NEW WILMINGTON, Pa. (Titan Athlerics)– The Westminster College baseball team, under the tutelage of second-year head coach Kelly Swiney, looks to continue to build on last year when the Titans went 15-14 overall and 9-9 in the Presidents’ Athletic Conference (PAC) – their best winning percentage in both overall and conference since 2012.
“I am really excited about the 2019 season,” Swiney said. “We hope to build off of the 2018 campaign in which we had the first winning season since 2012. We have a strong core of players returning and a very talented freshman class. Our goal this year and every year is to be PAC champs. With such a young team we need to focus on getting better daily. We want to be playing our best baseball at the end of the season.”
The Titans return 13 letterwinners from last year, including seniors pitcher Cory Pullen(Wexford, PA / North Allegheny) and third baseman Dante Parente (Beaver Falls, PA / Blackhawk) who were both named All-PAC Honorable Mention.
Last year, Parente recorded a .347 batting average and led the Titans in runs with 25. Parente also led the team and finished tied for seventh in the conference with 12 doubles. Parente recorded 34 hits, 54 total bases, and an on-base percentage of .440, all good for second on the team. Parente’s slugging percentage (.550) tied for second on the team and his five stolen bases tied for third. Pullen finished second on the team in strikeouts with 60. Pullen also led the conference in opposing batting average (.202) and finished third in ERA in the league with a mark of 2.90.
Senior catcher Hunter Alexander (Beaver Falls, PA / Blackhawk) and juniors outfielder/closer Jaret Johnson (Niles, OH / Niles McKinley) and second baseman/right fielder Tyler Barnot (Pittsburgh, PA / Bethel Park) return after being key starters last year. Johnson was second on the team in batting average (.348), RBIs (18), and home runs (3). On the mound, Johnson went a perfect 4-0 and earned a team-high three saves. Alexander, the mainstay behind the plate for the Titans, batted .313 with 13 RBIs, while earning a team-high 177 putouts. Barnot was third on the team with 16 RBIs, to go along with a .307 batting average.
Westminster was picked to finish third in the PAC Preseason Coaches’ Poll with 58 points. Alexander, Johnson, Parente, and Pullen were named on the PAC Players to Watch list.
The Titans start their 2019 season with an eight-game Florida trip, starting on Sunday, March 10 with a doubleheader against Montclair State. Westminster opens PAC play on Tuesday, March 26 with a doubleheader at Geneva. The Titans’ home-opener will be Wednesday, March 27 versus Mount Union.