The Gustavus baseball team returns eight field starters, three starting pitchers, and its top two relievers from a team that finished 21-15 overall and placed fourth in the MIAC with a record of 14-6 last year. In addition, three of those returning field starters were All-Conference selections including shortstop Mike DesLauriers, second baseman Nate Ruff, and first baseman Pat Siering. The team will need to replace All-America performer Tony Konicek, however Coach Mike Carroll feels this team has the experience and depth to be considered one of the top teams in the conference this season.
The infield will be anchored by shortstop Mike DesLauriers, second baseman Nate Ruff, and first baseman Pat Siering. All three are solid all-around players. DesLauriers hit .415 and finished second in the league in hits (33) and runs scored (26), while Siering hit .353 and ranked fifth in the MIAC in RBI (24) and Ruff hit .320 and had a .955 fielding percentage. Veteran catcher Shea Roehrkasse (Sr., Jackson Hole, Wyo.) also returns after hitting .394 last season. The question mark in the infield will be who will step in at third base after the graduation of Tony Konicek. The likely candidates to fill the opening are sophomores Tory Herman (Shoreview, Minn.) and Willy Hanson (St. Peter, Minn.).
The outfield returns all three starters including senior rightfielder Tyler Kaus (St. James, Minn.), sophomore centerfielder Andrew Woitas (Sleepy Eye, Minn.), and sophomore leftfielder Eric Bigham (Robbinsdale, Minn.). Kaus, the Gusties leadoff hitter posted a .400 batting average last season, while Bigham and Woitas made solid contributions as freshman. Bigham hit .342 and Woitas led all Gustie outfielders in assists with 16. Coach Mike Carroll has solid depth in the outfield as senior Robby Wiens (Burnsville, Minn.) and sophomore Spencer Campion (Plymouth, Minn.) return after playing regularly last season and hitting .262 and .253 respectively.
Pitching will once again be the key to the Gusties success in 2008 and Coach Carroll will rely on three returning starting pitchers and two relievers. The three starters are Dave Wold, who posted a record of 3-2 in seven starts a year ago, Kraig Olson (Sr., Blooming Prairie, Minn.), who posted a record of 1-0 in eight starts, and Brandon Knoll (Jr., Princeton, Minn.), who posted a record of 3-3 in six starts. The Gusties were blessed with solid pitching out of the bullpen last season and the top two relievers return in Chad Schnettler (Sr., Sartell, Minn.) and Charlie Cicalello (Sr., St. Paul, Minn.). Schnettler posted a record of 1-2 in 13 appearances and posted an ERA of 2.45, while Cicalello was 4-1 in 14 appearances with two saves and a 2.81 ERA.