The season for the Union University baseball program begins with high expectations following a season in which the Bulldogs posted the highest finish in the TranSouth over the past three seasons, including their first trip to the region tournament since 2002. Second year head coach Brent Fronabarger has added numerous players to the team to help bolster a roster that lost just three players to graduation last year.
The 2007 senior class is the largest in recent Union history with eight players. Five of the players have been at Union for four seasons and have made great contribution. Clint Arthur returns as one of Union most reliable starting pitchers for Union. Garrett Pepper is in his fifth season with Union after having to redshirt between his sophomore and junior season. Pepper has been a great utility player for Union, having pitched and caught, plus playing first base, third base and has been a designated hitter. Tyler Porter has been on of Union best base runners over his career and also can play all three outfield positions. Zach Lowery has been a solid catcher for Union over his career, however, last season proved he could play numerous positions including catcher, second base, third base, and outfield. Jon Mark Walls has spent his career as a solid reliever and weekday starter and has improved in each of his seasons. Three seniors have joined the Bulldog program as transfers including Josiah Enyart, Jason Cooper, and Joel Benchoff. Enyart proved to be an outstanding shortstop, and despite miss-ing time last year do to injury, he will look to have a solid year with double-play partner, Jason Cooper. Cooper also had a good first season with the Bulldogs at second base. Cooper and Enyart proved to be one of the best middle infield combinations in recent history for Union. Benchoff will be used this season more as he as joined the Union pitching staff. In addition to his new role, he will also provide depth at first base and the catcher positions.
The junior class is made up of 10 players, three of which have been at Union all three years. Jud-son Powers is the teams offensive leader as he returns from one of his best seasons yet. Pow-ers will make the move from left field to first base this season, and will also be a solid left handed pitcher on the Union staff. Brasfield, has improved every season as he is also coming off his best offensive season yet. He can play any infield position and also can provide solid relief on the mound. Ben Ayris is a starter for the Bulldog staff and will continue to provide weekend relief and spot start for Union. Seven newcomers in the junior class are expected to produce early and often. Cody Willoughby will can play any outfield position and will also provide an offensive spark at the top of the lineup. Shaun Cozart can play either first or third base and will provide power to the middle of Union’s batting order. Bryan Wagner will bolster Union’s pitching staff and could be a weekend starter. Kyle Blackwood will moved from his normal shortstop position and will start at third base this season for Union. Joe Robinson will play left field this season and is expected to be one of Union top RBI guys. Josh Holman is a talented left-hander with great ability and will get the opportunity to help improve Union’s staff. Greg Abram will step in as one of Union’s top two pitch-ers and could be one of the best pitchers in the conference by season’s end.
Two sophomores dot the 2007 roster for Union including one a returning All-Conference player as a freshman. Allen Williams proved has value last season by taking on the catching role and also being one of Union’s top offensive performers. Adam West also returns to give Union added depth in the outfield and another base running option.
Jackson native Will Dement and John Burnett are the only two freshman in this year’s class. Dement comes to Union from the University School of Jackson and will continue to learn to play right field for Union. His improvements in the fall showed results of his great work ethic. Burnett is an extremely talented freshman pitcher with a great work ethic and will continue to develop over his career.
Union is moving in the right direction to reclaim a conference crown that has not been won since the 2002 season. Fronabarg-er’s group is very experienced and talented and should make a serious run at a league crown in 2007.