The Baseball Observer Feb 2015 vol 1 - Page 51

Baseball Tabbed Preseason No. 1 by Collegiate Baseball News Related Links: Collegiate Baseball News Web Page Source: Wisconsin Whitewater Athletics The University of Wisconsin-Whitewater baseball team has been selected the No. 1 team in NCAA Division III by Collegiate Baseball, the amateur baseball news service announced Tuesday, Dec. 23. The Warhawks claimed their second national championship in 10 years last season, finishing 44-7 overall including a 4-0 mark in the World Series. UWWhitewater also won both the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference regular season and tournament titles. The defending NCAA Champions are ranked No. 1 in 2015 by Collegiate Baseball News Seven positional starters and a number of key pitchers from the 2014 Warhawks, who ranked among the nation's leaders in batting average, on-base percentage, runs per game, WHIP (walks plus hits per inning pitched) and walks allowed per nine innings, are slated to return in 2015. Senior shortstop Mikole Pierce (DePere/DePere) is among UW-Whitewater's top returners. Pierce garnered WIAC Co-Position Player of the Year, D3baseball.com Midwest Region Player of the Year and first team American Baseball Coaches Association/Rawlings NCAA Division III All-America accolades after finishing among league and national leaders in batting average (.435), hits (84), runs scored (62), runs batted in (64), triples (9) and home runs (9). Senior catcher Mike Mierow (Brookfield/Central) and senior first baseman Casey Power (Ontario, Canada/Belle River) also earned both all-conference and all-region honors in 2014. Mierow finished with a .346 batting average and 15 stolen bases, while Power knocked in 52 runs and hit .345 with 16 doubles and five home runs. Junior right-hander Curtis Morgan (Green Lake/Green Lake) and sophomore righty Austin Jones (Milwaukee, Wis./Wauwatosa West) look to lead the pitching staff in 2015. Morgan was one of the team's top starters a year ago. He was named first team All-WIAC and second team all-region after posting a 6-1 record with a 3.81 earned run average and 42 strikeouts. Jones tallied an identical mark of 6-1 and totaled a team-best three saves in 19 appearances, including two as a starter. He was selected second team all-region following the season. Head coach John Vodenlich enters his 12th season at the helm of the program. Vodenlich is a six-time WIAC Coach of the Year, five-time NCAA Midwest Region Coach of the Year and two-time ABCA NCAA Division III Coach of the Year. He has led the Warhawks to nine NCAA Tournament appearances, including five World Series berths, eight WIAC regular season championships and three WIAC Tournament titles.