“Our guys worked hard this fall and this winter,” commented head baseball coach Jordan Baitinger on the expectations for the season. “They have all been taking on the challenge of becoming more intentional in their work and we are all excited to see where we are as a team.”
The Sabre offense will return three of the top four hitters from last season including All-NACC Freshman Team selection sophomore Jake Falish. Falish filled in at shortstop last season and excelled hitting .328 for the year with a .381 on-base percentage. The sophomore middle infielder was also third on the team with six doubles and his 41 hits were tied for second on the squad.
Also making a return this year is junior Jordan Walker who hit .333 in 27 games with a .419 on base percentage. Walker ranked second on the team with five steals and defensively had a .959 fielding percentage while being involved in a team-high 16 double plays.
“We have a lot of underclassmen who gained valuable experience last year,” commented Baitinger on the team’s offensive expectations. “Sprinkle in some salty veterans chomping at the bit to get back to the top of the conference and I think that adds up to a spunky offense.”
On the mound, Marian will rely on a lot of young talent that gained plenty of experience a season ago. Sophomore Jordan Bock earned a NACC Pitcher of the Week award last season leading the team with a 3.40 earned run average and ranking second on the squad with 53.0 innings pitched. Junior Kellen Shea was tied for the team lead with seven starts last season and was fourth on the team with 17 punchouts.
“We expect to make a large improvement defensively,” commented Baitinger on the expectations of the pitching staff and the defense. “It starts with mental toughness and the ability to throw strikes consistently. We are encouraged by our growth over the winter and will continue to expect improvement.”
Senior Tommy Dugandzic looks to anchor the Sabres behind the dish and will handle the young pitching staff. Dugandzic earned NACC Position Player of the Week once last year hitting .364 with a .600 slugging percentage and 10 extra base hits in a 20-game season that was shortened by an injury.
“Tommy is a fireball of enthusiasm and passion,” commented Baitinger on the senior catcher. “He has very high expectations of his teammates and has been a tremendous leader for our team. His hard work has put him in a position to have a marvelous season.”
Marian opens the season Friday, March 10 with a doubleheader against Simpson from the Tucson Invitational.
Marian University was founded in 1936 by the Congregation of Sisters of St. Agnes in Fond du Lac, Wis. The institution has one of the lowest student-faculty ratios in the state and strives to live its core values as a community committed to learning, dedicated to service and social justice and joined together by spiritual traditions. Marian offers undergraduate, adult, master’s and doctoral degree programs at its main campus and in facilities throughout Wisconsin.