Springfield, Ohio – The Wittenberg University baseball team will hit the road to open the season, playing two doubleheaders against the Quakers of Earlham College on Saturday and Sunday. Coach Brian McGee returns for his second season with the Tigers, leading a youthful roster of 20 freshmen on the 39 man squad.
Wittenberg finished the 2017 campaign going 13-23 overall and 5-11 in conference play. With the departure of two seniors Dalton Boucher and Josh Kaplan, the Tiger's will look to replace over 40 runs scored and 80 hits from last season between the two.
"Last year was a big transition year, and at times challenging. With it having been my first season at Wittenberg, and the changes that brings, we were all getting adjusted to our new environments. This season things are completely different. Everyone seems comfortable, confident, and anxious to perform as a team. The returners have really bought into the direction we are taking this program, and the freshmen, who make my first recruiting class, will bring additional talent to the roster. As a whole, I like what I see. The team is working hard, developing, and are all getting along great," said Coach McGee.
As a team, Wittenberg recorded a slash line of .280/.353/.359 on the season, scoring an average of just over five runs per game, along with 177 RBIs. Sophomore Patrick Kenny will return after earning All-NCAC honors and leading Wittenberg in four offensive categories. Kenny tallied a team-high 24 RBIs, 16 walks, 13 doubles and hit 3 HRs, to go along with 20 runs scored 37 hits. Matt Baker earned All-NCAC honorable mention with a team-high 30 runs scored and 47 hits, posting a .348 average and adding seven stolen bases.
"Really proud of the way senior captain Tim Bates has navigated the change in culture we have instilled into our program. The team has truly bought into the expectations that we now hold over our players' heads in this program," said McGee.
Junior Brandon Beegle will return to the mound for Wittenberg, making 13 appearances in 2017. Beegle posted a 2.56 ERA over 31.2 innings pitched for the Tigers with an average of 4.26 strikeouts per nine innings.
"I am very excited to see the result of their hard work and positive attitudes this season," said McGee.