The Luther College baseball team has been picked to finish fourth in the American Rivers Conference preseason coaches' poll released today. The Norse received one first place vote en route to 48 points. Last year's regular season champions the University of Dubuque was picked first followed by Coe College and Wartburg College.
Head Coach Bryan Nikkel, returns 25 letter winners from last year's team that finished fifth in the league with a mark of 13-9, 26-16 overall. He returns his entire starting outfield and all but one starter in the infield. He also returns the majority of his pitching staff. Nikkel has posted a record of 107-70 during his four years at the helm of the program.
2018 Conference Pitcher of the Year, senior Joey Cardaman (Ankeny, Iowa/Centennial), head lines the Norse staff. Cardaman posted a record of 9-1 with an ERA of 1.43. He was also named first team all-Central Region.
Senior Collin Coffey (Austin, Texas/Bowie) and sophomore Tyler Boesel (Scandia, Minn./Forest Lake) were also starters on the mound a year ago. Coffey was 3-2 with an ERA of 3.43, while Boesel was 5-3 with an ERA of 2.82.
Senior catcher Trent Athmann (Bird Island, Minn./BOLD) and senior short stop Jake Halverson (Rochester, Minn./John Marshall), were both first team all-conference and third team all-region honorees a year ago. Athmann batted .345 with 37 RBI, while Halverson led the Norse batting .371 with 24 RBI.
Senior outfielder Jake Vogt (Libertyville, Ill.) is a two-time all-conference honoree. Vogt batted .304 and drove in 24 runs and year ago. He also set the single season school record for stolen bases (18) and he enters his final year ranked ninth all-time in stole bases (30) and eighth for doubles (33).
Senior Bryce Hingst (Waukee, Iowa) will be a four-year starter at first base. A 2017 all-conference honoree, enters his senior campaign ranked ninth all-time for career hits (149) and RBI (92), fourth for career putouts (1039) and eighth for fielding percentage (.987).
Luther will begin its season March 2 when it will face Hamline University. This non-conference double header will take place at the Bettis Sports Complex, Topeka, Kansas.