SOUTHFIELD, Mich.-Baseball is back! The Lawrence Technological University (Mich.) baseball team will be starting their fall games this Saturday, September 21st, as they travel to Crestwood Ill. for a four game series vs. the Lakers of Roosevelt University (Ill.). Games one and two will be played on Saturday and games three and four will be played on Sunday the 22nd. First pitch for Saturday's contests is scheduled for 2:00pm EDT.
The Blue Devils in 2019 had an overall record of 33-17 and a conference record of 14-8. This was good enough for the third seed in the WHAC Tournament. In the WHAC Tournament, the Blue Devils went 0-2, losing to Cornerstone (Mich.) in game one, and then were eliminated by Madonna (Mich.) in game two. The Blue Devils will be looking to make it back to the tournament this year, and will be eager to make a run to be on top of the WHAC.
The Blue Devils will be looking to start this season off as they did the 2019 season. They began the year with an 11 game win streak, and four of those wins came by victories over Roosevelt University in the opening weekend. To have the same hot start they had last year, Head Coach Stan Eldridge had this to say about the preparation that his team has been doing, "The fall has gone very well to this point, as the returning players have continued to work hard and improve as they have done each of the past 3 years. Our 1st year players have blended in quickly and are doing an outstanding job of listening, learning and displaying the talents that we saw during the recruiting period. They are adapting well in a system that is new to them."
In regards to the returners, LTU has their big bat back in the lineup with Sean Fannon. Fannon will be a senior this year and has been the leader of the Blue Devil lineup the minute he first put on the jersey. Last year Fannon lead the team in batting average (.380), RBI (53), doubles (13), triples (9), and tied for the team lead in home runs (4). Eldridge had this to say about Fannon, "Certainly we are counting on Sean Fannon to continue his high level of play and if his off season work is any indication he is due for a big season." Eldridge noted that Fannon was not the offensive player returning that has him excited, "We are blessed to have a number of young men that have a level of talent to step to the forefront and contribute for us, so to pick just a few would be difficult … On offense, we expect a lot from returners such as Brian Corbett, Ryan Robinette, Jackson Walkowiak, Eddie Dopkowski, Tyler Cleasby, Harry Storch, Logan Barker, Luke Bushey, Nathan Picchioni (coming back from a season ending injury), Jared Roth Luke Lambert, Sean Marshall and our 3 returning catchers Collin Vander Gronden, Max Mohring and Andrew Nepjuk." Eldridge also expects some of his first year guys to make impact and will compete for playing time in the field.
Returning on the mound for the Blue Devils will be some veteran arms. Alek Wietrzykowski enters his junior season with the Blue Devils. Wietrzykowski started in 13 games for the Blue Devils as a sophomore and picked up four wins in those 13 starts. Caleb Homan and Sam Brace enter their senior year and will be looking to continue to give the Blue Devils quality innings. Ben Schmidt and Jay Gallant will be back as sophomores and are looking to build off of what they did in their inaugural season with the Blue Devils. Both Schmidt and Gallant logged over 30 innings as freshmen.
Entering the 2019-2020 season, the Blue Devils have their eyes set on getting better each and every day, and seeing this contribute to positive results in the postseason. "Our primary goal is to continue our improvement from the previous year in each area, so that we can move forward in our building process. Obviously, another goal is to get into the WHAC Post Season tournament and hopefully take the next step in qualifying for the NAIA National Tournament. We continually talk about improving each day and playing against the game that we hold great respect for," stated Eldridge when asked about the goals of this team for the 2019-2020 season.
Roosevelt University will be looking to get back at the Blue Devils, who were responsible for making the Lakers begin their season 0-4 last year. Eldridge had this to say about their opponent this weekend, "Roosevelt University is a very talented team that is well coaches and play in a highly regarded conference, so we will without question have our hands full throughout the weekend. They play with great energy and intensity and they will not beat themselves by making mistakes. For us to have a successful weekend, we will need to match their effort and intensity and then execute our game plan as we have practiced."
The wait is over, and Blue Devils baseball is back! The opening series begins with the double header on Saturday and will conclude with a double header on Sunday. First pitch is at 2:00pm EDT on Saturday and 12:00pm EDT on Sunday.