Athletics

2001 Baseball Outlook

The 2001 University of Southern Indiana baseball team will have a new look this spring. With the graduation of 10 players in 2000, USI Head Coach Mike Goedde will have a lot of new faces to integrate into the line-up.

Beginning his eighth season at the helm, Goedde has led USI to a 206-149 (.580) record in seven years. Goedde is just 14 wins away from tying Larry Shown for the USI all-time record with 220 wins.

Entering 2001, Goedde will rely on 13 returning players to balance and help direct the 14 new competitors on the field.

Gone from last seasonís squad is Mike Peerman, USIís all-time leader in hits, and Rob Bowers, USIís season record holder in saves and appearances.

On the mound, USI will begin with a veteran set of hurlers. Leading the way is senior right-hander Jon Adams (Ft. Branch, Indiana), who had a 3-1 record and a 2.78 ERA in 11 games last season for USI.

He is followed by senior left-hander Aaron Piening (Indianapolis, Indiana), who was 3-3 in 10 games and eight starts, and junior right-hander Steve Arnold (Evansville, Indiana), who was 2-1 out of the bullpen with a 4.91 ERA.

The Eagles also return senior right-hander Jay Winters (Shawneetown, Illinois), who had 18 strikeouts in 45 innings out of the pen, while sophomore right-hander Dustin Macke (Evansville, Indiana) will be expected to pick up some of the slack from USIís six departing hurlers.

New to the mound for USI in 2001 are three transfers, a senior, and two juniors.

Senior right-hander Kylan Stuck (Carmel, Indiana) comes north from Delta State University to join Piening, a former teammate at Carmel High School. Stuck was 7-3 with a 4.50 ERA in 20 appearances for DSU as a junior.

Coming to the team as juniors are right-hander Mike Schrader (Covington, Indiana) and left-hander Darren Weeks (Forrest, Illinois). Schrader was 8-2 with a 2.50 ERA at Danville Area College.

New to the USI rotation in 2001 are freshmen right-handers Drew Neel (Newburgh, Indiana) and Nathan Esche (Mt. Vernon, Indian); and freshmen left-handers Toby Pritchard (Ft. Wayne, Indiana), Blake Chambers (Washington, Indiana), Cory Macke (Evansville, Indiana), and Andrew Renn (Floyds Knobs, Indiana).

In the field and at the plate the Eagles return five starters from last seasonís line-up. The top returning player at the plate is junior third-baseman Brian Branson (Mt. Vernon, Indiana), who hit .263 with six doubles, three home runs, and 23 RBIs.

Next to him on the infield are sophomores shortstop Josh Perkins (Lafayette, Indiana) and sophomore second baseman Adam Schiff (Evansville, Indiana).

Perkins, who led off for much of his freshman season, hitting .259 with six doubles, two home runs, and 24 RBIs. Schiff fought through a first-half slump at the plate to shine in the second half of his freshman season. He hit .245 for the season with 19 RBIs, hitting .283 in the final 22 games.

Sophomore Josh Hodge (Evansville, Indiana) was plugged into the line-up late last season at first base due to injuries. He will get a hard look to be the starter in the preseason.

Senior catchers Andy Cook (Evansville, Indiana) and Greg Baisden (Schererville, Indiana) will give the USI hurlers two solid backstops, while junior transfer Brian Scroggins (East Alton, Illinois) will add punch to the line-up.

Scroggins hit .405 with a .690 slugging percentage at Lewis and Clark Community College. He also contributed 20 runs and six round-trippers.

Patrolling the wide expanses of the USI outfield will be with four returning players and a transfer.

The transfer is sophomore Andy Nucci (Ft. Wayne, Indiana), who hit .388 with 50 RBIs, 12 doubles, and three triples as a freshman at Huntington College.

Of the four returning players, the Eagles have a junior and three sophomores. Junior Marcus Renn (Floyds Knobs, Indiana) played in 52 of USIís 55 games, patrolling centerfield with a .977 fielding percentage.

Also competing for the outfield slots will be sophomores Justin Konopacki (Ft. Wayne, Indiana) and Neil Duckworth (Henderson, Kentucky).

The Eagles will have to be ready to compete with the first pitch. USI will play three teams which were in the NCAA Division II Tournament last year and four teams which were ranked in the Collegiate Baseball Preseason Top 25.

In the GLVC, the Eagles will play at home against preseason ranked University of Indianapolis (11th), Quincy University (19th), and Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (30th). Indianapolis finished third in the NCAA II Tournament in 2000.

The non-conference schedule will be a tough one. USI will play on the road against Kennesaw State University, which was an NCAA II Tournament team and ranked 10th in the preseason.

Overall, USI will play six schools in Division II that averaged a combined 37 wins last season.

The squad also will play at NCAA Division I team Murray State University.


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