Shawnee State University Baseball Team is coming off a rather
disappointing 2004 season which saw the Bears finish 17-24 overall
and 11-13 in American Mideast Conference Play.
A 50-game schedule, which includes 24 at home, to go along
with a much deeper and more talented squad, should add up to
considerably more success for the Bears in 2005.
players return from last year’s squad including 3 seniors, 6
juniors, and 3 sophomores.
Jeff Tillman finished the 2004 season as one of the Bears’
hottest hitters. He
went 6-10 in the playoffs and a posted a team best .375 batting
average on the year. Tillman
will hold a spot in the rotation in addition to playing either 3rd
base or in the outfield.
shortstop Dan Wysong has worked hard in the off-season to increase
his range and to become a complete hitter. “Dan has had
the tendency over the course of his career to start the season
really hot at the plate,” said SSU coach Tom Bergan.
“He needs to carry that through the entire season this
year. If he does,
there is no doubt he will be one of, if not the best shortstop in
Dan Wiemer will log most of the innings at second base.
He was 4th on the team with 34 hits in 2004.
“Wiemer is a good compliment to Wysong up the middle,”
said Bergan. “He has
a decent bat and has proven that he can turn the double play.”
Jared Perdue is likely to get the starting nod in right field.
He hit .339 with 20 RBI and 23 runs scored on his way to
earning All-AMC honors as a freshman in 2003.
He experienced a bit of a sophomore slump due to a nagging
foot injury in 2004. He
enters the 2005 season healthy and looks to provide a great deal
of power at the plate and speed on the bases.
righty Matt Thompson hopes to regain the form that earned him
All-Conference recognition as a freshman.
He posted a 4-1 record with an ERA of 4.15 in 10 outings in
struggled to a 2-5 record to go along with an ERA of 7.61 last
season. “Despite his
statistics in 2004, Thompson is a reliable pitcher with
outstanding stuff,” said Coach Bergan.
Thompson is studying to be a optometrist and is likely to
be a Academic All-American candidate this season.
designated hitter Andy Malone hit .298 and drove in 14 runs as a
sophomore. He was
named Honorable Mention All-American Mideast Conference.
“Andy is a great competitor and he loves the game,”
said Bergan. “He
battled back from a terrible pre-season injury last year and
provided a number of big hits for us.”
Ryan Rowland makes yet another position switch this season.
After joining the Bears as a catcher, he moved to left
field last season. He
will make the transition to first base this season.
In 30 games last season, he hit .232 with 10 RBI and 15
R. J. Niemer and Kole Hargrave will split time behind the plate.
“R. J. is in the best shape of his career,” said Bergan.
“He hit .438 in the fall and has greatly improved his
discipline at the plate. Kole
didn’t play a great deal last year, but I believe he is
definitely ready to handle the pitching staff.”
Jeremy Wilson, Seth Morrison, and Brandon Longacre also return to
hit .310 with 9 RBI and 13 runs scored in 21 games at third base.
Morrison posted a 2-1 record with an 8.37 ERA.
His best outing came in a 1-0 victory over
in which he allowed just 1 hit while striking out seven.
Longacre saw limited action as a freshman, but the left
handed pitcher will likely see a great deal of work out of the
bullpen this season.
returning to the squad after a year away from baseball are Tom
Spille and Matt Craft. (Sr)
RHP Tom Spille is healthy after spending the 2004 season
recovering from Tommy John Surgery. In 2003, Spille was
named 1st Team All-Conference.
list of newcomers to the program includes transfer John Rypel and
red-shirt freshman Cody Piguet. The freshman class includes:
Kent Kobayashi, Kyle Royse, Nate Timberlake, Jonathan Venters,
Justin Craft, Nick Collins, Josh Sands, Randall Scott, Phillip
Holt and Corey Fischer. “Although they are inexperienced
at the college level, they will provide us with a competitive
spirit and toughness,” said Coach Bergan.
has a challenging schedule that includes
, Division II Charleston and Division I Morehead State. The
Bears have a 24 game AMC conference schedule that includes
and pre-season #24
have a good blend of experience and youth,” said Bergan.
“We have a very challenging out-of-conference schedule,
and the American Mideast Conference is always extremely tough,
however, we are up to the challenge, and we are all looking
forward to an exciting season.”