2020 NCAA Top 25 Preview: No. 23 Dallas Baptist

Image credit: Burl Carraway (Courtesy of Dallas Baptist Athletics)

Last season: 43-20 (14-7 in Missouri Valley); reached regional final
Final ranking: NR
Coach (record at school): Dan Heefner (473-249, 12 seasons)

Top 100 draft prospects: LHP Burl Carraway (No. 64)

The good news: All Dallas Baptist does is get to regionals, as the team’s 2019 trip was the sixth consecutive and ninth in coach Dan Heefner’s 12 seasons at the helm. Lefthander Burl Carraway gives the Patriots one of the best relievers in the entire country, and Jimmy Glowenke, a shortstop who will begin the season at DH due to offseason arm surgery, will be a prohibitive favorite to win MVC player of the year honors. There are also a number of veterans back in the lineup around Glowenke, including second baseman Andres Sosa, third baseman Jackson Glenn, Blayne Jones, who will man shortstop for the time being, and Austin Bell.

The bad news: With MD Johnson and Jordan Martinson gone, the weekend rotation is going to look very different in 2020. Ray Gaither is penciled in as the team’s Friday starter, and it’s tough to know what to expect from him. He missed most of each of the last two seasons, but he started on Fridays as a freshman in 2017, leading DBU in strikeouts along the way. It has been a while since he has proven it, but the talent to lead this rotation is there. Offensively, Bryce Ball is a tough piece to replace, but projected first baseman Dan Pruitt looks like a clone of Ball in many ways. At 6-foot-6 and 241 pounds, Pruitt has nearly the same build as Ball, who was listed at 6-foot-6 and 235 pounds, and like Ball, Pruitt comes to DBU after slugging his way through junior college pitching. 

Player to know: Burl Carraway, LHP.

After a freshman season that featured just two appearances, Carraway burst onto the scene in 2019 and immediately became one of the most electric arms in the country. He held opponents to a .195 batting average and struck out 72 hitters in 41.2 innings of work, and with ten appearances of at least two innings, he proved that he’s more than just a one-inning arm. He spent his summer pitching in the Cape Cod League and with Team USA, further cementing his place among college baseball’s elite. 

Path to Omaha: Not only do the Patriots continually find their way into regionals, they’ve gotten to the regional final in each of their last five trips. If they continue to do that year after year, it’s only a matter of time before they do break through for a trip to Omaha. If this team is going to be the one, it will need Gaither to be the type of pitcher he was in 2017 and others to step up around him in the rotation. Offensively, whether it’s Pruitt or someone else, DBU will also likely need to find a slugger to round out the lineup around the existing returners. 

C Ryan Wrobleski, R-Fr. DNP — Redshirt
1B Dan Pruitt, Jr. Transfer — Western Oklahoma State JC
2B Andres Sosa, Sr. .262 .365 .468 8 34 141
3B Jackson Glenn, Sr. .292 .372 .460 7 54 250
SS Blayne Jones, Jr. .254 .354 .392 5 33 240
LF Austin Bell, Sr. .229 .288 .375 1 13 48
CF Hayden Ebrecht, R-Fr. DNP — Redshirt
RF Jace Grade, Fr. HS — Austin
DH Jimmy Glowenke, Jr. .328 .429 .467 6 43 244
RHP Ray Gaither, R-Jr. 0 0 0.00 6.2 8 0
RHP Dominic Hamel, Jr. Transfer — Yavapai (Ariz.) JC
RHP Cole Reeves, So. 1 2 8.71 10.1 9 0
RP Burl Carraway, Jr. 4 2 2.81 41.2 72 6
RP Kragen Kechely, Sr. 0 4 6.87 38 39 3

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