The Kalamazoo College baseball team finished tied for 3rd in the MIAA last season, making the conference tournament for the second season in a row. It was the team’s 2nd appearance in three seasons under Head Coach Mike Ott.
The Hornets have seen improvement in their season results each season under coach Ott, and this season looks to follow suit as the Hornets return starters at five of the eight positions in the field, as well as their three pitchers who worked the most innings last season.
The returners on the pitching staff are led by sophomore Ryan Orr, who finished second in the MIAA in ERA last season at 2.20, innings pitched with 49 and wins with 5. He also tied for the league lead in complete games with 5. Over the summer Orr was selected to the prestigious Northwoods League All-Star game while pitching for the Kenosha Kingfish. Orr finished the summer with a miniscule ERA of 1.39 over 45 innings as a reliever for the Kingfish.
Juniors Aaron Schwark and Nic Janssen round out the starting rotation for the Hornets, and will look to be one of the strongest starting rotations in the MIAA this season. Janssen was 8th in the conference in ERA last season at 3.38.
The offensive returners are led by junior outfielder Ian Kobernick, who improved on an impressive first season (batted .377), by raising his average to .384. This placed him 6th in the MIAA in batting average and his 36 hits were 4th in the conference during his sophomore campaign. His sophomore season also included a team high 14 doubles, and Kobernick will also carry a 21 game hitting streak into the 2016 season.
Kobernick is joined by junior third-baseman Jack Clark who is coming off a First-Team All-MIAA season. To achieve that honor Clark hit .370 (9th in the MIAA). Junior Mitchel VanKoevering also joins Clark on the left side of the infield, boasting a .307 batting average over his first two seasons as the Hornets starting shortstop.
The Hornets were 2nd in the MIAA in both team batting (.308 batting average) and team pitching last year (3.90 ERA). This season they will look to improve on those numbers, as well as compete for the conference title with frontrunners Adrian.
The team travels to Earlham to begin their 2016 campaign on March 5th, and will travel to Florida for their annual spring trip to play six games over the spring break, before returning home to host Albion on March 26th for the first home MIAA game of the season.