College Baseball

Scouting the teams in the NCAA Division II Midwest Region

By Herald-Whig
Posted: May. 15, 2018 12:01 am Updated: May. 16, 2018 1:15 am

No. 1 Illinois-Springfield

Record: 45-7 (23-1 Great Lakes Valley Conference).

Postseason history: First regional appearance

Scouting the Prairie Stars: Illinois-Springfield fashioned an impressive 29-game winning streak that stretched from a March 10-April 28 and was broken with a 6-3 loss to Bellarmine. The Prairie Stars opened the season with three consecutive losses before going 45-2. They then lost their only two games in the GLVC Tournament despite being the top hitting and top pitching team in the league. The Prairie Stars are batting .433 as a team and average 9.2 runs per game. They boast a 2.81 team ERA -- nearly a full run better than the rest of the GLVC. Opponents hit just .204 against them. Senior outfielder Nick Stokowski is hitting .398 with a 21 home runs and 70 RBIs, while senior first baseman Michael Rothmund is hitting .359 with 21 home runs, 19 doubles and 72 RBIs. Junior left-hander Andrew Dean is 10-1 with a 2.70 ERA in 73 1/3 innings. He's struck out 73 and walked 25. Junior right-hander Justin Revels is 7-1 with a 2.56 ERA ibn 70 1/3 innings with 103 strikeouts and 22 walks.


No. 2 Bellarmine

Record: 37-17 (16-8 Great Lakes Valley Conference).

Postseason history: Eighth regional appearance

Scouting the Knights: Despite losing twice in the GLVC Tournament, including in the semifinals to Quincy, Bellarmine held on to the No. 2 region ranking after setting a single-season school record for victories. The region opener against Southern Indiana marks the sixth meeting between the rivals this season. The Knights hold a 4-1 edge. Junior left-hander Eddie Mathis was named the GLVC Pitcher of the Year and brings a 7-2 record and 2.19 ERA into the postseason. He has 85 strikeouts and 12 walks in 78 innings. Three other pitchers have won at least five games, and the Knights have a 4.59 staff ERA with a .266 opponents batting average. Junior outfielder Zac Wiley is hitting .347 with 44 RBIs and a team-leading 17 doubles, while senior outfielder Griffin Neuer is hitting .326 with a team-leading 51 RBIs, 11 home runs and 26 extra-base hits overall.


No. 3 Northwood

Record: 38-14 (21-7 Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference).

Postseason history: Second regional appearance.

Scouting the Timberwolves: Northwood has won eight consecutive games and swept its way to the GLIAC Tournament championship, beating Ashland 5-1 in the semifinals and Davenport 5-4 in the title game. The Timberwolves get a rematch with Ashland in the region opener and own a 4-1 record this season against the Eagles. The Timberwolves are 3-0 against the GLVC this season, taking two from Lewis and beating Rockhurst 15-5. Senior left-hander Tyler Jandron was named the GLIAC Pitcher of the Year after leading the league with a 1.93 ERA -- nearly two runs better than any other pitcher in the league. He comes into the postseason with a 9-2 record and a 1.99 ERA and 88 strikeouts in 77 innings. He has four complete games among his 12 starts. Junior left-hander Lennon Gwizdala has 13 saves and a 4-2 record in 27 appearances. Sophomore outfielder David Vinsky is hitting .416 with 23 doubles, a team-leading 57 runs scored and 49 RBIs.


No. 4 Ohio Dominican

Record: 32-15 (18-7 Great Midwest Athletic Conference).

Postseason history: First regional appearance

Scouting the Panthers: Despite being in the region rankings throughout the season, Ohio Dominican limps into the postseason having lost four of its last six games. That includes going 0-2 in the GMAC Tournament with a pair of one-run losses. The Panthers are the first at-large bid the G-MAC has received since the league became part of the Midwest Region, and they are 3-3 against other region tourney teams this season. Senior infielder Justin Childers was named the G-MAC Player of the Year and ranks eighth nationally with his .433 average. He has 11 home runs, 19 doubles and 43 RBIs and has reached base in 37 straight games. Junior catcher Colin Kaucher is enjoying a 23-game hitting streak and boasts a .429 average with 59 RBIs and 21 extra-base hits. The Panthers have three starters with six wins apiece, but junior Joe Filosa leads the staff with a 4.27 ERA and a 4-1 record. Junior closer Brad Wilson has 52 strikeouts and just six walks in 31 2/3 innings.


No. 5 Quincy

Record: 39-16 (19-9 Great Lakes Valley Conference).

Postseason history: Eighth regional appearance.

Scouting the Hawks: Quincy is the defending Midwest Region champion and comes into the tournament as the GLVC champion for the second straight year. The conference title was the Hawks' third conference crown in the past eight seasons, and they are making their fourth straight NCAA appearance. The Hawks were second in the GLVC in both hitting and pitching with a .297 team batting average and a 3.68 staff ERA. Junior left fielder Chandler Purcell is hitting .354 and is one of five starters hitting .300 or better. Junior second baseman Cody Birdsong is hitting .348 with 12 home runs and a team-leading 54 RBIs. Senior shortstop Brynn Martinez is hitting .352 with 62 runs scored and 27 stolen bases in 29 attempts. Sophomore left-hander Riley Martin is 4-2 with a 2.86 ERA and 43 strikeouts in 50 1/3 innings. The bullpen has earned 20 victories with sophomore right-hancder Alex Pribyl going 5-1 with a 1.86 ERA.


No. 6 Ashland

Record: 32-20 (16-12 Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference).

Postseason history: 16th regional appearance.

Scouting the Eagles: Ashland is right there with Quincy in the never-say-die category. The Eagles are 12-2 in one-run games and have won 11 games in their final at-bat with seven walk-offs. It helps to get quality starting pitching. In four games in the GLIAC Tournament, the Eagles' starters had a 1.57 ERA in 28 2/3 innings. Sophomore designated hitter Carson Mittermaier, the Eagles' only first-team All-GLIAC selection, is batting .389 with 47 RBIs and 18 extra-base hits. Senior outfielder Connor Barleben is hitting .356 with 17 doubles, 11 home runs and 55 RBIs. The Eagles are hitting .306 as a team. Junior right-hander Devin Peters, a second-team All-GLIAC pick, led the league in innings pitched with 82 2/3 and is 7-5 with a 4.82 ERA. He has 87 strikeouts and took a no-hitter into the seventh inning earlier this season against Grand Valley State.


No. 7 Southern Indiana

Record: 32-21 (15-9 Great Lakes Valley Conference).

Postseason history: 14th regional appearance.

Scouting the Screaming Eagles: Southern Indiana won nine of its final 11 games of the regular season and battled through the loser's bracket in the GLVC Tournament after losing its opener against Quincy. The Screaming Eagles were eliminated in the semifinals by Indianapolis, but it was enough to jump from 10th to seventh in the region rankings. The Screaming Eagles are 5-11 against region opponents, but they beat Illinois-Springfield 11-2 in the GLVC Tournament. The Eagles have won eight times in the their final at-bat this season. Senior left fielder Drake McNamara, who was named the GLVC Player of the Year, is hitting .389 with 23 doubles, 16 home runs and 69 RBIs. He's already broken the single-season record for home runs and is USI's career home run leader (32). Senior right-hander Kyle Griffin is 5-3 with a 4.07 ERA and a team-leading 78 strikeouts in 59 2.3 innings.


No. 8 Hillsdale

Record: 26-28 (17-10 Great Midwest Athletic Conference).

Postseason history: Second regional appearance.

Scouting the Chargers: Few teams can say they've beaten Illinois-Springfield this season. Hillsdale is one of them. The Chargers won 6-3 in the first game of a four-game series. The Prairie Stars won two of the next three games by one run each. Hillsdale earned the G-MAC's automatic berth by winning its first conference tournament in program history. Junior catcher Steven Ring hit three home runs and collected nine RBIs in a 15-2 victory over Kentucky Wesleyan in the G-MAC title game. King leads the Chargers with 15 home runs, 13 doubles and 52 RBIs. Hillsdale is hitting just .279 as a team and averages only 6.1 runs per game. Senior outfielder Ryan O'Hearn has 31 stolen bases but only a .365 on-base percentage. Sophomore right-hander Andrew Verbrugge is 5-7 with six complete games and a 3.10 ERA in 93 innings. Senior right-hander Will Kruse leads the Chargers staff with 74 strikeouts in 86 2/3 innings.

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