#36 Kennesaw State Baseball 2015 Preview

Kennesaw State Owls

Overall Rank: #36
Conference Rank: #1 Atlantic Sun
#36 Kennesaw State Baseball 2015 Preview
Kennesaw State Team Page


Kennesaw State took the college baseball world by storm during the 2014 NCAA Tournament by winning the Tallahassee Regional and advancing to the Louisville Super Regional. These were two signature accomplishments that signaled the continued rise and growth of the Owls program as a budding Division I program in the world of college baseball. Despite the loss of Max Pentecost to the MLB Draft, Kennesaw State brings back plenty of talent that will be primed to get back the NCAA Tournament.

2014: 40-24, 17-9
2014 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Mike Sansing

Field Players:
There is plenty of depth returning this season position player wise for the Owls. The trio of juniors led by outfielder Alex Liquori, catcher Brennan Morgan and shortstop Kal Simmons will be the foundation of the lineup along with senior outfielder Jacob Bruce. Bruce made the most of his opportunities when he got on base my causing havoc with his speed, stealing 12 bases and scoring 57 runs. The main power source this season should come from Chris McGowan and Brennan Morgan, as they each hit four homeruns last season for Kennesaw State. If this lineup can produce at a similar level to a year ago and get their run differential near a plus 101 like last season, they will be a Super Regional threat again.

The depth returning in the rotation is going to be a big time asset for Coach Sansing heading into the 2015 season. Travis Bergen will most likely be the Friday night starter heading into the start of the regular season. Bergen was 9-5 in 2014 with a 2.89 earned run average. The ability to maintain pinpoint control in 2015 is going to be very important for Bergen as he only walked 15 batters in 99 innings of work last season. If Bergen can produce similar numbers, he will have a great shot at winning at least ten games. Jordan Hillyer, if he is not the Friday starter, will be an excellent Saturday starter that will help strengthen the Owls chances to win a series, especially in Atlantic Sun Conference play.

Who to Watch:
The closer role is going to be a very vital question for the Owls to get answered this season. They have to replace Justin McCalvin, who was lights out role in that role in 2014.  McCalvin was 5-3 with a 2.21 earned run average, and had 60 strikeouts in 61 innings pitched to go along with 16 saves. The ability to come up big in close games was a big reason for the epic postseason run that Kennesaw State went on in 2014.

Final Projection:
The season opens fast for the Owls as they play fellow mid-major power Liberty in the season opener that will be great test for both teams right away to see how they stand. Georgia, St. John’s, Connecticut, Georgia Tech and Auburn highlight the rest of the non-conference schedule for the Owls. In conference play, Florida Gulf Coast, the regular season Atlantic Sun Conference Champions from last season, will visit Kennesaw State starting on April 17th through the 19th. Lipscomb will close out the conference schedule and that will be a rematch of the Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament Championship game where the Owls won 7-1. If Kennesaw State can handle having a bigger target on their back after having gone to the Super Regional last year, they will be the frontrunner to win the Atlantic Sun Conference and have a shot at a number two or three seed in a regional instead of a number four seed.

Projected Postseason: NCAA Baseball Tournament

Returning Leaders:
At Bats: Kal Simmons, IF, 268
Hits: Jacob Bruce, OF, 74
Home Runs: Chris McGowan, IF, 4; Brennan Morgan, C, 4
RBIs: Chris McGowan, IF, 46
Runs: Jacob Bruce, OF, 57
Stolen Bases: Jacob Bruce, OF, 12

Wins: Travis Bergen, P, 9
Innings Pitched: Jordan Hillyer, P, 101.0
Strikeouts: Travis Bergen, P, 78
Saves: None


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