2012 Division I Independents Preview

Dallas Baptist 42 20
Longwood 28 18
Cal State Bakersfield 33 22
Seattle 21 30
Nebraska-Omaha 35 20*
*record at Division II
1. Jake Johansen, rhp, Dallas Baptist
2. Duncan McAlpine, c/1b, Dallas Baptist
3. Justin Lacy, 1b, Longwood
4. Stuart Pudenz, rhp, Dallas Baptist
5. Kyler Morgan, rhp, Longwood
1. Jay Calhoun, rhp, Dallas Baptist (HS—Houston)
2. Cy Sneed, rhp, Dallas Baptist (HS—Twin Falls, Idaho)
3. Zach Jordan, rhp/of, Longwood (HS—Hopewell, Va.)
• Only five Division I independents remain, and all of them are accounted for in future conferences. Dallas Baptist, Cal State Bakersfield and Seattle will join the radically realigned Western Athletic Conference. Nebraska-Omaha, reclassifying from Division II, is headed for the Summit League, while Longwood will be in the Big South.

• Dallas Baptist has become the indy standard-bearer since Miami joined the Atlantic Coast Conference for the 2006 spring season, and the Patriots won a regional last season before losing to California in a super regional. DBU loses offensive leader Jason Krizan and two other drafted starters but returns much of its lineup intact otherwise. Jr. C Duncan McAlpine (.270/.361/.448, 9 HR) and Sr. SS Joel Hutter (.303/.396/.494, 9 HR), the team’s returning home runs leaders, also provide steady defense up the middle, while Sr. CF Landon Anderson (.356/.421/.548, 21 SB) was part of one of the nation’s most disciplined offenses. DBU drew 310 walks last season with just 340 strikeouts and added 88 hit batsmen. On the mound, Jr. RHP Jake Johansen (3-0, 12.15) had control issues his first two seasons but has the team’s best arm. Coach Dan Heefner said Johansen’s control turned the corner in the fall during an exchange trip to the Dominican Republic, as he started to harness a fastball that touches 96 and a low-80s slider.

• Cal State Bakersfield plays its usual gritty schedule, with series at UC Irvine, Fresno State, Nebraska, North Carolina State and Southern California, among others. The Roadrunners will do it without all three starters that logged more than 100 innings last season. Mike McCarthy (8-6, 1.62) graduated; RHP Tommy Hoenshell (7-7, 2.89) transferred; and LHP Jonathan Montoya (8-5, 3.67) will miss the season after having Tommy John surgery. One prospective replacement, Sr. RHP Brandon Van Dam, already is out for the year with shoulder surgery. Several top hitters also were drafted, leaving Sr. OF Andrew Letourneau (.296, 13 SB), Sr. SS D.C. Legg (.312, 3 HRs) and So. 2B Oscar Sanay (.355) as the top returnees.

• Seattle is in its fourth season under coach Donny Harrel and its third in Division I, giving the roster a veteran sheen for the first time. Sr. RHPs Seafth Howe (4-4, 3.42) and Brandon Kizer (6-5, 4.91) are back to anchor the weekend rotation, which didn’t get much help from an offense that batted just .241 last year with 35 stolen bases in 52 games. Sr. 2B Trent Oleszczuk (.322/.466/.378) sets the table well with a 34-15 walk-strikeout ratio last spring while adding 16 HBPs. He also led the club with eight stolen bases.

• Nebraska-Omaha is playing just five home games this season—one against Brigham Young, and a four-game set in April against North Dakota State. Otherwise, the Mavericks go rogue on the road all spring.