2014 Baseball Season Preview

OKWU baseball team listens to head coach Matt Parker
OKWU baseball team listens to head coach Matt Parker

Bartlesville, Oklahoma — The Oklahoma Wesleyan University Eagles baseball program will open the 2014 campaign at home against Lyon College on January 31. The Eagles home opener will be played at Bill Doenges Memorial Stadium.

The 2014 Eagles are led by a veteran senior group. Seniors Andrew Murphy, Jose Ruiz, Zach Hendrix, Giancarlo Sironi, and Rafael Torres have spent all four years of their baseball tenure at Oklahoma Wesleyan University. Junior College transfers Cody Riley and Andrew Smith are both in their second year as Eagles, but their leadership qualities and skills will prove to guide the Eagles through the 2014 season.

On the infield two ALL- Conference (MCAC) seniors Jose Ruiz and Cody Riley, along with senior Andrew Murphy will look to lead returning infielders Fernando Beltran, Michael Hernandez and Jeff Wintz on the Eagles’ infield. Junior college transfers Avery Flores, Jeff Butler, and John Davenport, as well as incoming Freshmen Trae Bobo, and Josh Eaves, will look to solidify the Eagles’ defense around the horn.

Coach Matt Parker stated that he believed “this group of infielders has the potential to be a very special group if they continue to work hard and play together as an infield unit. I have enjoyed coaching their tireless efforts on a daily basis.”

Behind the plate, two new faces will be assuming the majority of the catching duties for the Eagles. Junior college transfer Brandon Cummings and freshman Brice McCulloch battled all fall and have both proven that they are capable of quarterbacking the Eagles’ defense from behind home plate.

“Brandon and Brice are both grinders,” says coach Parker. “Both of these young men worked very hard throughout the fall, and both will serve as intricate parts to the success of our season.”

In the outfield seniors Giancarlo Sironi and Rafael Torres, along with sophomore returners Asa Manship, Josh Donato, and Seth Garrett will look to continue the pace of solid outfield play that has been admirable during Coach Parker’s tenure at OKWU.

Incoming freshmen Garret Easton and Will Price have both pushed throughout the preseason to work their way into the Eagles’ line-up.

“Our outfield play has to be solid in order for us to be successful,” Parker added. “I believe that this group exemplifies the competitive nature that I look for in our players. As a coaching staff, we are excited about the potential of these players.”

Gunner Joyce will serve as the Eagles main utility player. Joyce will be bounced around the diamond, and could see time in the outfield, on the infield, and behind the plate. Joyce will also play an important role in the Eagle’s running game.

On the mound, the Eagles will be led by returning conference starter, Zach Hendrix and MCAC Reliever of the Year, sophomore CJ Gregory. Senior Andrew Smith, juniors Daniel Wren and Cody Stafford, along with sophomore Sam Haynes are also returning for the Eagles’ staff.

Junior college transfers Juan Berumen, Diego Ibarra, and Rhett Acker will look to provide more depth as well as experience to the Eagles’ staff.

Ty Shipley, Jeffery Deavenport, Riley Deckard, and Cody Boyers will look to push the upperclassmen for time on the mound this spring.

Coach Parker commented on the pitchers saying: “I have thoroughly enjoyed watching our pitchers compete this spring. They have consistently gotten after it from a competitive stand point, and I am very proud of the progress that they have made thus far.”

Head Coach Matt Parker (3rd year) has posted a 73-48 record during his first two years at OKWU and led the 2012 Eagles to an appearance in the NCCAA title game. Coach Parker is assisted by Associate Head Coach Caleb Longshore (2nd year), Assistant Coach Noe Ruiz (1st year), Assistant Coach Andrew Steinmetz (1st year), and Assistant Coach Tyler Flanagan (1st year).