The Gustavus Adolphus baseball team will open the 2010 season on Sunday, March 14, against UW-Oshkosh, in a double-header beginning at 6:00pm in the Metrodome in Minneapolis, Minn.
The 2010 Gustavus Adolphus baseball team will look to improve on last season’s eighth place finish and move back into its traditional position among the upper echelon of the MIAC. Experience, solid fielding, and a strong work ethic will be the basis for success this season, as Gustavus returns nine seniors from last year’s squad. Gustavus finished last season with an overall record of 17-21 and a MIAC record of 9-11.
The middle-infield will be the biggest question mark entering the season, as the Gusties will need to replace two-time All-Conference shortstop Mike DesLauriers and second baseman Nate Ruff. Both DesLauriers and Ruff anchored the middle infield for the past four years. Head Coach Mike Carroll will have options to fill the middle-infield void, as senior Alan Woitas (Sleepy Eye, Minn.), junior Cody Sukalski (Blue Earth, Minn.), sophomore Taylor Fish (Brandon, S.D.), and junior Kyle Rains (Farmington, Minn.) will be contenders for the positions. Alan Woitas finished the season with a .367 batting average last year, as Sukalski hit .262, and Fish hit .246.
At the corners, four players will battle for starting role. That group includes senior Tory Herman (Shoreview, Minn.), freshman Drew Block (Rochester, Minn.), sophomore Erik Sveen (Excelsior, Minn.), and senior Chad Eul (Apple Valley, Minn.). Herman and Block will be the gloves at third base, while Sveen and Eul will contribute at first base. Both Herman (.310) and Eul (.315) hit over .300 last season, while Sveen batted .254. Block looked good in fall practice and will add depth at first. Behind the plate, senior Willy Hanson (St. Peter, Minn.) and junior Mitch Johnson (Hastings, Minn.) will garner the majority of playing time. Both Hanson and Johnson will be asked to play a larger role this season, as Hanson caught 11 games, starting four last season, while Johnson played in seven games.
In the outfield, senior Andrew Woitas (Sleepy Eye, Minn.), junior Brandon Boyd (Hastings, Minn.), and freshman Tim Miller (Eden Prairie, Minn.) are the leading candidates to garner the majority of playing time. Andrew Woitas hit .339 last season, as Boyd batted .213. Along with his role in the outfield, Miller will add depth to the Gustavus pitching staff.
Coach Carroll’s 2010 squad is filled with utility players that both pitch and play positions in the field. Alan Woitas, Herman, Sukalski, and Andrew Woitas are the top returning pitchers this season. All of them will play crucial roles in the field as well. Alan Woitas had the second lowest ERA on the team last season at 3.67, finishing with a 2-0 record. Herman had a 3.77 ERA (1-3), as Sukalski finished at 4.16 (3-2) and Andrew Woitas at 5.62 (2-1). Seniors Derek Eddie (Owatonna, Minn.), Ryan Michaelis (Big Lake, Minn.), Adam Bren (Chatfield, Minn.), and Kevin Hagen (Northfield, Minn.) will add depth to the Gustavus bullpen.
Gustavus will look to continue its strong defense this season after leading the league a year ago with a team fielding percentage of .973, however the Gusties will need to improve their pitching (seventh, 5.56 ERA) and hitting (tenth, .277 batting average) if they are to challenge for a playoff spot this year. Defending MIAC Champion St. Thomas will be the team to beat this season, yet Coach Carroll feels the race for the title will be close, with just a few wins and losses separating the teams in contention for playoff spots. If the Gusties can fill the holes in the middle infield, and get consistent pitching and hitting, it is likely that they will be among the top teams in the MIAC this season.