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Baseball team ranked No. 10 in nation entering season

First year Mike Speanburg and sophomore Teddy Croft warm up during practice as the men's baseball team prepares for the upcoming season. Photo by Sarah Cooper.

First year Mike Speanburg and sophomore Teddy Croft warm up during practice as the men’s baseball team prepares for the upcoming season. Photo by Sarah Cooper.

The Trinity baseball team begins their 2013 campaign as the 10th-ranked Division III team in the nation, according to the Collegiate Baseball Newspaper. Head coach Tim Scannell enters his 15th season with the Tigers as they look for their 8th SCAC title and a regional berth with hopes to compete for the national title at the end of May in Appleton, Wis. Scannell was named the SCAC Coach of the Year for the third straight season and his seventh time overall.

The Tigers ended their 2012 season with a solid 37-12 overall record, tying the school record for wins in a single season. They also earned their first No. 1 national ranking during the 2012 campaign.

The squad returns with a multitude of talent, including several players already being recognized on the national level. “Collegiate Baseball” listed senior left-handed pitcher Ryan Lucero, senior right-handed pitcher Michael Bentz, senior second baseman Kevin Clements and junior shortstop Christian Muscarello as “Players to Watch” for this season.

All-American Lucero has been selected for the 2013 www.D3Baseball.com Preseason All-America Second Team. He led the team last season with an 8-0 record and a 1.57 ERA, missing the end of the 2012 season after an injury.

Bentz returns from 19 overall appearances last season, pulling out four saves with a 2.76 ERA. He gathered 34 strikeouts on the season.

Clements was a First Team All-SCAC member as well as a All-West Region Third Team member. He aided the Tigers in their postseason run with his .339 batting average, posting 45 RBI and 10 doubles.

Muscarello earned All-SCAC and All-Region honors and led the Tigers last year with 65 hits and 18 doubles. He boasted a .351 batting average for the 2012 season.

Other key returners include senior catcher Kelly Woodruff and junior outfielder Pat Hirschberg. Key newcomers for the Tigers include first years Ryan Gray, Andy Alig, Connor Moore, Jeremy Wolf and Troy Gillen.

“We’re really lucky to have a big senior class who have played in a lot of games and had a lot of success,” said assistant coach Zach Fregosi. “That core of guys have all played significant roles and they know how to win and what it takes to maintain a consistent competitiveness everyday and are teaching the younger guys.”

The Tigers haven’t changed their ultimate goals for the season; they are just as important as they have been in the past.

“We want to put ourselves in a position we put ourselves in before, which is on track to get to the World Series,” Fregosi said. “As a program we’ve done it enough to know that it’s how you get there to reach those goals. We have to focus on the present and not just the end goal. It happens on a day-to-day basis.”

The Tigers will have 23 home games and will open their 2013 season Jan. 31-Feb. 2 in Orange, Calif., at Chapman University.

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