-time all-region performer from Bismarck State. Gilland, who played parts of two summers for the Bismarck Larks of the Northwoods League, will play in the middle of the Marauders infield. Alec Batest, also a former BSC player, will see time behind the dish. Ty Jones earned NJCAA All-Region honors at Miles City and will hold down center field. On the mound, Paxton Thompson is the Marauders Pitcher to Watch. A sophomore righthander, Thompson joins the Marauders after playing for NCAA Division I Bradley as a freshman, where he posted a 2.35 ERA over seven appearances last spring. Junior righthander Mitch Oehme, a transfer from NCAA Division I South Dakota State, will join Thompson at the top of the rotation. A pair of returning sophomore righthanders – Jonathan Draheim and Daniel Turner - look to build on their strong performances from last spring.

#1 Spencer Gillund (SS, 6-0, 195, Jr., R/R, Enderlin, N.D. / Enderlin Area HS / Bismarck State / North Dakota State)
  • NJCAA 3rd team All-American for Bismarck State College in 2017
  • Two-time NJCAA All-Region selection for BSC (2017-18)
  • Played in the Northwoods League for the Bismarck Larks
#12 Paxton Thompson (RHP, 6-2, 200, So., R/R, St. Michael, Minn. / St. Michael-Albertville / Bradley)
  • Transfer from NCAA Division I Bradley University
  • Pitched seven games for the Braves as a freshman in 2019, posting a 2.35 ERA in 7.2 innings of work with seven Ks, four hits and four walks
  • Made the Bradley AD and Midwest Valley Conference honor rolls
  • Will also play on the infield for the Marauders

2019 Record: 28-21, 20-12 NSIC

Minnesota Crookston is coming off their best season in program history in 2019, as they went 28-21 (20-12 NSIC) to earn their third NSIC Tournament appearance in the last four years. Minnesota Crookston has risen to the top half of the conference over the tenure of Steve Gust, who enters his sixth season in 2020. The Golden Eagles will have a blend of new guys and returnees, as they look to get back to the NSIC Tournament. Brock Reller (Jr., OF, Grand Forks, N.D.) leads the way offensively after hitting .284 last season with 37 runs scored, nine home runs, and a team-high 47 RBIs. Bryce Jorgenson (Sr., OF, Thunder Bay, Ontario) also returns after hitting .260 with 39 runs scored and a team-leading 15 doubles. The Golden Eagles have added Arkansas State transfer Will Zimmerman (Sr., SS, Park River, N.D.), who hit .290 last season with 16 runs scored and 10 RBIs. On the mound, the Golden Eagles return Jayden Grover (Sr., RHP, Cooperstown, N.D.), who was 5-3 last season with a 5.43 ERA with 43 strikeouts on the year. Out of the bullpen, Minnesota Crookston will be anchored by the arm of Dalton Grose (Sr., LHP, Waterville, Minn.). Grose was 2-2 with a 3.52 ERA last season with 39 strikeouts and 22 walks and a school-record 13 saves.

#20 Brock Reller (OF, 6-3 230, Jr., Grand Forks, N.D. / Grand Forks Central HS)
  • Was second on the team with a .284 batting average in 2019
  • Launched nine home runs in 2019 and led the team with 47 RBIs
  • Hit .471 in the last 10 games of the season for Minnesota Crookston
  • Is in his second season with UMC after transferring from Iowa Central C.C.
#35 Jayden Grover (RHP,6-3, 220, Sr., Cooperstown, N.D. / Griggs County Central HS)
  • Has tallied 16 wins on the mound in his career with the Golden Eagles
  • Was 5-3 as a junior with a 5.43 ERA in 53 innings pitched with 10 starts
  • Had 43 strikeouts and 30 walks during his junior campaign

2019 Record: 16-33, 12-24 NSIC

UMD welcomes back 27 letter winners from last season, including six position players from last year’s club, who would put together a 16-33 overall record and a 12-24 Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference record. Junior outfielder and captain Henry George returns as a headliner this season. George lead the team with a .388 average last season while grabbing 59 hits and 19 stolen bases. Also back are junior infielder Anders Brown, sophomore catcher/first baseman/outfielder Totsen Mann, sophomore infielder/pitcher McCale Peterson, senior catcher Reid Rubio (captain) and senior outfielder Drew Stewart (captain). Senior pitcher Rece Dietrich, who posted a 3.56 earned run average in a team-high nine starts, which consists of 10 underclassmen this season, while also home to seven juniors, including junior pitcher/infielder Paul Petit and junior pitcher Liam Blaschko.

#2 Henry George (OF, 5’8, 165, Jr., L/L, Woodbury, Minn. / New Life Academy HS)
  • Started in 39 games last season while playing in 43 total games last season
  • Lead the Bulldogs in stolen bases, grabbing 19 (ranked seventh in the NSIC) of 23 attempts
  • Swung a .385 average last season, good for seventh in the NSIC and tops on UMD
  • Lead the team in hits (59) and on base percentage (.464, fifth in the NSIC), was third on the Bulldogs with a .480 slugging percentage
#18 Rece Dietrich (LHP, 6’6, 215, Sr., L/L, Barron, Wis. / Barron HS)
  • Made nine starts last season for the Bulldogs (lead the team)
  • Posted the lowest earned run average for a starter on the team with a 3.56
  • Had one complete game last season, one of only two to do so on UMD
  • Gave up only six walks in 48.0 innings pitched
  • Sat second on the team in strikeouts with 26 total on the year

2019 Record: 39-14, 28-8 NSIC

The Mavericks are coming off a season where they went 39-15 including a 28-8 NSIC record, good for a second place finish behind Augustana. MSU returns its whole pitching staff that includes All-NSIC selections senior Jon Ludwig, junior Cam Kline and junior Jimmy Larson. In the field, the Mavericks return six of the eight regular every day starters including reigning NSIC Freshman of the Year Nick Altermatt and All-NSIC selections seniors Teddy Petersen and Ty Buck. MSU is coming off a season where it finished second in the NSIC in both batting average and ERA with most of the starters returning. The 2020 schedule includes a non-conference that has a series against Maryville and the spring break trip before conference play begins. Throughout conference play, the Mavericks will start with a 11-game home stand, then has a 16-game road swing and then finishes up with seven more home games and three more road games.

#5 Nick Altermatt (SS, 6’0, 195, So., R/R, Wanda, Minn. / Wabasso HS)
  • Started all 54 games at shortstop as a freshman for the Mavericks
  • Hit .372 with 16 doubles, a triple, two home runs, 49 runs scored and 42 RBI
  • 2019 NSIC Freshman of the Year
  • Named ABCA/Rawlings Second Team All-Region, the NCBWA All-Region and D2CCA Second Team All-Region and the 2019 All-NSIC First Team
  • Hit safely in 44 of the 54 games last season including 23 multi-hit games and a season high 16 games hitting streak from April 14-May 4
#9 Cam Kline (RHP, 6’0, 205, Jr., R/R, Stacy, Minn. / Forest Lake HS)
  • Went 10-2 in 13 starts including six complete games and two shutouts
  • Had a 2.47 ERA in 80 innings with 112 strikeouts and 16 walks
  • Had 10 or more strikeouts five times including a career-high 14
  • Also hit .386 with 12 doubles, four triples, six home runs, 21 runs scored and 36 RBI while playing in the outfield
  • Collected D2CCA All-American First Team, ABCA/Rawlings First Team All-Region, D2CCA First Team All-Region, NCBWA First Team All-Region and 2019 All-NSIC First Team honors

2019 Record: 36-18, 24-10 NSIC

In the three years under Coach Eul the program has showed continuous improvement, and the next step for the Beavers this year is to win the NSIC Tournament Championship after losing in the championship game last season. Despite losing two all-conference selections the Beavers have high hopes, and look to get to the NCAA tournament for the first time in history with key players such as Trevaun Smith and RJ Martinez.

#3 Trevaun Smith (UTL, 6’0, 180, Sr., R/R, Brampton, Ontario / Humberview Secondary)
  • At the top of the lineup he has started 126 games over the past three season
  • In 2019 he hit .286 with 37 stolen bases
  • Fielding percentage of .986 in 2019, playing several different positions
#9 RJ Martinez (LHP, 5’10, 165, Jr., L/L, Sun City, Calif. / Valley View HS)
  • In his 59.1 innings pitched he had a 3.64 ERA
  • Struck batters out at a high rate, punching out 59 batters on the season
  • Had a WHIP of 1.35 on the season, giving up 63 hits, and just 17 walks

2019 Record: 26-25, 20-16 NSIC

Northern State enters the 2020 season after posting a 26-25 record overall and 20-16 mark in the league, finishing seventh in 2019. The Wolves qualified for the NSIC Tournament, going 1-2 with a win over Minnesota Crookston. John Poldberg and Luke Chevalier broke five single season and career records on the hill, leading the Wolves in relief and starting roles. Chevalier earned All-Conference and All-Region accolades in his senior campaign, and wrapped up his NSU career as a 26th round pick in the MLB draft. NSU returns 22 players for a season ago, including five starters in the field and four starting pitchers. Hayden Houts and Cody Curfman were named the team’s players to watch heading into the 2020 campaign. Houts led the team hitting .346 on the year, while Curfman posted a 3.59 ERA and 4-4 record in his first season with the Wolves. Northern opens the 2020 season at US Bank Stadium as they take on St. Cloud State in the 3-game non-conference series. NSU will then face off against Regis and travel to the RussMatt Invitational, before opening league play at Wayne State in mid-March.

#2 Hayden Houts (C, 5’11, 205, Sr., L/R, Owen, Wis. / Owen-Withee HS)
  • Hit .346 with a .528 slugging percentage in 2019
  • Led the Wolves with 55 hits and 39 RBI
  • Ranked in top-30 of the NSIC in conference batting average
  • Tallied an NSIC single game high of seven RBI versus Upper Iowa
#24 Cody Curfman (RHP, 6’2, 190, Sr., R/R, Chugiak, Alaska / Chugiak HS)
  • Posted a 4-4 record a season ago, with all four wins in conference action
  • Tallied a 3.59 ERA in 62.2 innings pitched
  • Recorded 57 strikeouts on the year
  • Led the NSIC in batters struck out looking with 21

2019 Record: 13-37, 10-23 NSIC

Sioux Falls, who is tabbed at 14th in the 2020 NSIC Preseason Coaches’ Poll, had a daunting offense who scored 212 runs a year ago, as well as being tied fourth in the NSIC iin triples (14). The Cougars were also a Top-10 NSIC team in home runs, sending 25 pitches out of the park. USF averaged 6.64 hits per game, while pitching had an earned run average of 5.85, based on nine-inning games. The Cougars are led on offense by junior shortstop Grant Lung who had a batting average of .256 on 44 hits in 50 games, which includes 34 career runs batted in. Lung had an average of .295 with runners in scoring position, while moving runners at a mark of .505 in those situations. The pitching staff will lean on the experience of senior right-handed pitcher Keenahn Coyle, who a year ago amassed 46 strikeouts in 58.2 innings pitched. The Cougars start the 2020 in Pueblo, Colo., on Feb. 14-16 to face Montana State-Billings for a pair of games, as well as a game against host CSU-Pueblo in between. After the Cougars’ seven-game stance in Florida (Mar. 6-10), USF will start with conference play at The Birdcage for a three-game weekend series against Minot State on Mar. 14-15.

#14 Grant Lung (INF, 6’0, 185, Jr., L/R, Peoria, Ariz. / Liberty HS)
  • Hit .256 with 44 hits in 50 games and 34 RBIs which was second on the team a year ago
  • Collected 10 multi-hit games a year ago and eight multi-RBI games
  • Hit first career home run against Bemidji State on April 7, 2019 in a 20-2 win
  • First multi-homer game (2) and career-best six RBIs as USF defeated UMD, 7-4, on April 9, 2019
  • Hit 18-of-61 for .295 with runners in scoring positions and moved runners at a .505 mark
#15 Keenahn Coyle (RHP, 6’4, 205, Sr., R/R, Sioux Falls, S.D. / Washington HS)
  • Recorded eight starts in 14 appearances
  • Had an ERA of 5.68 in 2018, an ERA that gradually declined as the season progressed
  • Allowed two or less runs in six appearances, including two scoreless appearances
  • Recorded 46 strikeouts in 2019
  • Amassed wins against Winona State and Concordia-St. Paul, throwing eight innings of two-run baseball against the Golden Bears

2019 Record: 11-27, 10-23 NSIC

The 2020 Mustangs feature 22 returning letter winners from last season’s team that finished 11-27 overall, including 10-23 in NSIC play. SMSU returns nearly all of its top hitters from last season, including senior outfielder Tannor Strommen, who batted .278 with a team-high 35 base hits. Senior first baseman Brady Lanoue batted .271 with four doubles and three home runs, while the team’s home run leader from a season ago, senior outfielder Ben Heichel, also returns after clubbing seven home runs and 20 RBIs. Junior third baseman Jake Hendricks led the team with 22 RBIs and also had a team-high 10 doubles. Senior shortstop Nathan Kuhn finished with seven doubles and coaxed a team-leading 19 walks, while batting .258. The pitching staff will feature several upper classmen to lead the way this spring. Senior righty Justin Clark returns after missing nearly the entire 2019 season with an injury. He tossed a team-high 54.1 innings and finished 3-4 with a 4.80 ERA with two complete games and 61 strikeouts in 2018. Junior left-hander John Bezdicek led the team last season with 57 strikeouts and recorded a 2-5 mark with a 4.18 ERA in 51 2/3 innings. Senior left-hander Teddy Broxerman also returns after appearing in a team-high 14 games and finishing with a 5.87 ERA with 24 strikeouts in 23 innings and five saves.

#6 Nathan Kuhn (SS, 5’8, 175, Sr., R/R, Eagan, Minn. / Eagan HS)
  • Two-year starter that Started 35 games at shortstop in 2019
  • Finished batting .258 with seven doubles and 10 RBIs
  • Had six multi-hit games
  • Second on the team with 68 assists
  • Started all 40 games at shortstop in 2018 and batted .309 with seven doubles, one triple and one home run while recording 14 multi-hit games
#22 John Bezdicek (LHP, 6’3, 200, Jr., L/L, Plymouth, Minn. / Osseo HS)
  • Appeared in 10 games with eight starts in 2019
  • Finished the season 2-5 with two complete games, while recording a 4.18 ERA
  • Tossed a team-high 51 2/3 innings with a team-high 57 strikeouts
  • Pitched at least 5 2/3 innings in seven starts
  • Named NSIC Pitcher of the Week (4/2) following a three-hit shutout with 14 strikeouts at Upper Iowa
  • Recorded six or more strikeouts in five starts
  • Ranked ninth in the NSIC in innings pitched (46) and fifth in strikeouts (52).

2019 Record: 41-14, 26-8 NSIC

The St. Cloud State University baseball team will be looking to continue its tradition of success in 2020. The Huskies have been impressive during the Pat Dolan era, which includes five consecutive NCAA tournament bids and nine NCAA tournament bids since 2010. SCSU has also notched 11 consecutive seasons with 30-plus wins and seven 40-plus win seasons since 2010, including a 41-14, 26-8 NSIC record in 2019. The Huskies will be led in 2020 by senior outfielder Lenny Walker, who batted .315 with 65 hits in 46 RBIs along with infielder Aaron Hammann, who notched 33 hits and 20 RBIs in 2019. The Huskies’ roster will feature several top pitching veterans including Northwoods League All-Star junior lefty Trevor Koenig, who posted a 7-2 record for the St. Cloud Rox during the summer of 2019 along with senior Blake Flint (7-2 with 66 strikeouts in 2019, junior Matthew Osterberg (5-2 with 56 strikeouts in 2019) and crafty senior Shannon Ahern (55 strikeouts with a 2.91 ERA in 2019). SCSU will be looking to replace several starters from the 2019 roster but a wealth of incoming transfers and skilled freshmen should help St. Cloud State add another winning chapter to its record book in 2020.

#14 Lenny Walker (OF, 6’0, 190, Sr., R/R, Phoenix, Ariz. / Tolleson HS) 
  • Appeared in all 53 games and started in 52 games in 2019
  • Hit .315, tallied 14 doubles, one home run, 64 hits, 46 RBIs and scored 40 runs as a junior
  • A transfer from Phoenix College in 2019
  • Had 19 multi-hit games during the 2019 season at SCSU
#11 Trevor Koenig (LHP, 6’11, 200, Jr., L/L, St. Cloud, Minn. / Technical HS)
  • A 2017 draft pick of the Milwakee Brewers
  • 10 appearances in 2019 with 18 strikeouts and one save in 14.2 IP
  • As a freshman, Koenig pitched in five games with 25.2 IP, 23 strikeouts and a 2-1 record
  • An Northwoods League All-Star with the St. Cloud Rox in 2019
  • Posted a 7-2 NWL record in 2019 that included a 1.49 ERA and 55 strikeouts in 66.2 IP

2019 Record: 12-28, 9-26

Upper Iowa is eager to get back on the diamond under the leadership of second-year Head Coach Jeremy Ische in 2020. The Peacocks finished 2019 with a 12-28 overall record and a 9-26 mark in the Northern Sun Conference after battling through injuries that cut into the team’s depth on the mound. In their five non-conference games, Upper Iowa split with Lewis University and Quincy University and defeated the University of Minnesota Duluth to register a 3-2 mark. In NSIC action, the Peacocks won a three-game series with the University of Sioux Falls 2-1 and split with the University of Mary, Concordia University, St. Paul and Wayne State College. The team played in 14 games with a margin of two or less runs recording a 5-9 mark in those decisions. UIU posted a 3-6 record in one-run games and a 2-5 mark in games won by two runs. Offensive leaders AJ Friedrich, a NSIC Player to Watch, and Riley Braughton return to the lineup this season. Friedrich led the team in average (.357) and runs batted in (29), while registering the second-most hits (51). Braughton hit .316, fourth-best on the team, while tallying 43 hits, also fourth, including 10 doubles, second-highest on the team. UIU will also gain the return of Connor Klosterman, who sat out the 2019 campaign due to injury. Klosterman hit .301 in 2018 as a junior third baseman thanks to 40 hits including eight doubles and a pair of home runs. Duncan Snider, UIU’s NSIC Pitcher to Watch, leads a group of experienced arms onto the hill this spring. Snider went 3-5 in 2019 with 68 strikeouts and an ERA of 2.97 in 57.2 innings. UIU also welcomes back Blake Thiesse (2-3, 5.40 ERA, 50 IP, 23 Ks), Clayton Lieb (1-2, 19.2 IP, 19 Ks) and Alexander Morales (3-4, 43.2 IP, 35 Ks) to lead the pitching staff. Colin Lacey also returns after a season-ending injury cut his sophomore season short. The left-hander came into the 2019 season as UIU’s NSIC Pitcher to Watch.

#29 A.J. Friedrich (1B, 6-2, 250, Jr., Waconia, Minn. / Waconia HS)
  • Hit .357 for UIU with 51 hits including 6 doubles, a triple and 3 home runs
  • Scored 24 runs and drove in 29
  • Recorded a .980 fielding percentage at first base with 238 putouts and 12 assists and only 5 errors on the season
  • Registered three hits in a game seven times in 2019 and two hits in a game 8 times
#11 Duncan Snider (RHP, 6-7, 230, Sr., R/R, Muscatine, Iowa / Muscatine HS)
  • Posted a 3-5 record in 10 starts for UIU with an ERA of 2.97
  • Allowed only 19 earned runs in 57.2 innings while striking out 68 batters
  • Opponents hit just .216 against him with 47 hits including only 9 doubles and a home run
  • Recorded a streak of 13 scoreless innings during back-to-back starts against Concordia-St. Paul (W, 11-0) and Sioux Falls (W, 1-0) in 2019

2019 Record: 32-18, 23-12 NSIC

Sixth year Wayne State head coach Alex Koch returns five All-NSIC selections from last year’s team that went 32-18 overall and finished fifth in the NSIC with a 23-12 league mark. It was an 11-game improvement in win total for the Wildcats and Koch returns a strong pitching staff with just one pitcher lost to graduation. Sophomore Ryan Obrecht was a First Team All-NSIC and Second Team All-Central Region selection last season after an impressive freshman season (7-2, 2.04 ERA) where he led the NSIC in opponent batting average (.194) while ranking fourth in ERA. Senior starter Hunter Wienhoff (8-3, 2.74 ERA) was Second Team All-NSIC last season while senior Aidan Breedlove (7-3, 4.64 ERA) are both four year starters on the hill. Offensively, the ‘Cats return a pair of All-NSIC Second Team performers in junior outfielder Alex Logelin and junior designated hitter Andrew Hanson. Logelin hit .317 last season with 21 doubles and a team-high 53 runs scored while Hanson surged at the end of the season and closed with a .303 average recording 54 hits and 31 RBI. Senior outfielder Bryce Bisenius also returns after leading the team last season in homers (9). Wayne State opens the 2020 season on Friday, January 31 in Cleburne, Texas vs. Newman (Kan.) at the 4-HIM Classic.

#9 Andrew Hanson (2B, 6’1, 180, Jr., R/R, Burnsville, Minn. / Burnsville HS)
  • Second Team All-NSIC last season
  • D2CCA and NCBWA Second Team All-Central Region
  • Hit .303 with five HR, 31 RBI and 14-16 in stolen bases
  • 12 multi-hit games, recording 54 hits with 13 doubles
#7 Ryan Obrecht (RHP, 6’4, 170, So., R/R, Omaha, Neb. / Millard North HS)
  • First Team All-NSIC and D2CCA All-Central Region Second Team as a freshman
  • Went 7-2 with 2.04 ERA last season, leading NSIC in opponent batting average (.194)
  • Only pitcher in NSIC last season to not give up a home run
  • Allowed just 13 earned runs in 57.1 innings pitched with 50 strikeouts

2019 Record: 26-23, 16-16 NSIC

The Warriors made some noise late in the 2019 NSIC Tournament, battling out of the loser’s bracket to eliminate Wayne State and Mankato – both seeded higher that WSU. Winona State finished the season with a record of 26-23 (16-16 NSIC), the Warriors’ highest overall win total and first season above .500 since 2014. WSU has shown improvement in the win column in each of the last three seasons, and looks to continue that trend in 2020. Winona State graduated just four players from the 2019 squad. The 2020 roster is filled with talented veterans (8 seniors), experienced youth and promising newcomers (7 freshman). Seniors Chad Herbst, Sam Kohnle, Derek Martin, Nick Nalewanski and Andrew Pliner will lead the offense along with juniors Nathan Loomis, Zac Stange and Tanner Williams. Aaron Mutter headlines the pitching staff along with fellow senior Caleb Schoenholz who hopes to bounce back from a season-ending injury. Junior Austin Savary and sophomore Kyle Gendron return to the rotation while hard-throwing junior Nicolas Herold will secure the back end of the bullpen.

#33 Sam Kohnle (1B, 6’3, 205, Sr., R/R, Tisch Mills, Wis. / Kewaunee HS)
  • Has led WSU in batting in each of the last three seasons (.350 or higher)
  • Ranked 7th in the country last year as the toughest batter to strike out
  • Named the 2019 Northwoods League ‘Finest in the Field’ Award winner for his play at 1B
#24 Aaron Mutter (RHP, 6’5, 240, Sr., R/R, Burlington, Wis. / Burlington HS)
  • Recorded a career-best five wins in 2019 (5-3)
  • Limited batters to a .241 average while fanning a career-high 54 (65.0 IP)
  • Posted three complete games and one shutout last season