The Illinois State Media Relations Department checks in with Week 2 of the season preview this week focusing on the Infield. Mike Stalowy is the top returning infielder after having a disappointing 2007 season where he hit .300 with four doubles, a triple, and 11 RBI. He will continue to play every position in the infield including first base at the beginning of the season as he is recovering from off season shoulder surgery. Kyle Cherney is the only healthy senior in the infield but had a disastrous 2007 campaign which saw him struggle at the plate with a .194 batting average. The full preview is available here.
Kendall Rogers has continue his Top 25 countdown and checking at #12 is the Missouri Tigers of the Big 12. Missouri finish 2nd to Texas in the BIG 12 last year and they return a very talented pitching staff led by Aaron Crow. The weekend series with Texas traveling to Columbia will help determined the BIG 12 conference and national seedings. When they tangle April 11-13 the CBB will right here reporting on the first pitch until the final out on Sunday. Mizzou article available here.
Top 25 Countdown: No. 13 Michigan
Top 25 Countdown: No. 14 Virginia
Top 25 Countdown: No. 15 Mississippi
Top 25 Countdown: No. 16 Cal State Fullerton
Top 25 Countdown: No. 17 Long Beach State
Top 25 Countdown: No. 18 Wichita State
Top 25 Countdown: No. 19 Mississippi St.
The Illinois State Media Relations department has started a series of articles previewing the 2008 season. The first installment focuses on the Starting Pitching which is led by Senior Eric Theisen. He went 3-9 with a 4.54 ERA in 2007 coming back from a severe arm injury in 2006. In 2005, He was perfect as he picked up six wins without recording a loss and an ERA of 3.00. The full preview of the Redbirds pitching staff is available here.
CSTV Editor Doug Kroll checks in with his weekly article on the top college baseball players. The position in which he focuses on this week is the closer. He lists Cole St. Clair of Rice in the top spot. He has struggled throughout his career with the Owls as he tends to be injured every season. Continue reading CSTV’s Top Closers
The Wichita State Shockers have announced their 2008 schedule. The Shockers are coming off a successful season which saw them make the Super Regional round where they lost to UC-Irvine in a very intense series. The Shockers will open the 2008 campaign against Fordham on February 22nd for the beginning of a three game set. The next weekend they will head on the road to play the Long Beach State 49ers for a three game set. They will also host Harvard and TCU in the other two non-conference series before entering play in the Missouri Valley Conference. The Shockers will open conference play on the road against Illinois-State on March 21st and will also play conference opponents Creighton, Indiana State, and Evansville. The Shockers will host Missouri State, Southern Illinois, Northern Iowa, and Bradley. The conference tournament is scheduled to take place in Wichita from May 21-24. Full schedule available here.
Since we have been busy lately, We missed a ton of releases on the Recruits for the 2008-2009 season. The releases are listed below.
Indiana-Purdue Fort Wayne
FROM PRESS RELEASE
NORMAL, Ill. – With the 2007 Major League Baseball regular season over and the playoffs just a day away, the Illinois State baseball team has also caught the fever and has already begun preparing for the 2008 season. With a solid mix of returning veterans and young, raw talent, the Redbird baseball team will be put to the test in its 2008 schedule. Five NCAA qualifiers highlight the 54-game schedule for the Redbirds, which kicks off Feb. 22, 2008, at Tennessee Tech in Cooksville, Tenn.
After the `Birds begin the season with a three-game set against Tennessee Tech, the team will head to Clarksville, Tenn., to play in the Austin Peay Tournament Feb. 29-March 2. Illinois State will play Big Ten Conference member Indiana, as well as Valparaiso, during the tournament, and will play one more game in Clarksville before beginning its spring trip in Florida.
The Redbirds will spend eight days in the Sunshine State, playing a series at NCAA Regional qualifier Bethune-Cookman March 7-9. The rest of the trip will be spent at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. The IMG Academy, which specializes in professional instruction to amateur and professional players, will allow the Redbirds to fine-tune their skills before beginning the demanding Missouri Valley Conference slate.
“I think that at the beginning of the year, when you are coming from indoors to outdoors, we try to play a competitive schedule that will help our RPI,” said head baseball coach Jim Brownlee. “I think this schedule does that. We have a lot of good teams on our schedule, including five regional teams.
“When you make the schedule three years ahead of time, you can’t always project how teams will be. But you like to have a nice balance, and with this schedule, we hope to get ourselves into the top-40 in order to be an at-large team. That’s our goal every year, and we like to also give our kids a chance to go to a different part of the country every year.”
After returning from its spring trip, ISU will play in-state rival Illinois-Chicago before diving into Valley play at home versus 2007 NCAA Super Regional qualifier Wichita State March 21-23. The Redbirds will also host Northern Iowa (April 11-13) as well as in-state rivals Bradley (May 2-4) and Southern Illinois (May 9-11).
“I think the league is going to be very interesting from the standpoint that there were a lot of good players that were lost,” said Brownlee. “Wichita State is good every year and they have their top-three starting pitchers back, and that will be a good challenge for our hitters. There are no easy games in our league, and its something that I’m proud of; its one of the best in the country. Creighton and Evansville have also had some good teams recently and should be tough again this year.
“I think it’s our goal to move into that top-three of the Valley standings. I can see us being able to do that, and based on the performances I have seen this fall, we have a good chance of doing that.”
The Redbirds will travel to 2007 MVC Tournament champion Creighton March 28-30 before playing Evansville (April 4-6) and Missouri State (April 25-27) on the road. ISU concludes its season with a three-game series at Indiana State (May 15-17).
Illinois State will also see its share of schools from the Midwest, as the `Birds will play six other non-conference games against schools from Illinois, including Eastern Illinois (March 26) and Illinois April 22. The Redbirds will also travel to Iowa City, Iowa, April 2 for a game against Iowa and will face fellow Big Ten member Purdue April 9.
“We’re very fortunate to be located in a state that has nine division one schools that we can play, so it helps with the short amount of time that the guys will miss from class,” said Brownlee. “It also allows us to play some competitive teams. The Big Ten got the best of us last year, so it will be a good test. We want to take care of business within the state, and that’s always a goal. It’s very easy to schedule our non-conference games, and we like to schedule games close to where our guys are from.”
The College Baseball Blog recently had a staff meeting and we spoke about ambidextrous pitchers about their abilities to compete at the highest level. I recently came across an article in the New York Times about the only one in collegiate baseball right now in Creighton’s Pat Venditte. The article can be read here.
The Wichita State Shockers have posted the 2007 season preview on the Shocker website. They are led by Gene Stephenson who returns for his 30th season. He has led them to their 29th consecutive season of having 40 wins and made the NCAA Tournament in 24 of those years. He will try to led the Shockers back to the CWS for the first time in 11 years. They return 87 percent of their pitching wins in returning pitchers. On the offensive side of things, Third Baseman Conor Gillaspie will be the focus of the offensive barrage. In 2006, He hit 352 with 18 doubles, three triples, seven home runs and 67 RBI.
The full preview is available here.