SEATTLE - (Feb. 16) Seattle University baseball opens the 2017 season with a four-game homestand against SIU Edwardsville, beginning Friday, Feb. 17 at Bannerwood Park. Due to expected inclement weather, the two teams will play a doubleheader Friday beginning at 3 p.m. A single game will follow Saturday at 1 p.m. The series will conclude Sunday at 11 .am.

Friday, Feb. 17 vs. SIUE - 3:00 p.m. (Bannerwood Park, Bellevue, WA)
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Friday, Feb. 17 vs. SIUE - 6:00 p.m. (Bannerwood Park, Bellevue, WA)
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Saturday, Feb. 18 vs. SIUE - 1:00 p.m. (Bannerwood Park, Bellevue, WA)
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Sunday, Feb. 19 vs. SIUE - 11:00 a.m. (Bannerwood Park, Bellevue, WA)
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The Pitchers
“Our pitching will dictate our success.”

Head Coach Donny Harrel is putting a lot of pressure on his pitching staff this season with that statement, but the high expectations come with good reason.

The Redhawks have three pitchers on the preseason All-Western Athletic Conference Team, including starters Nick Meservey and Tarik Skubal, and reliever Connor Moore. Meservey was also named preseason WAC Pitcher of the Year, while Skubal will start the season recovering from injury.

Moore will take over the closer position for Zach Wolf, who set a season record for saves in 2016 with 12. Wolf will make the move to starter and long reliever after an impressive five inning appearance in the WAC Tournament last season.

The Redhawks also have returning junior Janson Junk who will start the first game of the season on Friday, Feb. 17. He made 11 starts in 2016, striking out 59 batters in 68.1 innings. He is a guy Harrel is excited to see step up.

“He can throw 90-94 miles-per-hour. The guy is just good.”

The Redhawks bring in six freshman pitchers headlined by Nathan Bonck, who earned the 67th ranking on the 2019 MLB Draft Top 100 Prospects list, released by PerfectGame.org.

“This depth will help take the guys returning from injuries take their time, while also giving our young guys a chance to get some experience,” said Harrel.

The Seattle U staff has always had a pitching and defense first mentality, believing that if they have those two facets, the offense will follow. They want to stop the other team from scoring, and then worry about their own offensive production. It has worked well for them thus far and their reloaded pitching staff should help carry them through the season.

The Infield
The Redhawks infield will be held down by their returning preseason All-WAC picks - shortstop Griffin Andreychuk and first baseman Sean Sutton.

“We’ll rely heavily on Griffin, who is a four year starter for us,” said Harrel. “Almost as important or more important is Sean Sutton because he’s an All-WAC who hit .337 and is a catalyst for us. Sutton has taken over a leadership role.”

The Redhawks also return catchers Kyler Murphy and Jack Reisinger, who will be splitting time at catcher.

“Behind the plate we feel okay because Murphy and Reisinger have experience,” Harrel said. “Murphy ended up in 38 games last year and Jack saw action in 33.”

There was a battle at third base between Lucas Denney and Jake Taylor, but with Denney being out due to a leg injury, Taylor will step up into the spot. The sophomore appeared in 20 games last season going just 4-for-22 at the plate, but has improved since his freshman year and will be asked to help produce on offense.

Freshman Austin Lively will also get reps at third base. The Redmond, Wash., fits well into the team’s defensive plan, as he won Defensive Player of the Year in 2015 and 2016 while at Lake Washington High School.

At second base, there are big shoes to fill. Two-time team MVP Sheldon Stober vacates the position, meaning someone has to step up.

Curtis Perrin returns after playing the infield last year,” said Harrel. “We will look to him and Michael Ciancio will battle it out at second base.”

The Outfield
The Redhawks’ outfield in 2017 should look fairly similar to 2016. They return primary starters Jeffrey Morgan and Dalton Hurd, who started 57 and 54 games, respectively last spring. The final spot will be battled for by Cameron Sterne, Aaron Stroosma or Chase Wells.

Dalton Hurd is huge for us in center field after leading the team in stolen bases and Jeffrey Morgan comes back in right field after hitting .266 as a freshman,” Harrel said.

Hurd was one of the most consistent hitters on the team in 2016 posting a .282 average and scoring 36 runs to go along with 26 runs batted in. He also provided speed on the base paths, stealing 18 bases. The junior should provide a veteran presence in the lineup and the outfield. He also finished with the highest fielding percentage of all outfielders last season at .987.

Morgan fought his way into the starting lineup as a freshman last year and played in nearly every game. He scored 24 runs and batted in another 29. Morgan patrolled right field most of the year posting a .993 fielding percentage.

“Left field has been a rotisserie league for us the past few years, so we have a battle going on there right now,” Harrel said.

Sterne played some time in the outfield last year, going 7-for-30 at the plate in 11 starts, but Stroosma and Wells are both newcomers. Stroosma comes as a senior transfer from Liberty College and Wells is a freshman from Naches Valley High School, where he had a career .502 batting average.

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