2023 Baseball Season Preview

Posted on March 8th, 2023 by

SAINT PETER, Minn. – The Gustavus baseball team is set to kick off the 2023 campaign today during its annual trip to Arizona at the Tucson Invite. The Gusties will play eight games over six days against teams from across the country, starting with a doubleheader against Allegheny College (Pa.) at 3 p.m. this afternoon.

Coming off a season in which the Gusties finished 28-14 overall and reached the MIAC playoff championship game for the second time in the past three seasons, Head Coach Brad Baker is leaning on experienced veteran leadership to get the Gusties over the conference postseason hump and into the NCAA playoffs.

“We have the talent and now it’s just trying to break through in such a short season and play well at the end when it matters the most,” Baker said. “We have asked some of the upperclassmen to lead by example because the younger guys all look up to them. They are leading the culture of this team.”

The senior leadership starts at the top with the return of All-Americans Jack Hanson (Minnetonka) and Bryce Novak (Cleveland). Hanson, a first baseman, earned First Team All-America honors last year from both the ABCA and D3baseball.com, and was named MIAC Player of the Year after a record setting season, while Novak, a center fielder, earned Third Team All-America and MIAC Player of the Year after the 2021 season. Hanson (.491) and Novak (.403) led an offense that collectively hit .339 at the plate with a program record 55 home runs last season.

“Deej [Hanson] and Novak certainly lead by example because those are the guys taking the baseballs out and doing all the stuff to get ready for practice every day,” Baker said.

The Gusties lost All-Conference catcher Ethan Mocchi and right fielder Dalton Thelen to graduation, but return six of eight starting position players. Drake Siens (Jr., Rogers) returns to left field, while Nick Azar (Sr., Edina), All-Conference shortstop Gavin Baker (Sr., Lakeville), and Patrick Timmer (Sr., Lakeville) will fill out the infield with Hanson. Chris Knowles (Jr., New Ulm) will return to the lineup as a DH and first baseman after sitting out most of last season due to injury, and Logan Bjorkman (Sr., Lindstrom), who started seven games at catcher last year, will be the regular pitch-caller this season. First-year Tomas Nelson (Maplewood) is expected to start in right field to begin the season.

“We are going to be more focused this year and really aim more attention on the little things,” Baker said. “As much as we think we know the answers as coaches, the answers will be shown on the field during games.”

Andrew Gustafson (Sr., Maplewood) and Lane Glaser (Sr., Hutchinson) return to the pitching staff after earning All-Conference last season. Gustafson served as the team’s top middle relief pitcher with a 1.93 ERA in 37.1 innings, while Glaser posted the lowest ERA among starters at 3.24 in 25 innings.

After the Tucson Invite, the Gusties travel to Washington University in St. Louis on March 18-19 for a pair of doubleheaders before hosting Crown College on March 22 for the home opener. Conference play begins April 1 at home against Hamline with the MIAC playoffs running May 11-13.

“The focus is not where we start but where we are at the end of the year.”

2023 Roster | 2023 Schedule


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