By: Andrew Preston
The Trevecca men’s baseball team will begin the 2016 season with some big expectations.
Head Coach Ryan Schmalz is planning for a big year for his team, which season begins Friday on the road at Tusculum College.
“I want to play in a Division II World Series. I want to host a (NCAA Midwest) Regional and make it to the end. I want to win 40 games this year, we won 36 last year and I think 40 wins is a goal of ours,” said Schmalz.
Coming off an outstanding season last year, (36-18, 21-3) the Trojans do have some big shoes to fill on the team.
“We have to collectively make up for the loss of production from our big guys Hunter Newman and Michael Purcell,” said coach Schmalz.
Former Trojan third baseman, Hunter Newman, is currently playing professionally for the St. Louis Cardinals farm system. He was drafted in the 22nd round of the 2015 Amateur player draft last June. He led the Trojans last season in almost all offensive categories including batting average (.451), on base percentage (.558), games started (54), runs (67), doubles (21), and home runs (18).
Newman’s pitching counterpart, Michael Purcell, graduated from Trevecca last spring. On the mound, Purcell led the Trojans in categories such as, innings pitched (89.2), earned run average, (2.21), and strikeouts (91). Purcell has since joined the military.
“I think collectively our lineup can improve from last year. If you look at the production from the team last year, I think we can be better because a lot of our guys are returning,” said Schmalz.
The Trojans graduated two other seniors along with losing Purcell and Newman. Most of the team is back and improved from last year, but the question of who will lead this brand of the Trojan baseball is yet to be determined.
“I think Zack Tomkins, our catcher, along with Tyler Tichenor, our second baseman, both seniors can step up and be leaders for this team. For pitchers, guys like (Bryan) Smith, (Mason) Dunn, (Ivey) Starling, (Austin) Sisk, (John) Bolton, who all got significant playing time last year and have definitely improved from last year,” said Schmalz.
The Trojans lost fifth-year pitching coach, Luke Brown, this season. Brown is a Trevecca baseball alumnus and former All-American for the Trojans. Brown received another job in the private world choosing to accept it to spend more time with family. The Trojans have added a replacement coach for pitching, Tanner Gordon. Gordon most recently coached at Mercer University in Macon, GA where he served as the Volunteer Assistant.
The Trojans missed the NCAA Division II tournament due to the G-MAC being a new conference. The Trojans won the G-MAC, yet were still looking to receive an at-large bid to make the tournament, but did not get in. This year the G-MAC has full eligibility for postseason play in baseball and the Trojans look to extend their season even further.
The first home matchup of the season is Feb. 19 at Jackson Field against Maryville University- St. Louis.
“The last two years, they have beaten us two games out of three at home. So they’re going to be solid. They’re a scrappy team, so we’ll have to play really well from start to finish to beat them,” said Schmalz.
Schedule- Home Games
Feb. 19: 3 p.m. Maryville University- St. Louis
Feb. 20: 12 p.m. Maryville University- St. Louis
Feb. 20: 3 p.m. Saint Joseph’s College
Feb. 26: 6 p.m. Quincy University
Feb. 27: 3:00 p.m. Wayne State University
Feb. 27: 6:00 p.m. Walsh University
Mar. 11: 6:00 p.m. Bellarmine University
Mar. 12: 12:00 p.m. Bellarmine University
Mar. 12: Game 2 Bellarmine University
Mar. 16: 6:00 p.m. Alabama-Huntsville
Mar. 29: 5:00 p.m. North Alabama
Apr. 1: 4:00 p.m. Davis & Elkins College
Apr. 1: Game 2 Davis & Elkins College
Apr. 2: 12:00 p.m. Davis & Elkins College
Apr. 2: Game 2 Davis & Elkins College
Apr. 5: 6:00 p.m. Union University
Apr. 29: 4:00 p.m. Alderson Broaddus University
Apr. 29: Game 2 Alderson Broaddus University
Apr. 30: 12:00 p.m. Alderson Broaddus University
Apr. 30: Game 2 Alderson Broaddus University
May 6: 4:00 p.m. Kentucky Wesleyan College
May 6: Game 2 Kentucky Wesleyan College
May 7: 12:00 p.m. Kentucky Wesleyan College
May 7: Game 2 Kentucky Wesleyan College
- Game 2’s played approximately 30 minutes after the conclusion of Game 1.