Franklin Grizzlies Chosen to Repeat as HCAC Baseball Champs

Franklin Grizzlies Chosen to Repeat as HCAC Baseball Champs

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – The Franklin College Grizzlies baseball team has been selected as the favorite to claim the 2019 Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference baseball championship. The Grizzlies received 96 total points and seven first place votes in the annual HCAC Preseason Coaches' Poll. 

The poll collects votes from all ten head coaches in the HCAC. Anderson University received the second most votes in the poll and finished with 83 total points and two first place votes. Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology finished third in the poll with 82 points and the final first place vote and was followed by Earlham College which claimed 62 points. Manchester University (53), Transylvania University (52), Bluffton University (43), Mount St. Joseph University (32), Hanover College (25), and Defiance College (22) rounded out the poll. 

Franklin will be looking for the school's second consecutive HCAC baseball title this spring. The Grizzlies finished first in the HCAC standings during the 2018 season with a 17-1 conference mark. Franklin ended their season in the third game of the NCAA Regional with a 10-1 loss to Texas-Tyler.

The Grizzlies return the 2018 HCAC Most Valuable Player and five other All-HCAC selections from last season's team. Junior outfielder Ryan Bixler hit .400 (28-for-70) in conference play and had 29 runs, 31 RBI, five doubles, one triple, and seven home runs.

Franklin also returns catcher Alex Mis, first baseman Drew Naumovich, shortstop Sam Claycamp, outfielder Jarrod Smith and designated hitter Nick Wright to the lineup this season. The Grizzlies posted a conference leading .351 batting average last season while tallying 67 home runs.

Anderson University will be looking for the school's third HCAC baseball title since 2010 this spring. The Ravens finished second in the conference standings in 2018, earning an 11-7 league record. Anderson ended their season with a loss to Franklin in the conference tournament championship and finished 25-20 overall. 

The Ravens return one All-HCAC first-team selection to the lineup from last year's squad. Junior second baseman Nick Jones finished the season with 19 RBI, 29 runs, and a .367 batting average.

Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology is predicted to finish third and finished at the same spot in the standings a year ago with a 10-7 league record, finishing the season 20-23 overall. The Fightin' Engineers return one All-HCAC first-team members from last season's team. Junior pitcher Luke Buehler tallied 62 strikeouts in 70.2 innings of work with a 1.53 earned run average.

The 2019 baseball season opens on February 16th. The HCAC portion of the schedule will begin on March 30 with the HCAC Tournament slated for May 9-11.

2019 Baseball Players to Watch

Anderson     Branton Sanders     Sr.     1B     Whiteland, Ind.
      Joe Moran     Jr.     P/OF     Anderson, Ind.
      Nick Jones     Jr.     SS/P     New Castle, Ind.
      Andrew Rolfsen     Jr.     P     Fort Wayne, Ind.
      Clayton White     So.     P     Greenfield, Ind.
Bluffton     Garrett O'Reilly     So.     Util.     Galena, Ohio
      Jacob Latkofsky     So.     INF     Temperance, Mich.
      Colin Gregory     Sr.     OF     Fremont, Ohio
      Dante D'Andrea     Sr.     RHP     Westerville, Ohio
Defiance     Paris Creek     Sr.     P     Bryan, Ohio
      Michael Gilliland     Sr.     SS     Napoleon, Ohio
      Ben Bucklew     Jr.     C     Archbold, Ohio
      Jon Brown     Jr.     P     Haskins, Ohio
      Troy Konwinski     Sr.     P/DH     Allen Park, Mich.
Earlham     Walter Talcott     Sr.     RHP     Lafayette, Ind.
      Danny Dopp     Jr.     INF     South Haven, Mich.
      Addison Robertson     Sr.     Util.     Indianapolis, Ind.
      Colin Greve     Jr.     RHP     South Bend, Ind.
      Marc Gendreau     So.     INF     Cincinnati, Ohio
Franklin     Sam Claycamp     Sr.     SS     Columbus, Ind.
      Nick Wright     Jr.     DH/1B/OF     Bloomington, Ind.
      Ryan Bixler     Jr.     OF     Logansport, Ind.
      Jarrod Smith     Jr.     OF     Frankfort, Ind.
      Jordan Clark     Sr.     RHP     Connersville, Ind.
Hanover     Garrett Zorb     Sr.     RHP     Medina, Ohio
      Chase Sizemore     Sr.     INF     Fishers, Ind.
      David Herrmann     Sr.     LHP     Fishers, Ind.
      Josh Meszaros     Sr.     OF     Loveland, Ohio
      Tyler Fitch     Sr.     C     Crestwood, Ky.
Manchester     Tyler LaFollette     Sr.     OF     Warsaw, Ind.
      Braxton Riley     Sr.     SS     Fort Wayne, Ind.
Mount St. Joseph     Alex Wagner     Sr.     RHP     West Chester, Ohio
      Simon Schaefer     Sr.     INF     Cincinnati, Ohio
      Wyatt Myers     Sr.     LHP     Waynesville, Ohio
      Roman Rothwell     Jr.     INF     Monroe, Ohio
      Garrett Hogan     Jr.     INF     Hamilton, Ohio
Rose-Hulman     David Burnside     Sr.     OF     Northbrook, Ill.
      Conner Shipley     Sr.     2B     Terre Haute, Ind.
      Luke Buehler     Jr.     LHP     Carmel, Ind.
      Clayton Mayfield     Jr.     RHP     Brentwood, Tenn.
      Sean Casey     Sr.     OF/C     McCordsville, Ind.
Transylvania     Hudson Chastain     So.     2B     Knoxville, Tenn.
      Colton Hartig     So.     P     Alexandria, Ky.
      Collin Johnson     Jr.     P     Union, Ky.
      Austin Butts     Jr.     1B     Woodstock, Ill.
      Isaac Taylor     Sr.     OF     Lexington, Ky.