The Gustavus baseball team will open its 2009 season with a non-conference doubleheader against Loras College of Dubuque, Iowa at the Metrodome on Saturday. The Gusties will be led by veterans Mike DesLauriers and Nate Ruff. The Duhawks, who are a member of the Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, will also be playing in their first game of the season.
The 2009 Gustavus Adolphus baseball team again looks to contend for the MIAC title with solid defense and pitching after tying for third in the league last season with a 12-8 record. Head Coach Mike Carroll will need to replace all-conference first baseman Pat Siering and veteran catcher Shea Roehrkasse, but feels the great clubhouse atmosphere and depth will help the Gusties make a run at the league championship.
The infield returns veteran shortstop Mike DesLauriers (Sr., Minnetonka, Minn.) and second baseman Nate Ruff (Sr., Bloomington, Minn.). DesLauriers moved into the leadoff spot midway through the season en route to finishing second on the team with a .358 batting average, while Ruff posted a .971 fielding percentage and hit .277. Junior Tory Herman (Shoreview, Minn.) stepped in at third base last year and posted a .262 batting average. The biggest question for Gustavus is who will replace first baseman Pat Siering and catcher Shea Roehrkasse. Top candidates for the opening at first base are juniors Eric Bigham (Robbinsdale, Minn.) and Alan Woitas (Sleepy Eye, Minn.), while sophomore transfer Matt Morgan (Minnetrista, Minn.) and Mitch Johnson (So., Hopkins, Minn.) are vying for the starting catcher job.
The outfield returns two starters including junior rightfielder Spencer Campion (Plymouth, Minn.) and junior centerfielder Andrew Woitas (Sleepy Eye, Minn.). Both players saw regular time last year as Woitas had a batting average of .232 and Campion hit .179. Sophomores Brandon Boyd (Hastings, Minn.), Greg Lane (Chaska, Minn.), and Cody Sukalski (Blue Earth, Minn.) will also compete for outfield spots, as the positions will go to the players who can perform in the field and at the dish.
Coach Carroll feels he has a strong five-man pitching rotation with right-hander Adam Bren (Jr., Chatfield, Minn.) leading the way. Bren was third among MIAC pitchers holding opposing league hitters to a .200 batting average, while recording a 2.95 ERA despite a 1-4 record. The probable starting rotation is rounded out by Brandon Knoll (Sr., Princeton, Minn.), who was 0-2 in five starts a year ago, Derek Eddie (Jr., Owatonna, Minn.), who posted a record of 2-1 in three starts, Sukalski, who posted a record of 3-3 in eight starts, and Herman, who saw limited pitching time. Ryan Michaelis (Jr., Big Lake, Minn.) returns to the bullpen for the Gusties after emerging as the top relief pitcher last season with a 3.10 ERA in 16 appearances.