SAN ANTONIO, Texas - Trinity University, which has won three of the past five Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference baseball championships, was pegged as the 10th ranked team in the Collegiate Baseball Newspaper 2013 preseason poll, the organization announced. Collegeiate Baseball 2013 Preseason Top 30 Poll
Trinity totaled 243 points in the poll and was just three points back of ninth-ranked Webster (Mo.). The Tigers, who advanced to the NCAA Division III West Regional championship game in 2012, finished last year with a 37-12 record.
The 30-win season marked the third straight for Trinity and was the program's 12th 30-win season since the Tigers joined the SCAC in the 1989-90 academic year.
The Tigers were led by senior ace Ben Klimesh who rewrote both the school and conference record books. Klimesh, who was drafted by the Cincinnati Reds in the 15th round (#472 overall) of the MLB amateur draft, led the SCAC in innings pitched (110.2), strikeouts (154), complete games (9) and wins (13) during the 2012 season.
His 154 strikeouts established a new school and SCAC single-season record. A first team All-America selection, Klimesh also set school records with 365 career strikeouts (also the SCAC mark) and 31 career wins (2nd all-time in the SCAC).
While Klimesh graduated and began a his professional baseball career, Trinity will however return a solid lineup in 2013.
The Tigers had four players listed by Collegiate
Baseball as NCAA Division III Players-to-Watch for the 2013
season: senior pitchers Ryan Lucero and Mike Bentz, senior second
baseman Kevin Clements and junior shortstop Christian
A Second Team D3baseball.com All-American, Lucero led Trinity with an 8-0 record and a 1.57 ERA in 2012, despite missing the last month of the season due to injury. The left-hander averaged better than a strikeout an inning, sitting down 74 in just 68.2 innings of work, and ranked among the conference leaders in nearly every pitching category. Lucero was also a First Team All-SCAC and First Team All-West Region selection.
Bentz had a 6-1 record in 19 appearances in 2012, with 17 of his appearances coming in relief. The left-hander finished the season with a 2.76 ERA and struck out 34 batters in 42.1 innings of work with a team-high four saves.
Clements batted .339 in 49 games for the Tigers with 10 doubles, three home runs and 45 runs driven in. The senior second baseman was selected First Team All-SCAC as well as Third Team All-West region in 2012.
Muscarello finished the 2012 campaign ranked second on the team in batting with a .351 average to go along with his team-best 65 hits. The junior shortstop also was second on the Tigers squad with 7 home runs. A First Team All-SCAC as well as a Second Team All-West Region selection a year ago, Muscarello drove in 38 runs and scored 39.
Trinity opens the 2013 season Jan. 31-Feb. 2 with a three
game-set at Chapman (Calif.).