ANGOLA, IND. -- The Trine University baseball team was picked to finish fifth in the 2019 Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association preseason coaches poll.
Defending MIAA regular-season and tournament champion, Adrian (Mich.) College, was picked to finish as the favorite in 2019 with seven points and seven first-place votes. Hope (Mich.) College was second with 14 points and one first-place vote and Kalamazoo (Mich.) College rounded out the top three teams with 22 points.
As a team, the Thunder finished one win shy of the 20-win plateau (19-21 overall) that included a four-game sweep against Hope (Mich.) College, marking the first time in program history Trine has won four straight against the Flying Dutchmen. Trine also recorded a fourth-straight season with 15 or more victories.
Trine will return several players from last year's team, including one All-Conference winner from 2018 in current senior Jacob Heller (Fort Wayne, Ind./Prairie Heights). Heller garnered second-team All-MIAA honors after leading the team in batting average at .444 with 60 hits in 135 at-bats. His .444 average was also the best in the MIAA. Heller also led the team in doubles (12), runs scored (36), on-base percentage (.513), slugging percentage (.556), was tied for the team lead in stolen bases (six) and was second in RBI (29). Heller recorded 18 games with multiple hits that included three games with a season and career-tying high four hits. He also posted 11 games with two or more RBI and scored a career-best four runs in a win against PSU-Altoona.
Sophomore Adam Wheaton (Kalamazoo, Mich./Hackett Catholic Prep) will enter the 2019 campaign as the leading starter among the returning pitchers after a "rookie" season that saw him pitch 57 innings in 11 appearances. He made eight starts and recorded a pair of victories and pitched two complete games. Wheaton led the team in strikeouts with 65 and his 57 innings ranked second most. He averaged just over 10 "K's" per nine innings and ended the year with a 4.89 earned run average.
Trine will begin the season with its annual trip to Florida and will take on Anna Maria (Mass.) College in a doubleheader on Sunday, Mar. 3 in Winter Haven, Fla. as part of the RussMatt Invitational. The first game of the twinbill is set for 1:15 p.m.
2019 MIAA PRESEASON COACHES POLL
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