THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – The Cal Lutheran baseball team is ready for a new season and the chance of defending its national title. The Kingsmen open the season as the No. 2 team in the nation, according to D3baseball.com.
CLU returns 18 student-athletes and welcomes 14 for 2018. There will be a lot of new faces in the lineup.
“Many are returning players who know what it takes to win, and crave larger roles,” said head coach Marty Slimak. “Combine them with a solid transfer and freshmen class and will be strong on the mound, with the potential for a dynamic offense.”
The senior class includes four returners and two transfers. Back for their senior campaign are Alec Iniguez, Jeff Rebello, Max Weinstein and Nate Wehner. The transfers are Derek Galvin (Thousand Oaks, Calif.) and Sal Johnson (North Hollywood, Calif.).
Weinstein brought home a lot of accolades in 2017 and is looking for more in 2018. He was named to the Division III All-Tournament Team, earned D3baseball.com Third Team All-West Region honors and First Team All-SCIAC. Weinstein was second on the team in batting average and hit .384. he tallied 84 hits, 41 runs, 35 runs batted in (RBI), 13 doubles and five homeruns.
Wehner wasn’t short on accolades last year as he joined Weinstein on the D-III All-Tournament Team, was named to the D3baseball.com Third Team All-West Region and was First Team All-SCIAC. He pitched 110.2 innings and had a 10-3 record. He had 79 strikeouts and held opponents to a .274 batting average.
Rebello emerged as a big piece of the bullpen last year and will look for an expanded role in 2018. Iniguez plays in the outfield and had 33 putouts with a .971 fielding percentage. Galvin and Johnson transferred from Division II programs. Galvin, a left-handed pitcher, comes to CLU from Southwest Baptist University. Johnson is a right-handed pitcher who transferred from the Academy of Art.
The junior class includes transfer Kevin Baranowski (Granit Bay, Calif.), Weston Clark, Trevor Egan, transfer Justin Fong (San Mateo, Calif.), Cheynne Giles, transfer Nick Maldonado (Fremont, Calif.), Anthony Sidley, Kaden White, and transfer Jeff Wilson (Thousand Oaks, Calif.).
The class looks to step into new roles and make an impact immediately. A season ago, Clark had a .320 batting average with 18 doubles and 34 RBI. Giles recorded three homeruns, nine doubles and 31 RBI with a .275 batting average. Baranowksi (Yuba College), Fong (Ohlone College) and Moldonado (Ohlone College) are all pitches and Wilson (Cuesta College) plays in the outfield.
The sophomore class is made up of Nick Coast, Cortez Espinoza, Troy Frazier, Scott Roberts, Chris Spohr, Matt Sciumbato, transfer Christian Slattery (Malibu, Calif.), Daniel Stauffer, Jaden Stromireand Ryne Yamashiro.
Espinoza, Sciumbato and Yamashiro are all projected starters for 2018. Each had a standout freshmen season and look to build on their success. Frazier and Roberts are pitchers and return after stellar freshmen campaigns. Roberts was had six wins and only one loss. He had a 3.69 earned-run-average (ERA) with 45 strikeouts against 18 walks. Frazier was 3-0 with a 2.53 ERA. Slattery transferred in from Pierce College.
The freshmen for the Violet and Gold are Zach Bullard (Arroyo Grande, Calif.), Ethan Go (Campbell, Calif.), Zach Hardman (Westminster, Colo.), Daniel Parr (Torrance, Calif.), Junior Sandoval (Fillmore, Calif.), Mason Snodgrass (Santa Rose, Calif.) and Tanner Wright (Las Vegas, Nev.).
The Kingsmen open the season at home verses the No. 4 team in the West Region, Linfield (Ore.), Friday, Feb. 2, at 2:30 in Ullman Stadium.
SOURCE: Cal Lutheran Athletics Press Release