Air Force Falcons’ OOC Baseball Schedule for 2019
Air Force has put together a decent but not great OOC schedule for 2019. The tournament in Louisiana to start the season should give a good indication what kind of team that will be on the field for most of the year. Army should be good and both LSU (host team) and Louisiana Monroe might as well be co-home teams. Keep an eye on this tournament.
Feb 15 – 18 Baton Rouge Tournament
I think they’re called the Black Knights of the Hudson which, if true, ain’t a bad name at all. As a teacher I actually sent a kid to the academy and still keep in touch. Pretty cool. Anyway, they had a good year in 2018 at 37-24. That got them into the Raleigh Regional where they beat North Carolina State in the first game and then got trounced in the next two. Too bad; I’d love to see a service team go a little deeper. Maybe someday. They didn’t hit much at .263 with no pop (10 dingers). Pitching was good enough to get them a winning record and into a regional (4.08) and I suspect they played a very disciplined game. They had one .300 hitter and he graduated. That leaves it up to returning players and any newbies that turn into gems. Two starting pitchers return in Daniel Burggraaf (7-3 and 2.90 with 83 K’s in 62 IP) and Tyler Giovinco (9-5 and 3.26). Closer Jacob Carte (1-2 and 3.52 with 5 saves) returns. Pitching looks healthy but hitting has a lot of stepping up to the plate and improving to do. Service rivalry means an automatic thumbs up.
The Warhawks (sounds like an expedient PC name to me) had a poor 23-31 record in 2018 due to both hitting (.251) and pitching (6.16). It makes me wonder how they won any games with those numbers. Top hitter, and only .300 hitter, Trent Tinglestad (.332 and 2) returns but he could use some help. It seems all three weekend starters return in Trey Jeans (3-5 and 5.20), Dylan Marsh (2-3 and 5.22), and E.J. Scott (3-8 and 6.50). Jeans has a good strikeout to walks ratio of 3/2, which really isn’t that good, but he struck out over a batter an inning, which does. Three experienced arms for the weekend means a lot. Closer Kaleb Sanderson (3-2 and 2.88 with 7 saves and over a K an inning) returns so pitching should improve. The lack of hitting bothers me; thumbs sideways.
Everyone knows the Bayou Bengals. This is the program that is my whipping boy. Why? Because they play nine of their first 10 games at home and the one road game is in-state. All the rich teams should hit the road against tough teams to see how they do and get some losses under their collective belts. Yeah, yeah, I know the SEC is tough in everything but all those home games and the paydays for the teams they schedule don’t sit well with me. So there. So, here’s Air Force. Needless to say but the Bengals had a good 39-27 record which got them into the Corvallis Regional where they went 2-2 and lost to host OSU. In the two losses the cumulative score was 26-1; ouch! The team hit a healthy .283 but pitching is not what you’d expect from this team at 4.87. They had four .300 hitters with pop spread throughout the lineup. They get three of the four back in Antoine Duplantis (.328 and 2 and a great bayou name), Daniel Cabrera (.315 and 8 and a Freshman AA), and Zach Watson (.308 and 7). Pitching always seems to produce a future MLB player or two. Sophomore Ma’Khail Hilliard (9-5 and 3.79 and a Freshman AA) might be one and Zack Hess (7-6 and 5.05) also. Hess can strike ‘em out (107 K’s) and Hilliard isn’t far behind. Walks are hurting them both. Third starter AJ Labas (6-2 and 3.48) also returns and he walks no one. Coaches love that. Closer Todd Peterson also comes back so the staff is in good shape. Add to that the #1 recruiting class by some writers. I could use some gumbo. Thumbs up.
Feb 22 – 24 Freedom Classic in Kinston, NC – Navy
Along with Army, Navy had a good year at 38-16. You’d think 38 wins would be enough to get an at large bid but, no, they lost twice to Army which gets them nuttin’ honey. They hit well at .286 with little pop but the opposition didn’t hit against them so all’s well. Pitching was excellent at 3.10 which was just about two runs better than the opposition which explains the wins in my eyes. They had five .300 hitters. Zach Biggers (.343 and 1 and second team AA), Jonah Llanusa (.333), Liam Lowery (.312 and 3), and Michael Coritz (.303) all return so the offense might get even better. So what about that excellent pitching? Two of the three weekend rotation return in Noah Song (6-5 and 1.92) and Andrew Sauer (5-2 and 3.11). Song had huge numbers as he struck out 121 in 89 IP. Jared Leins (5-2 and 3.21) was a Freshman AA to flesh things out a bit. Thumbs up.
Feb 25 – Road – East Carolina
Only one game with the Pirates but they are also a good one that went 44-18 in 2018. That got them into a regional where they went 1-2 where they lost to UNC Wilmington. They hit (.288 and some pop) and pitched (3.41). That’s a proven recipe for wins. They had three .300 hitters led by Bryant Packard (.406 and 14) who also received an AA award. Brady Lloyd (.322 and 2) also returns. Jake Agnos (4-4 and 4.10) should be the leader on the mound followed by Tyler Smith (7-1 and 1.78 in 60 IP) and Alec Burleson (5-2 and 3.33 and a Freshman AA). Closing was shared by three. This team is loaded. Thumbs up.
Mar 12 & Apr 2 & 16 & May 7 – Home and Away – Northern Colorado
These four games are for bragging rights in Colorado since neither Colorado nor Colorado State field a team. Too bad. Boise State is working on it, so why not you guys? I need something a little more local. Da Bears went 29-24 last season which ain’t too bad for them. They hit a ton at .295 but pitching was suspect at 5.53. They had four .300 hitters with substantial ABs. Three return in Jack Pauley (.327 and 3), Matt Burkhard (.325 and 8), and Matt Zoba (.313 and 2). They should be able to score some. Pitching needs to improve. Two of the pitchers with the most starts are gone and only Issac Bracken (2-3 and 5.34) returns with 7 starts last year. I don’t know where the pitching will come from as there are a lot of opportunities here. Thumbs sideways.
Mar 19 – 20 – Road – Nebraska
The Cornhuskers are a sometimes power in baseball but not last year at 24-28. They could hit (.274) but so could the opposition as the team ERA was a not good 5.70. So, what’s coming back? They had three .300 hitters and only Gunner Hellstrom (.310) returns. Pitching also go hit hard (heh, heh) as only one starter returns in Matt Waldron (6-4 and 4.26) but he was at the top of the heap. The coaches have some work ahead of them. Thumbs sideways.
Mar 22 – 24 – Home – Dallas Baptist
The Patriots were good at 42-21 and made it into a regional where they went 2-2 and were eliminated. Just to show you how good of a program they are they’ve made it into five straight regionals. It never gets old. They could hit (.297 and 86 dingers) and pitching was ok at 4.53. Basically, they clubbed the other team into submission. You noticed the home runs, didn’t you? They had five hitters in double figures in homers and four that hit .300 or better. Of those hitters, only Freshman AA Jimmy Glowenke returns as the other three signed to play at the next level. Don’t worry, they have plenty of hitters. Two starting pitchers return in MD Johnson (8-2 and 5.14 and team leader in Ks) and Freshman AA Luke Eldred (7-3 and 3.28). Closer MacGregor Hines (5-3 and 3.88 and 6 saves). Always a good team. Thumbs up.
Mar 26 – 27 – Road – Pacific
Stockton is about 45 minutes away from San Jose but the Central Valley is a whole other planet compared to the bay area. The Tigers were 22-29 last year and hit poorly (.256) but pitching was ok at 4.93. I couldn’t find a roster so I don’t know came back so it’s another case of I dunno? Last season they had three .300 hitters and a decent rotation. That much I can tell ya. Thumbs down.
Apr 9 – 10 – Home – Utah Valley
The Wolverines didn’t have much bite in 2018 as they had a bummer of a year at 15-37. Never fun when you lose this much. Both hitting (.256) and pitching (5.43) were poor which explains just about everything. They had three .300 hitters and the highest hit .306. Only Ryan Eastburn (.304) comes back for more. Two starters return in Kaden Schmitt (4-5 and 4.41) and Walker Ramsey (2-8 and 7.03). The teams needs work. Thumbs down.
Apr 30 – May 1 – Home – Kansas
The Jayhawks were 27-30 in 2018 which is just a tad below ok. Hitting was ok at .272 but pitching was anything but ok at 6.15. They had four .300 hitters and Jaxx Groshans ( .313 and 4) and Brett Vosik (.309) return. Only Ryan Zeferjahn (8-5 and 4.48 with 100 Ks) comes back. Pitching needs help. As an aside, former SJS outfielder Brendt Citta hit .322 with 4 HRs as a senior. The boys in blue could have used him. Ah, well. Thumbs down.
May 10 – 12 -Home – Butler
The Bulldogs, better known for basketball than baseball, had a decent season at 34-20. However, they had to go to one of those pesky season ending conference tournaments where they lost two of three and went home for good. Hitting was decent at .272 but pitching was better at 3.84. They had three .300 hitters in 2018 and as far as I can tell, no one comes back. Their best pitcher, Ryan Pepiot (6-0 and 2.62) returns. He also had 101 strikeouts in 75 IP. Not bad. Closer Jack Pilcher (0-0 and 2.75 with 10 saves) also comes back. He’d be really good if he could cut down on the walks. Thumbs up.
The Falcons have some good teams they will be facing as part of their OOC schedule. Army, Navy, LSU, and Dallas Baptist are the best of the lot with DBU being a home series. Expect a ton of scoring in the games with that team.