coach Todd Asalon (right)
Ky. - Northern Kentucky University baseball head coach Todd Asalon
is hoping his team’s hard work, both on and off of the field,
will result in more victories and a berth to the NCAA Division II
Tournament for the Norse this season.
goals are to make sure that this team is in great physical shape,
and to make sure they play hard every day,” Asalon said. “If
these two things happen, we should have a special year.
three goals: win the (Great Lakes Valley Conference), win the NCAA
regional, win the World Series. The team shares my three goals;
they expect to win.”
the Norse finished with a 31-26 overall record and were 22-14 in
the GLVC. The previous year, NKU won the GLVC Tournament and advanced
to the NCAA Tournament.
The Norse are
picked to finish third in the 2006 GLVC preseason poll behind defending
league champion Wisconsin-Parkside and Saint Joseph’s. NKU,
however, is expecting much more this spring.
NKU will be
counting on a talented pitching staff to be the key to the team’s
success this season. Despite the loss of starting ace Derrik Moeves,
who was drafted and signed by the Pittsburgh Pirates last June,
pitching should carry the Norse in 2006.
team strength is obviously our pitching staff,” Asalon said.
“With a terrific recruiting year, our staff should give us
a chance to win any time we take the field.”
Paul David Patterson, a 6-foot-8 right-hander, returns to the mound
for the Norse after being drafted by the Seattle Mariners in the
44th round last season. Patterson posted a 3-4 record last season
with a 3.88 earned run average and 29 strikeouts.
Matt Marksbury will join Patterson in the starting rotation. Last
season, Marksbury finished with a 6-5 record and a 4.06 ERA. He
also struck out 32 batters and walked just 10 a year ago.
Bruns and Brian Beltz along with sophomores Nathan Jones and Kevin
Quick figure to be in the starting rotation as well. Jones saw action
in three games last season and posted a 5.40 ERA, while Quick finished
with a 4-2 record and a 2.83 ERA for the Norse.
a great set of starters, but an even better bullpen which I can
go to at any time,” Asalon said. “Steve Thomas and Greg
Moss will give us a chance to close out games late. Mark Bogenschutz
and Adam Bell will be the first guys out of the pen.”
A year ago,
Thomas was 2-4 with a 4.97 ERA, six saves and 23 strikeouts. Bogenschutz
had a 4.74 ERA and Bell went 1-1 with a 3.46 ERA last season. Moss,
a transfer from Lewis University, had 46 strikeouts in 65 innings
for the Flyers in 2004.
sophomore Kenny Barnett and junior Greg Pass will challenge for
time on the mound along with newcomers Ry Bowling, Brad Kramer and
While the Norse
return three players who received postseason honors to compliment
their pitching staff, Asalon believes one aspect that will help
this season is the lack of one standout player.
have any superstars, which is what will bring us together,”
Asalon said. “We have many different guys who can beat you
in many ways.”
Conor McGeehan received All-GLVC accolades and second team All-North
Central Region honors. McGeehan batted .295 with six home runs and
27 runs batted in. He is also one of the top defensive catchers
in the GLVC.
a junior shortstop, was also named All-GLVC and All-North Central
Region. He finished the season with a .322 batting average, 23 stolen
bases and 12 RBI for the Norse. Sophomore left fielder Josh Moulton
earned first team All-GLVC honors and batted .366 with three triples
is our team leader and is not only a terrific player but even a
better person, and he should be a draft pick in this year’s
Major League Baseball draft,” Asalon said. “(Lonergan)
is one of our hardest workers and has all the tools a shortstop
needs. He is a great athlete who will be a huge factor again. (Moulton)
will likely hit second in the lineup, and he is a fast, strong athlete
who needs to be on base often.”
will move to right field
for the Norse is Jon Back, a sophomore second baseman. Back saw
action in 55 games as a freshman and started 54 times. He batted
.244 with two home runs and 15 stolen bases. Matt Jones will be
back in the infield, moving to third base after playing first base
last season. A year ago, he finished with a .261 batting average,
nine doubles and one home run.
switching positions this season is junior Matt Wagers, moving from
third base to right field. Wagers played in 54 games last season,
starting 52, and batted .259 with five home runs and 24 RBI.
started at shortshop as a freshman and third base as a sophomore,
but he will play right field this year,” Asalon said. “He
is one of our best hitters who will hit third in the order. He has
a terrific arm, which is a big reason for the move to right field.”
newcomers Chris Nann and Kenny Wilson are also expected to start
for the Norse. Nann, an All-American in junior college with good
power, will see action at first base. Wilson will start in center
a true freshman in center field can be scary, but (Wilson) has the
tools to be very successful,” Asalon said. “He is the
fastest player on the team and needs to be on base and make things
happen. Chris Nann should be a solid contributor. He comes in with
D’Ippolito will start as the designated hitter for NKU, and
Brad Meyer will see time in that position as well. D’Ippolito
batted .205 and Meyer finished with a .182 batting average last
Kendall and sophomore Drew Rushing will vie for playing time as
McGeehan’s backup. Rushing could also offer relief for Jones
at third base. Newcomers Brian DeCarlo, a sophomore transfer from
Phoenix College, Evan McDole and Sean Duggins will contend for action
in the infield for NKU.
senior Chris Wilson will provide depth in the outfield along with
junior Jim Volpe. Wilson saw action in two games last season as
a pitcher, while Volpe batted .255 in 21 games with one home run.
Jason Nintrup, a junior outfielder, could also see action after
playing in 41 games and batting .221 last season.
weakness is our youth. We only have six seniors, but the underclassmen
all have game experience and have been battle tested,” Asalon
said. “It should be a special year.”
NKU opens the
season against defending regional champion Grand Valley State on
Feb. 25 at Champion Window Field in Florence, Ky., where it will
be playing its home games this season. The GLVC Tournament will
take place May 11-14 in Sauget, Ill.