#43 Loyola Marymount Baseball 2014 Preview

Loyola Marymount Lions

Overall Rank: #43
Conference Rank: #3 West Coast
#43 Loyola Marymount Baseball 2014 Preview
Loyola Marymount Team Page


Head coach Jason Gill and recruiting coordinator Bryant Ward have had success on the recruiting trail, and they look to turn that recruiting success into wins on the baseball field this season.  This year’s class has drawn good reviews, ranking the 34th best in the country by Collegiate Baseball and 22nd by Baseball America.  After going 24-27 last season, the Lions will look for the new players to add some production to get them back to an NCAA Regional.

2013: 24-27, 12-12
2013 Postseason: None
Coach: Jason Gill

Field Players:
Loyola Marymount loses some key field players off last year’s squad, led by catcher Colton Plaia, the WCC’s 2013 Defensive Player of the Year.  A group of returnees will pair with some talented newcomers to try and replace that production.  Junior outfielder Tanner Donnels is back after playing in 50 of the teams 51 games last season and starting 49 of them.  Donnels is very sound defensively, committing only one error last season and led the team with a .991 fielding percentage.  Another junior, David Edwards, returns to anchor the infield after starting 46 games a year ago.  Edwards led the team with 26 RBI’s and 16 stolen bases last season.  A quartet of junior college transfers, infielders Brice Savage and Tommy Creek, outfielder Cole Trezek and utility player Kevin Garcia, return for their second season in Los Angeles.  All four had at least 18 starts last season, with Creek leading the way with 36.  Creek also has the top returning batting average on the team at .305.  A trio of highly rated recruits, Tyler Cohen, Trent Hammond and David Fletcher, are also in the mix to see time in the field.  Behind the plate, junior Chris Barnett takes over for Plaia.  Barnett started 22 games a year ago, and will look to team with freshman Cassidy Brown, a top recruit from Ohio, to replace Plaia’s production.  

The Lions return the majority of last season’s pitching staff, led by Colin Welmon. A first team All-WCC pick last season, Welmon led the team with a 2.30 ERA.  He spent the summer playing in the prestigious Cape Cod Collegiate Baseball League.  Patrick McGrath and Trevor Megill will return to join Welmon in the starting rotation.  McGrath was 5-2 with a 2.42 ERA last season, while Megill held opponents to a .188 batting average in 43 innings.  The bullpen will be anchored by juniors Sean Buckle and Brandon Horth and seniors Bret Dahlson and Carlos Fuentes.  All four pitched in at least 19 games and Dahlson led the team with seven saves.  With a lot of talent and production returning, the pitching staff looks to be the strength of the Lions team.

Who to Watch:
Watch out for the freshmen field players this year.  With only three players returning that started at least half of Loyola Marymount’s games last season, there are plenty of positions up for grabs.  The recruiting class is headlined by its infielders.  David Fletcher, Tyler Cohen, and Trent Hammond all received California Interscholastic Federation first-team honors their senior season, and Fletcher was named CIF Division 2 Player of the Year.  They will have every opportunity to play early this season with most of last year’s top performers gone.  Catcher Cassidy Brown also joins the Lions this season after being named the player of the year in Ohio last year.  He will battle Barnett for the chance to take over for Plaia.

Final Projection:
For the past two seasons, Loyola Marymount has hovered around the .500 mark.  But, with their second highly rated recruiting class in the past three seasons, coupled with a solid group of junior college transfers back for their second season, the Lions look set to be on the rise.  After a successful sophomore season and summer playing in the Cape Cod Baseball League, Colin Welmon is expected to have a dominant junior year.  With a solid group of returnees and newcomers joining Welmon, and a schedule that has 31 of the team’s 52 games at home, Loyola Marymount is in a prime position to make an NCAA Regional in a West Coast Conference that could be down this year.

Projected Postseason: NCAA Baseball Tournament

Returning Leaders:
At Bats: Tanner Donnels, OF, 167
Hits: Tommy Cheek, IF, 43
Home Runs: David Edwards, IF, 1
RBIs: David Edwards, IF, 26
Runs: David Edwards, IF, 23
Stolen Bases: David Edwards, IF, 16

Wins: Patrick McGrath, P, 5; Colin Welmon, P, 5
Innings Pitched: Colin Welmon, P, 78.1
Strikeouts: Colin Welmon, P, 64
Saves: Bret Dahlson, P, 7

Madness 2014 MLB Draft Rankings:
#109 Colin Welmon


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