Horizon League 2010 Baseball Preview

January 18, 2010
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Wright State And Illinois-Chicago Look To Continue Dominance

2009 Regular Season Champ: Illinois-Chicago (UIC)

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2009 Tournament Champ: Wright State defeated UIC 6-2 to win its 3rd league title and first since 2006.

The two most successful programs in the Horizon League for the past several years battled it out again in 2009.  Wright State and UIC, winners of 5 of the last 6 Horizon League Tournament titles squared off in the championship game where Wright State won the championship and earned their ticket to the NCAA tournament.

The Horizon League also saw three players earn national recognition.  Wright State’s Casey McGrew made the 22-man USA Collegiate National Team that played teams from around the world last summer.  Jared Miller from Valparaiso and Wright’s State’s Michael Schum both garnered Louisville Slugger Preseason All-American honors.

2010 Horizon League Preview

Butler

2009 Record: (13-41, 6-20)

Mascot: Bulldogs

Head Coach: Steve Farley

Location: Indianapolis, IN

Vitals: .253 BA, 18 HR, .340 OBP, .952 Fld. %…7.59 ERA, 6 SVs, 346 K, 174 BB, .350 Opp. BA

Junior Achievers: Butler’s top two offensive threats juniors Luke Duncan (.308 BA, 25 R, 4 triples) and Grant Fillipitch (.302 BA, 17 doubles, 7 HR) return to lead the Bulldogs lineup in 2010.

Boys of Winter: The Bulldogs open their home schedule March 3rd against Indiana Tech.  They also host Marian College and Buffalo before the calendar officially turns to spring.

Outside All-Pro Freight Stadium

2009 Record: (21-31, 12-13)

Mascot: Vikings

Head Coach: Kevin Kocks

Location: Cleveland, OH

Vitals: .297 BA, 50 HR, .365 OBP, .959 Fld. %…6.56 ERA, 9 SVs, 290 K, 228 BB, .300 Opp. BA

Brand New Park: Cleveland State has a new place to call home for 2010.  The Vikings will play their home games at All-Pro Freight Stadium in Avon, OH, the home stadium of the Lake Erie Crushers of the Frontier League.  They open the park March 24th against Eastern Michigan.

Team of the Rise: The 21 wins a year ago are the second most for one season in the past decade.  The most were the 22 wins in 2008.

Key Returners: Sr. Ryan Franks (.380 BA, 12 doubles) and So. Tyler Wynn (.303 BA, 11 HR) lead the Viking offense, while Sr. Travis Miller (1-0, 3.48 ERA, 4 SVs) and So. Nate Dick (4-1, 4.13 ERA) return to headline the pitching staff.

Wisconsin-Milwaukee

2009 Record: (28-27, 14-9)

Mascot: Panthers

Head Coach: Scott Doffek

Location: Milwaukee, WI

Vitals: .306 BA, 44 HR, .373 OBP, .965 Fld. %…6.33 ERA, 10 SVs, 346 K, 201 BB, .301 Opp. BA

Big Tests: UW-Milwaukee travels to Minnesota, Arkansas, and Kansas State during their non-conference schedule.

In Good Hands: Head Coach Scott Doffek was the Horizon League Coach of the Year after leading the Panthers to a second place finish last year.  He’s guided

Tim Patzman

his team to 25 wins in 12 of the last 13 seasons and currently has a 13-game home winning streak carrying over into this season.

Looking for More: Two 1st team All-Horizon League players return in 2010 for UW-Milwaukee.  Sr. OF Tim Patzman hit the team Triple Crown for the Panthers last year with a .389 BA, 11 HR, and 44 RBI.  He’s joined by Jr. OF Doug Dekoning (.338, 44 R, 5 HR) to lead the offensive attack.

Illinois-Chicago

2009 Record: (29-23, 17-6)

Mascot: Flames

Head Coach: Mike Dee

Location: Chicago, IL

Nathan Orf

Vitals: .297 BA, 36 HR, .383 OBP, .968 Fld. %…4.62 ERA, 7 SVs, 292 K, 136 BB, .290 Opp. BA

Leading the Way: A pair of 2nd team All-Horizon League selections are back to lead UIC this year.  Jr. INF Jason Ganek (.333 BA, 3 HR, 35 RBI) and So. C Nathan Orf (.429 BA, 10 doubles in 36 games) solidify the lineup.  Orf was named to the Louisville Slugger Freshman All-America team for his effort.

Aces Gone: UIC must replace Horizon League Pitcher of the Year Adam Worthington (4-5, 3.48 ERA, 3 CG) and closer Derrick Miramontes (6-2, 2.58 ERA, 7 SVs).  Worthington was drafted 606th overall by the  Arizona Diamondbacks, while Miramontes signed a professional contract with the independent Southern Illinois Miners.

Tough Tests: A challenging schedule awaits the Flames.  UIC makes road trips to Alabama, Western Kentucky, Notre Dame and Baylor and play host to Georgia Tech for a three game series in early May.

Valparaiso

2009 Record: (28-24, 12-11)

Mascot: Crusaders

Head Coach: Tracy Woodson

Location: Valparaiso, IN

Vitals: .275 BA, 25 HR, .361 OBP, .957 Fld. %…4.47 ERA, 20 SVs, 316 K, 135 BB, .275 Opp. BA

Everyone’s All-American: Valpo closer Jarad Miller (2.16 ERA, 17 SVs, .178

Jarad Miller

Opp. BA) is a preseason Louisville Slugger 3rd team All-American.
Key Returners: Jr. RHP Bryce Shafer (7-3, 3.59 ERA, 2 CG) leads the Crusader pitching staff, while Horizon League All-Newcomer OF Kyle Gaedele (.278, 3 HR) will provide pop in the lineup.  This past summer, he stole 30 bases, hit .278 and cracked a league-leading 5 homers in The Prospect League.

Hit the Road: Valpo spends the first 23 games on the road before opening their home schedule March 30th against Central Michigan.

Wright State

2009 Record: (33-30, 14-12)

Mascot: Raiders

Head Coach: Rob Cooper

Location: Dayton, OH

Vitals: .318 BA, 49 HR, .375 OBP, .969 Fld. %…4.97 ERA, 15 SVs, 385 K, 183 BB, .296 Opp. BA

Big Hitters: As a team, Wright State hit over .300 for the fourth straight season led by Horizon League Player of the Year Jeff Mercer who hit .357 with 21

Michael Schum

doubles, 8 HR, and 74 RBI.  Newcomer of the Year Quentin Cate returns to the lineup after hitting .352 with 12 HR and 57 RBI.

That’s a Relief: Horizon League Relief Pitcher of the Year So. RHP Michael Schum (5-7, 1.95 ERA, 13 SVs) is back to lead the pitching staff.  The Raiders also welcome back three starters and see the return of Sr. LHP Jon Durket, a 1st team All-Horizon League pitcher in 2008, who missed 2009 due to injury.

Tough Tests: Wright State prepares for a challenging 2010 schedule.  The Raiders travel to Clemson, Virginia, Kentucky and Oklahoma State.

Youngstown State

2009 Record: (16-35, 10-14)

Mascot:  Penguins

Head Coach: Rick Pasquale

Location: Youngstown, OH

Vitals: .279 BA, 32 HR, .347 OBP, .954 Fld. %…6.62 ERA, 4 SVs, 300 K, 210 BB, .314 Opp. BA

Pocket Aces: Youngstown State returns two of the top pitchers in the Horizon League in Jr. RHP Phil Klein and Sr. RHP Aaron Swenson.  Klein was a 1st team All-Horizon League selection after going 5-2 with a 4.62 ERA and 80 K in 76 innings.  Swenson (3-6, 6.10 ERA), the 2008 Horizon League Pitcher of the Year, looks to rebound after a down year in 2009.

Big Return: Three key position players are back in 2010.  Sr. C Anthony Porter (.316 BA, 4 HR), So. 1B Jeremy Banks (.302 BA, 4 HR, 30 RBI), and Sr. INF Jacke Healey (.293 BA, 17 doubles, 8 HR) return to lead the Penguins offense.

No Place Like Home: Youngstown State doesn’t open their home slate until a March 31st game against Canisius.  The Penguins then spend 21 of the next 23 games at the friendly confines of Eastwood Field.

2010 Horizon League Predictions

Champion: Wright State, with UIC and UW-Milwaukee challenging

Player of the Year: Tim Patzman–UW-Milwaukee

Pitcher of the Year: Michael Schum—Wright State

(By Collegebaseball360.com contributor Shawn Lewallen)

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