2019 Baseball Season Preview

Posted on February 28th, 2019 by

SAINT PETER, Minn. – Four years into the current coaching regime, the Gustavus baseball team has its eyes set on something that hasn’t been achieved since head coach Brad Baker ’80 was a student-athlete. With a balance of experienced veterans and talented underclassmen, the Gusties have high expectations in 2019, aiming for their first MIAC championship in 39 years.

“I heard that we were picked fourth in the conference,” Baker said regarding the MIAC Preseason Coaches’ Poll. “I don’t care about that and this team has no interest in being fourth.”

The Gusties return nearly their entire starting lineup from a team that finished sixth in the MIAC last season and reached the postseason for the first time in 10 years.

“The vision of this team is to compete for a conference championship,” Baker said. “This isn’t a little hobby of [the coaches]. We have guys looking around saying ‘why not us?’ You can’t control talent. Either you got it or you don’t. We have it. The next thing is energy and effort. I like what we’ve seen so far. We can have more, but I like the work they are putting in. Then it’s the whole mental side of the game. If they don’t believe it, they’re not going to achieve it.”

The outfield remains the same as last year with Matt Berkner (Sr., Sleepy Eye, Minn.) in left, Brice Panning (Jr., Hamburg, Minn.) in center, and Ryan Moriarty (Sr., Le Sueur, Minn.) in right. Moriarty, an All-Conference selection last year, led the team with 29 runs and posted a .424 on-base percentage. Panning was second on the squad with seven stolen bases and Berkner was fourth with eight extra-base hits.

The middle infield of Cole Pengilly (So., Le Sueur, Minn.) at short and Carter Clemensen (So., Cologne, Minn.) at second also remains intact. Pengilly led the team last season with a .333 batting average, 41 hits, four triples, 22 RBI, and eight stolen bases. Clemensen earned All-Conference honors after batting .333 with 36 hits, 26 runs, and a .958 fielding percentage in 118 opportunities. Dexter Leer (Sr., Owatonna, Minn.) will get the opening day nod at third, filling a void left by Brock Peterson. First base will see a combination of Grant Brockhouse (Sr., Urbandale, Iowa) and Nathan Lindberg (So., Bloomington, Minn.).

Behind the plate will be Ethan Mocchi (So., Champlin, Minn.) and Sam Archer (Sr., Zimmerman, Minn.). Mocchi started 29 games last season between catching and DH with a team-high 14 extra-base hits and 22 RBI. Archer caught just five games last season and will be looked upon to fill the void left by Nolan Lepel.

The starting pitching rotation sees familiar faces in Archer, Adam Stockwell (Sr., Apple Valley, Minn.), Charlie Hutchinson (So., Maple Grove, Minn.), and Christian Johnson (So., Buffalo, Minn.). Archer earned All-Conference and All-Region honors last year after posting a 1.44 ERA in 43.2 innings. Stockwell was a solid No. 2 with a 1.64 ERA in 42.2 innings. Hutchinson started nine games last year, while Johnson made six appearances with a 2.94 ERA.

Relievers include Mocchi, Panning, Weston Lombard (So., Stillwater, Minn.), Gavyn Walsh (So., Andover, Minn.), Damon Rademacher (So., Princeton, Minn.), and Jack Garrison (Fy., Chanhassen, Minn.).

“I love where we’re at talent-wise,” Baker said. “We have the right combination of young and old players. We have upperclassmen that are doing a nice job as leaders. I like how the team is setting their own expectations. The coaches aren’t setting those expectations.”

The Gusties start the season Saturday at the Tucson Invitational. They will play eight games over seven days under the Arizona sun and then return to Minnesota with the hopes of hosting the home opener March 16 against UW-Stout.

“We’ve been straight with everybody on the team that going into the season we see what we have for a lineup,” Baker said. “Everybody has a role and things will change, we know that, but the beauty of this year is that we have guys competing for jobs. It’s their job to keep their role and for those who don’t have a starting position, it’s up to them to earn their way in. We’re going down to Arizona to find out what our guys can do, but most of all we are going down there to win.”

2019 Roster

2019 Schedule

2018 Stats

 

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