Behind Experienced Lineup, Spartan Baseball Aims to Break the Streak in 2016
Mar 7, 2016
DUBUQUE, Iowa - Led by First Team All-IIAC third baseman, junior Dalton Garst, the University of Dubuque baseball team will utilize a core of juniors in qualifying for their first Iowa Conference tournament berth since 2005.
The Spartans (12-28, 7-21 in 2015) hope to defy expectations after being picked seventh in the preseason IIAC Coaches poll.
Including Garst, 10 of the 14 Spartan players that started at least 20 games or pitched at least 20 innings last season represent a junior class looking to put the Spartans in the IIAC tourney and secure their first 20-win season since 1995.
With an all-junior infield and a senior class represented by a pair of pitchers, an experienced defense will be key after finishing second-to-last in the IIAC in fielding percentage (.943) and first in the IIAC in miscues (58).
The potential is there after splitting with 2015 IIAC Champion, #11 Wartburg, on the road and losing 11 of their 21 IIAC games by two runs or less in 2015.
It starts with third basemen Garst, who became the eighth, First Team All-IIAC selection from UD since 2005, after finishing fourth in batting average at .371 and tied for third in hits with 39 in 28 IIAC games. The do-it-all junior normally starts at third base, but also started seven games as a pitcher throughout the season and posted a 3-3 record and 5.66 ERA, while striking out 22 in 35.0 innings pitched.
Also on the bump are a quintet of key returners led by juniors, righthander Doug Van Dyke and rightie Trent Van Egtern. Van Dyke tossed 45.0 innings and led the team with a 3.20 ERA, while Van Egtern tossed the second-most innings at 52.2 with a 5.47 ERA and 40 strikeouts.
UD’s senior class is represented by starter, lefthander Tyler Trifiletti (5.82 ERA over 38.2 innings in five starts) and rightie Daniel Karnick (5.06 ERA over 5.1 innings in four appearances).
Providing the power is junior first basemen Austin McWhite, who impressed with a four home-run, eight-RBI performance in 3-1 series win vs. Central a year ago. McWhite hit .283 and finished third in the IIAC in home runs (6) and fourth in slugging percentage (.588).
Making his return is utility man, junior Eddie Pablo, who played only four games in an injury-shortened 2015, after hitting .282 with a team-high 10 doubles en route to a Second Team All-IIAC utility selection in 2014.
Nine freshman from six different states, including four from Illinois and one from Iowa, headline this year’s class.
The Spartans won their first season series, 2-1, at Greenville (Ill.) on March 4-5 and turn their attention to six-game Spring Break trip from March 14-18. UD opens up IIAC play with doubleheader vs. Loras on April 5 with IIAC Conference Tournament on May 12-14.
Returning Hitting Statistics
AB – 66.5%
Hits – 66.2%
Runs – 63.5%
RBI – 72.7%
Stolen Bases – 48.8%
Returning Pitching Statistics
IP – 75.7%
Wins – 83.3%
SO – 78.5%
BB – 87.0%
In 2015, the Spartans were 6-6 when they outhit opponents, 0-3 when they tied, and 6-19 when opponents outhit UD.