Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Baseball team looks to fill void collectively

With the recent rush of warm weather over the last few weeks, it is evident that spring is upon us, which means that baseball, too, is right around the corner.

The UW-Whitewater baseball team has begun its season. The team is 2-2 and leaves for a trip to Lake Myrtle, Fla., tomorrow. The team will play nine games in just six days and will return home March 31 for a game against Ripon College.

After finishing fourth in the College World Series last season, the ’Hawks will look to replace four key players, including two All-Region players in catcher Rob Coe and pitcher Riley Tincher in addition to All-Americans Daniel Putnam and Jeff Donovan.

Head coach John Vodenlich said he thinks it will take a team effort to replace the departure of last year’s star players.

“We’re going to try to replace them collectively with the likes of Ryan Leavitt and Matt Beyer,” Vodenlich said. “They have both been starters for the last three seasons and Beyer is a senior captain as well.”

Other than Beyer and Leavitt, Vodenlich said he expects sophomore third basemen Jared Fon to have a big season. Fon, who started 34 games last season, batted .302 with 22 RBIs.
Fon says he expects the team to return to the College World Series.

“Just like years in the past, anything less than an appearance in the World Series [would be] a let down,” Fon said. “If we play like we are capable of playing, I see no reason why we would end with anything less then a national championship.”

The last time the ’Hawks won a national championship was 2005.
Fon’s focus for a national championship echoes expectations for all athletic programs at UW-Whitewater. With national championships won in rugby, football, the two wheelchair basketball programs and men’s basketball in the past year, Vodenlich knows expectations are high.

“We’ve had tremendous success as a whole athletic department with our football team and recently with our basketball team,” Vodenlich said. “If you look at the last eight years, we’ve been to the College World Series four times.”
“When you have that kind of success, there’s no doubt that one of our top goals is to qualify for the NCAA Tournament and then play well enough in the regional to get back to the World Series.”

In a season where the top five of last year’s lineup has graduated, a lot of playing time will be up for grabs early in the season.

Three freshmen Vodenlich said he is excited about are catcher Mike Mierow, left-handed pitcher Colin Grove and power-hitting infielder Marty Herum.

“I’m really excited about Marty Herum, who could potentially be as good a hitter, if not a better hitter, than Jeff Donovan,” Vodenlich said. “Obviously that’s a tall order seeing what Jeff has accomplished, but he definitely has the right approach at this point and shows that he has some plus power and can hit for plus average.”

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Founded 1901
Baseball team looks to fill void collectively