Tue, Mar. 5, 2013 - [Baseball]
By Jim Naprstek, Assistant Sports Information Director
While snow continues to fall in Iowa, the Loras College Baseball team has been hard at work inside the Graber Sports Center in preparation for their 2013 season. Head Coach Carl Tebon and company look to return the team to glory once again after a tough 2012 season.
After graduating three key seniors in Travis Olson, Austin Safranski and Spencer Radabaugh, the Duhawks will lean on some underclassmen to help shoulder the load, both in the field and in the rotation.
Senior Ben Cottrell returns to the Duhawks this year and will be expected to be the ace of the rotation. Last year, Cottrell went 4-4 with a 2.87 ERA, striking out 39 batters in 59 2/3 innings. As the only senior in the starting rotation, expect Cottrell to rack up a lot of innings, especially with the new format for Iowa Conference play.
In previous years, teams would play a three game series, consisting of one nine inning game and two seven inning games. Starting this year, teams will play four game series, including two nine inning games and two seven inning games. This places a heavy burden on each team to have four quality starters that they can throw out there over the course of a series.
"With the four games series, every game will be big for us this year," Tebon said.
In the lineup, Loras returns many key contributors from last year's team. Senior Mike Canevello will patrol the outfield for the Duhawks and early reports indicate that he will serve as the leadoff batter as well. Canevello posted a .389 On Base Percentage in 2012, including 29 hits and 23 walks. He will need to continue that type of pace in 2013 in order for the Duhawks to have success.
With the departure of some starters from 2012, comes with it the opportunity for some new faces to step up into every day starter roles. Freshman Pat Walsh (Lombard, IL/Glenbard East) will find plenty of time both at first base and toeing the rubber for the Duhawks. Also, look for sophomore Danny Fahlgren to assume the everyday role behind the plate after starting in 12 games last year.
"I believe our pitching and defense should be very strong this year if we can score we should have a very good season…it will come down to winning the one run ball game," Tebon added.
Loras went 3-3 on their early season trip to Florida recently. Their statistics pages were recently updated to reflect those six games. The Duhawks will kick off Iowa Conference play on March 22 when they travel to Pella, Iowa and face off against the Central College Dutch. They will host Monmouth College for their home opener on March 27th at 2:00 p.m. down at Petrakis Park.