Thursday, March 22, 2018

Men's Baseball: UIS baseball team hits national rankings for first time

The University of Illinois Springfield baseball program has climbed into the national rankings in its eighth season of existence.

UIS is ranked 25th in the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association Division II poll released Wednesday.

It is 19th in the Perfect Game national rankings. Hero Sports has the Prairie Stars No. 13 out of 262 teams in its ratings. UIS received votes in the Collegiate Baseball Newspaper national poll. It also is No. 9 in the 10-team Midwest Region.

The Stars have had a red-hot start to the season after losing their first three games. Their overall record is 17-4 and they’re riding a nine-game win streak.

They have the most wins of all 15 Great Lakes Valley Conference teams. So what got them here? 

“We’ve taken a good pitching staff and taken a good offense, and added impact players to that,” UIS fifth-year coach Chris Ramirez said.

“The big jump has been our pitching staff,” Ramirez said. “Those guys have been unhittable. It’s been the starting pitchers, then we go to the bullpen and those relievers have been just as tough. The story is when you take all those good players that we had coming back and add in Justin Revels, Andrew Dean and Alec Altmeyer to the pitching staff. All three went Division I out of high school.”

The Stars also have the conference’s best batting average. UIS is hitting .318, no other GLVC team is above .298.

“We knew we had Michael Rothmund, last year’s Division II home run leader, back and Cole Taylor, the All-American, back, and we had Myles Hann and John Sechen,” Ramirez said. “We’ve added Jack Schaff and Nick Stokowski.”

This spring could be shaping up to be UIS’ best with seven weeks remaining in the regular season.

The Stars set the school-record for wins at 33 last season. They also won a record-setting 19 GLVC games.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on March 21, 2018.

Read the entire article online.