2012 Horizon League Preview

*2011 automatic qualifier. 2011 NCAA regional participants in bold (2011 records listed; 2012 national rankings in parentheses)


Conf. Overall

*Wright State 16 7 36 17
Illinois-Chicago 16 7 28 26
Wisconsin-Milwaukee 15 10 28 28
Valparaiso 14 10 25 32
Butler 11 14 23 28
Youngstown State 7 16 14 41
Projected NCAA Teams (1): Wright State.
Conference Schedule: 30 games, begins March 16.
Conference Tournament: Six teams, May 23-26 at Illinois-Chicago.
Player of the Year: Jake Hibberd, 1b, Wright State.
Pitcher of the Year: Michael Schum, rhp, Wright State.
1. Josh Uhen, rhp, Wisconsin-Milwaukee (2013)
2. Sam Koenig, 3b, Wisconsin-Milwaukee (2013)
3. Tristan Moore, of, Wright State
4. Mike Hernandez, rhp, Butler
5. Jon Ryan, of, Illinois-Chicago (2013)
1. Kyle Wormington, rhp, Valparaiso (Tr.—Connors State, Okla., JC)
2. Will Fadness, c, Wisconsin-Milwaukee (Tr.—South Mountain, Ariz., CC)
3. Ryan Hinchley, lhp, Illinois-Chicago (HS—Elmhurst, Ill.)

• Defending Horizon League regular-season and tournament champion Wright State is the league favorite again and aiming for its third NCAA regional appearance in four years, thanks to a strong group of seniors. 1B Jake Hibberd (pictured at right, .407/.445/.610, 9 HR, 56 RBI) won the league triple crown and player of the year award in 2011. Sidearming RHP Michael Schum (9-2, 1.37, 53 IP/41 SO, 9 SV) was the Horizon reliever of the year after leading the league in wins and saves. 3B Zach Tanner (.375/.425/.551, 15 2B) finished second to Hibberd in the league batting race, while athletic OF Tristan Moore (.352/.432/.562, 17 2B) is the best prospect of the group.

• The Horizon’s top pro prospect has just one-third of an inning of college experience and won’t be draft-eligible until 2013. Wisconsin-Milwaukee RHP Josh Uhen, a redshirt freshman, got one out in 2011 before blowing out his elbow and having Tommy John surgery in April. Before he got hurt, his fastball sat at 93-94 mph and peaked at 96. The Panthers hope to have the 6-foot-4, 205-pounder back by midseason and perhaps earlier. They have two other intriguing prospects with size and raw ability in 6-foot-4, 210-pound So. 3B Sam Koenig (.247/.301/.317, 11 SB) and 6-foot-5, 215-pound Jr. RHP Jordan Guth (1-5, 6.06, 62 IP/55 SO).

• The league is down to six teams after Cleveland State dropped baseball following the 2011 season, citing budget cuts and the lack of an on-campus facility. The Vikings went 12-43 in both 2010 and 2011 and posted their last winning season in 1989.