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December 07, 2001

2002 Baseball Outlook

NCAA II Tournament: 1979, 1983, 1989, 1992, 1993, 1994
GLVC Championships: 1983, 1985, 1993
GLVC Regular Season Championships: 1992, 1993

The 2002 University of Southern Indiana baseball season is all about keeping the momentum going.

The Screaming Eagles are under the direction of USI all-time winningest head coach Mike Goedde. Goedde, who is 234-187 (.556) at USI, finished fourth in the Great Lakes Valley Conference Tournament. USI qualified for the tournament as the number four seed with a 15-12 conference record, finishing second in the South Division.

This spring, the GLVC has realigned, merging the two divisions into one, with the top six teams advancing to the league's post-season tournament.

The Returning Players
Key to the Eagles success will be the production of their top hitters from 2001. USI hit .298 with an average of six runs a game as a team last spring.

Leading the offensive force for Goedde are three juniors Adam Schiff (Evansville, Indiana), Andy Nucci (Ft. Wayne, Indiana), and Josh Perkins (Lafayette, Indiana).

Schiff, an All-GLVC second baseman, was third on the team with a .357 batting average, .356 in the GLVC that requires wooden bats during league play. He led the Eagles with 53 runs scored, 21 doubles, and 44 RBIs. 

Nucci, an All-GLVC outfielder, was second on the team with a .359 average, .350 in the league and was the team leader with nine stolen bases. He also produced 12 doubles and 44 runs scored in his first season with the Eagles.

Perkins, who saw action at shortstop and designated hitter as a sophomore, was the team's leading hitter. He missed five games with a back injury, but led the team with a .393 average, .318 in the league, and a .531 slugging percentage.

In addition to these standouts, the Eagles return eight other position players.

In the infield, Schiff and Perkins are joined by senior third baseman Brian Branson (Mt. Vernon, Indiana) and senior utility player Justin Ambs (Zionsville, Indiana).

Branson, a three-year starter for the Eagles, led the team with five home runs and had a career-best .284 with 39 RBIs and 39 doubles as a junior. Ambs returns as USI most versatile player, seeing action at third, short, and second.

Nucci has plenty of company in the outfield with returing senior Marcus Renn (Floyds Knobs, Indiana) junior Justin Konopacki (Ft. Wayne, Indiana) and sophomore Toby Pritchard (Ft. Wayne, Indiana). 

Renn was fourth on the squad with a .317 batting average, battling injuries and playing in only 37 contests as a junior.

Konopacki, who also plays first base, was second on the team with 39 RBIs while hitting .293 in 53 games. He also was tied for second on the team with four home runs, and third on the team with 13 doubles.

Pritchard, one of four pitcher/position players on the team, split time at first base, in the outfield, and on the mound during his first season. He hit .308 with 15 RBIs, two doubles, a triple, and a home run. As a hurler, he was 1-1 with a 4.09 in 12 contests for the Eagles.

Returning to give USI a steady hand behind the plate is senior Brian Scroggins (Edwardsville, Illinois) and redshirt freshman Vic Cardinal (Vincennes, Indiana). Scroggins, who hit .405 as a sophomore at Lewis & Clark Community College, played a key role at several positions in 2001.

On the mound, Coach Goedde faces his biggest challenge, replacing four starters.

USI's top returners are Pritchard, who had 22 innings as a freshman, and senior right-hander Steve Arnold (Evansville, Indiana).

Arnold was tied for second on the team in saves with two, while producing a 3-2 record and a 4.80 ERA in 45.0 innings pitched.

Out of the bullpen, the Eagles return seniors Mike Schrader (Covington, Indiana), a right-hander, and Darren Weeks (Forrest, Illinois), a left-hander sophomore right-handers Drew Neel (New

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