LAMONI, Iowa - Graceland University kicks off the 2017 campaign today at Ecclesia College. The Jackets will play a four-game series over today and tomorrow.
THIS WEEKEND IN YELLOWJACKET BASEBALL… The Yellowjacket baseball team is ready to head south to Springdale, AR to take on the Royals of Ecclesia College in a four-game series on Friday and Saturday, Feb. 10-11. Last year's meeting in Springdale, Graceland and Ecclesia split the four-game series. The teams will play a pair of seven-inning games both days, beginning at 1 p.m.
RETURNERS... GU returns five starters offensively in Corey Harrell (2016 All-Conference Honorable Mention), Orangel Medina, Xavier Colon Marquez, Parker Reynolds and Chris Perez. Top The Jackets also return starting pitchers Dakota Graham and Harrison Whittaker, as well as, relief pitchers Cody Gutierrez, Jose Martinez and Andrew Gray.
GOING DEEP... The group with the most depth is the GU's starting pitching. Dakota Graham and Harrison Whittaker return to the mound for their senior seasons. Graham will anchor the starters with transfers, Albert Ordonez, Axl Parra, returner Whittaker behind him. Transfers Omar Maldonado III and Jorge Michael will add plenty of depth to the starting staff and can go into the bullpen if needed. Last season, GU pitchers compiled 208 strikeouts.
IN THE INFIELD... The Yellowjackets have plenty of experience on the right side of the infield, while the left side is still young especially at shortstop. Third base is young, but has experience in Xavier Colon Marquez and Sebastian Guillen.
KEY CONTRIBUTORS… The Yellowjackets are looking for key contributions this season from…
- OF: Parker Reynolds, Alex Madera, Colton Ranney
- INF: Corey Harrell, Logan Bima, Orangel Medina, Xavier Colon Marquez,Sebastian Guillen, Gustavo Niebla, Gage Sanchez & Grant Johnson
- C: Andrew Maxson, Chris Perez, Jacob Melendez
- SP: Dakota Graham, Albert Ordonez, Axl Parra, Harrison Whittaker, Omar Maldonado III, Jorge Michael
- RP: Drew Carlson, Cody Gutierrez, Jose Martinez
OFFENSIVELY… GU will look to we look for Corey Harrell and Logan Bima to lead a young but talented offense. Harrell led the team in double (10), home-runs (11) and slugging percentage (0.573). Bima is a transfer from Upper Iowa University. Overall, the Jackets have a great mix of speed and power at every position. Lance Hoch and Omar Maldonado III are expected to help contribute to the team offensively as both hitters as well as pitching.
CONSISTENCY... Graceland will look to obtain consistency early on in all aspects of the game. The Jackets will strive to have solid defense behind a pitching staff that throws strikes along with timely hitting to produce the runs the team is capable of producing. With a young team, it will be vital to develop consistency early on.
SIX SENIORS... GU's senior class consists of six seniors, Cody Gutierrez, Dakota Graham, Harrison Whittaker, Orangel Medina, A.J. Salas and Orangel Medina. Gutierrez, Graham and Whittake are right-handed pitchers, expecting to use their depth and senior experience. Medina (INF), Bima (1B/OF), and Salinas (UT) round out the list of seniors. Gutierrez is the lone four-year senior on the squad.
COACHING STAFF… Head Coach Brady McKillip returns for his 17th season at the helm. He will be joined by assistant coaches William Loza and Matt Cartwright, along with student coaches Nate Goff and William Salas.
NEXT UP... After the Yellowjackets return from their opening four-game series, the team will have to wait just five days until getting back on the diamond on Feb 17. Graceland will take a three-day trip to Joplin and Carl Junction, Mo. Graceland will play five games from Feb. 17-19 taking on William Woods University, Robert Morris University, Midland Univeristy, University of St. Mary and Columbia College.
For updates on baseball and all our teams, follow @GUjackets on Twitter and like us at Facebook.com/GUjackets.
- Yellowjackets -