Players in Professional Baseball
2002 Baseball Season 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 (Newburgh, Indiana); Nathan Esche (Mt. Vernon, Indiana); sophomore left-hander Cory Macke (Evansville, Indiana); and freshman left-hander Blake Chambers (Washington, Indiana).
The Eagles deepen the pool of veteran players with nine junior college and Division I transfers.
The outfield supplemented by the addition of junior transfer Steve Owen (Wauwatosa, Wisconsin) from Waukesha County Technical College. Owen hit .495 with 39 RBIs, 12 doubles, and five home runs in 29 games as a sophomore at WCTC.
A strong infield gains added depth with the addition of junior first baseman Aaron Brown (Florissant, Missouri). Brown transfers to USI after a season at Central Arizona College and St. Louis Community College at Meramec.
Competing with Scroggins for the starting spot behind the plate is junior transfer Paul Kohler (Arnold, Missouri). Kohler, who played his high school baseball for St. Pius X in Festus Missouri, played two seasons for the St. Louis Community College Meramec in St. Louis, Missouri. Last spring, the pitchers Kohler caught had a low 3.38, while he hit .235 with five doubles and 17 RBIs.
Helping to re-establish an experienced presence on the mound the Eagles pick up six veteran arms.
Lincoln Trail College contributed two of the hurlers to the Eagles in left-hander Brian Anderson (Brazil, Indiana) and right-hander Lonnie Baker (Lexington, Kentucky).
Anderson was named the Great Rivers Athletic Conference Player of the Year after going 6-2 with a 4.24 ERA and 35 strikeouts in 62.7 innings pitched this spring. He capped off a two-year career at LTC with an 11-5 record, a 4.62 ERA, and 68 strikeouts.
Baker finished 2001 with a 5-3 record and 31 strikeouts in 50 innings. He finished his career with an 11-3 overall record and a 4.76 ERA, while striking out 49.
From Olney Central College come two pitcher/position players in sophomore left-handed pitcher/outfielder Adam Anderson (Raleigh, Illinois) and junior right-hander/infielder Bret "Bowie" Johnson (Brazil, Indiana).
Traveling different paths to USI are junior left-hander Joe Stanisz (Highland, Indiana), junior right-hander Dan Tomashek (Ft. Wayne, Indiana), and freshman left-hander Matt Antey (Newburgh, Indiana). Stanisz comes to USI after a year at Iowa State University, while Tomashek transfers to the Eagles from Southeastern Illinois Junior College. Antey is transferring from Central Michigan University after redshirting in 2001.
USI introduces 10 freshmen (six infielders, two catchers, an outfielder, and two pitchers) to GLVC baseball in 2002.
In the infield, USI is looking for contributions early in the season from All-State Corey Goers (LaPorte, Indiana) and Eric Briggs (Newburgh, Indiana).
Goers graduated this spring from LaPorte High School in LaPorte, Indiana, where he hit .546 with 44 RBIs and 48 runs scored. He also was named All-State and All-Duneland Conference at shortstop as a junior and senior and was LPHS Most Valuable Player as a senior.
Briggs was a first team All-State performer at third base for Castle High School. He hit .422 with an on-base percentage of .543 and a slugging percentage of .873, which included nine home runs, three triples, and 13 doubles. Briggs also drove in 45 runs for CHS, the Indiana Class 4A State runner-up.
Honorable mention All-State players looking to push for playing time in the field are Dan Caudle (Dyer, Indiana), Jared Tekulve (Madison, Indiana); and outfielder Noah Wetzel (New Salisbury, Indiana).
Caudle hit .450 with 37 RBIs, 14 doubles, a .505 on-base percentage, and a .622 slugging percentage at Lake Central High School as a senior. Wetzel, who was honorable mention All-State in 2000 and 2001, finished his career at North Harrison High School ranked fifth all-time in the state of Indiana for runs scored.
Behind the plate, a freshman Andy Rock (West Chester, Ohio) will compete for playing time. Rock hit .385 with 31 RBIs in 30 games for Lakota East High School as a senior.
Another pitcher that can play multiple positions is 2001 Metro Player of the Year Matt Keener (Newburgh, Indiana). Keener finished his high school career as a member of the Indiana Class 4A state finalist Castle High School baseball team that was 27-8 this spring. The Newburgh, Indiana, native finished with an 8-0 record, a 2.00 ERA, and 77 strikeouts. He also added a .484 batting average, 29 RBIs, and 43 runs scored at the plate.
Keener is joined by Matt Goans (Evansville, Indiana), a freshman right-hander from Evansville's Mater Dei High School, and Kameron Mills (Loogootee, Indiana), a freshman right-handed pitcher/infielder from Loogootee High School. Goans helped lead the Wildcats with a 5-2 record and a 0.31 ERA as a senior.