BRIDGEPORT, W.Va. – For the second straight year, Urbana University has been selected by league coaches to finish fifth in the North Division for the 2019 Mountain East Conference baseball season.
The Blue Knights, who are under the guidance of third-year head coach Jake Oester, went 11-36 overall last season and finished 11-21 in MEC games.
Senior Austin Pratt returns to the UU lineup after hitting a team-high .333 with 11 doubles, one home run and 22 RBI, along with senior Mickey Losey, who scored a team-high 29 runs with eight doubles, three triples, three home runs and 21 RBI. Junior infielder Daniel Quiroz also returns as the most experienced Blue Knight with 89 career appearances in the lineup.
Shepherd and the University of Charleston have been tabbed by the league coaches as the preseason favorites for the 2019 MEC baseball season.
The Rams were picked to finish first in the North with 66 points and 11 first-place points. Shepherd went 37-14 last season and advanced to the NCAA Tournament. Brenton Doyle, the 2018 MEC Player of the Year, returns to the Shepherd outfield after hitting .415 with 14 home runs, 16 doubles and 68 RBI.
Nick Atkinson, who had a league-best 15 home runs, will also rejoin Doyle in the Rams outfield. Christian Hamel (.350 BA, 57 RBI) and Justin Smith (.426 BA, 43 RBI), both of whom were first-team All-MEC selections last season, also bring firepower to the SU lineup. Senior starter Ryan Potts will look to lead the pitching staff after going 11-2 last year with a 2.90 ERA. Potts also struck out a school-record 120 batters last season.