Baseball Eager for 2014 Season
WILMORE, Ky. – The Eagles have one game in the books, but that was nearly a week ago, and the Eagles are still looking to take to the field on their newly refinished Kirkland Complex field. The Eagles dropped their opener 3-0 to a solid Union (Ky.) squad on the road, and have waited for temperatures and weather much like today for get out on the field.
Before the eager Asbury fans—friends and family—take to their seats behind home plate at the Kirkland Complex for the first time possibly as soon as Friday, get a closer look at the 2014 edition of the Eagles’ baseball team.
Pitchers and Catchers
The Eagles are excited about the incoming class of pitchers and the depth and competiveness the rotation could possess. The Eagles graduated senior Isaiah Bell who started 12 games last season but with a plethora of pitchers on the roster, the Eagles have a squad full of young arms with valuable experience.
Zach Settle, Joey Johnson, Brandon Ray, Josh Bertke and Connor Byrne all return for the Eagles this season on the mound. All five players saw significant time on the mound in 2013. Settle returns as the most seasoned starter as he appeared in 13 games, started 11 and finished with a 4-3 record. Johnson, Ray, Bertke and Byrne saw their share of time from the rubber as well with all but Byrne appearing in more than 12 games.
A couple new faces join the Eagles this season and expect to make an immediate impact. Andrew Marques and Austin Walley will get their fair share of time on the mound this season as well.
The return of Micah Pace as the Eagles’ closer has head coach Bob Silvanik confident the Asbury pitchers will be the best group in recent memory.
The Eagles expect to see both Landon Skaggs and Tyler Messner behind the plate.
Around the Infield
The Eagles are young throughout the roster and the infielders are no exception. Andrew Moran (17 RBIs, .302 BA) returns to third for his sophomore season. Matt Mitchell and Jared Hahn who combined for 36 RBIs and 36 runs in 2013 will both see time at second. Hahn was second on the team last season with a .320 BA collecting 47 hits in 147 at bats.
Freshman Derek Gaines is expected to see significant time at first in his first season as an Eagle.
The infield, although mostly underclassmen, will have an upperclassman at short. Senior Andrew Harris, who saw limited action last season will get the nod in the middle of the infield for the Eagles.
"We are really excited about the young talent we have in the infield,” Silvanik said. “It’s probably one of the best hitting infields we have had since I have been here and it’s an added bonus that they all have good gloves.”
In the outfield
“As a former pitcher, I love the defensive prowess in the outfield this year,” Silvanik said. “We have speed and good gloves out there.”
Silvanik is referring to outfielders Matt Cox, Dallas Murphy, Tyler Messner and Simeon Bell. Cox hit .260 in 2013 and appeared in 38 games. His speed at center will be fun to watch this season.
Silvanik will look to Murphy, Messner, and Bell to add to things offensively for the Eagles as well. Combined the trio batted in 64 runs last season and each hit better than .250 last season.
A peek at the schedule
The Eagles have never been accused of playing a light schedule and 2014 will be no exception to that rule. Silvanik is loaded with top-25 teams early on to test the Eagles and see where exactly this season will line up with the NAIA’s best.
“With the national NAIA powers in such proximity to us, specifically Union, Campbellsville, Goergetown, and Lindsey Wilson, we will get some early indicators of where we are as a team,” Silvanik noted. “Plus, it will only get us ready for conference competition.”
Point Park and IU-Southeast are the general KIAC frontrunners and they are predicted to be there again this season according to the KIAC preseason poll. The Eagles will get their first taste of KIAC action on March 14th as they host Brescia for a two-day, four-game series.
Matchups against IUS are set for April 4th and 5th and they will head north to Point Park on April 11th and 12th.
Their season is set to conclude on April 18th in Frankfort, Ky., against Kentucky State University.
Live Coverage this season
The Eagles’ home contests are gearing up to feature live statistics for all games. To follow games, please visit AsburyEagles.com on gameday for links to live coverage. In addition to live stats, live video of select home games will be available as well. Again, stay tuned to AsburyEagles.com for all links for live coverage.
Links to live coverage for away contests, when provided, will be linked at AsburyEagles.com.
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