SEASON OUTLOOK
 
  season outlook

The 2009 version of the Union University Bulldog baseball team will be full of new faces.  Eight seniors left the field in 2008, while two other starters will not be returning for the 2009 campaign. 

Included in the players lost from last season are three infield starters, two outfield starters, and two of the three weekend starting pitchers.  Also, four other senior hurlers who saw valuable time on the mound graduated. 

However, this team that Head Coach Brent Fronabarger (fourth season as head coach at Union) has assembled to replace those players will be just as strong, if not stronger.  He returns eight players, including four seniors that will contribute to the success of the squad.  Helping reload the 2009 roster will be 17 new players.

A small group of four seniors highlight the returning class, led by four-year starting catcher Allen Williams (C/OF/Covington, Tenn./Covington HS).  Williams is the only four-year senior in the group.  In addition to catching, Williams can also play right field.  Carl Harken (RHP/Cedar Rapids, Iowa/Kirkwood CC) also returns after a successful junior season as Union’s number two weekend starter.  Harken, a 2008 All-Conference player, will be called on to anchor the pitching rotation in 2009.  Danny Alberty (RHP/Miami, Fla./Jackson State CC) returns for a senior year after leading the team in appearances (16) in 2008.  Joe Gahan provides senior leadership and depth in the outfield.

The junior class is the largest of the four classes with nine players.  However, only Grant Luke (OF/Birmingham, Ala./Troy University) is a returning player from 2008.  Luke hit .308 last season while starting 40 games in left field.  Eight junior transfer to Union in 2009 including Josh Jones (1B/OF/Gardendale, Ala./Jackson State CC), Brad Davis (LHP/Newbern, Tenn./Dyersburg State CC), Alex Turner (IF/Adamsville, Fla./Jackson State CC), David Maristany (3B/Ft. Lauderdale, Fla./Jackson State CC), Derek Blackwood (OF/Medon, Tenn./Jackson State CC), Greg Harrington (RHP/Grand Rapids, Mich./Lincoln Trail CC), Corey Rudolph (OF/1B/Memphis, Tenn./Southwest Tennessee CC), and Bobby Stierwalt (2B/Woodbridge, Va./Virginia Tech Univ.).

Three of the five sophomores on the roster return to Union after contributing as freshman.  Colby Starks (C/Murray, Ky./Calloway County HS) played in 32 games, with 27 starts, as a freshman as a catcher or designated hitter.  Kevin Kirksey (RHP/1B/Gastonia, N.C./Ashbrook HS) played in 33 games, 24 starts, as a first baseman, pitcher, and designated hitter.  Ross Garrett (RHP/Parsons, Tenn./Riverside HS) saw limited action, but looks to build on the hard work of his freshman season.  Two sophomores enter Union for the first time this season.  Andrew Haley (LHP/Memphis, Tenn./Univ. of Memphis) and Dan Beck (RHP/Middle Georgia CC) will help provide punch to the pitching staff.

The freshman class boasts the second high player numbers with seven.  Each of these freshmen enters the program highly touted with high expectations.  Wade Collins (1B/3B/Cookeville, Tenn./Cookeville HS), Clint Barnes (OF/C/Bolivar, Tenn./Bolivar Central HS), Danny Grimm (SS/Jackson, Tenn./University School of Jackson), Cole McAdams (3B/Huntingdon, Tenn./Huntingdon HS), Jackson Nichols (2B/Franklin, Tenn./Christ Presbyterian Academy), Cody Dew (RHP, Halls, Tenn./Halls HS), and Jeremey Stack (RHP/Jackson, Tenn./Madison Academic HS).

This team looks to improve on the program last season that posted a third place finish in the TranSouth Regular season standings, missing the region playoffs by mere percentage points.  The roster of filled with talented players that have valuable experience at the college level.  However, the roster also boasts numerous young players that will find themselves in starting roles in 2009.

 

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