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February 18, 2004

USI baseball opens Monday

The first pitch of the 2004 University of Southern Indiana baseball season will be Monday, February 23, when the Screaming Eagles host Brescia University to begin the 55-game schedule. USI will begin the season with a short two-game homestand before going on the road for 10 straight.

A new look USI baseball team will take to the field in 2004.

USI Head Coach Mike Goedde starts the 2004 campaign with 14 new players to replace eight graduating seniors that included five starting position players and three pitchers. The Eagles all-time winningest coach, with a record of 281-232 (.548) in 10 seasons, will have the challenge of combining the newcomers with his 18 returning players in 2004.

Of the 18 returning players, the Eagles are led by second team All-GLVC performers Matt Keener (Newburgh, Indiana), a junior utility player, and Noah Wetzel (New Salisbury, Indiana), a junior centerfielder. Keener hit .307 with 24 RBIs, while Wetzel hit .278 with a team-high 24 stolen bases.

Keener also was one of USIís top hurlers, finishing the season with a 4-1 record and a 2.76 ERA.

Brescia, which is currently 1-1, could have five games under its belt by time the Bearcats visit the USI Baseball Field. The Bearcats started the year by splitting a doubleheader with Southern Polytech State in Georgia. The first pitch Monday is scheduled for noon.

USI and Brescia split two games last season. The Eaglesí victory came on the arm of righthander Drew Neel (Newburgh, Indiana), who threw his first collegiate no-hitter.

The homestand concludes when Oakland City University comes to Evansville for a single game Wednesday, February 25. USI took three of four from Oakland City last season, sweeping a pair at the USI Baseball Field and splitting on the road. The game, which starts at 1 p.m. next Wednesday, is OCUís season opener.

Ray Simmons, USI Sports Information

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