UWF eager to hit restart button after tough 2017 season

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Staff writer

get link After missing out on the NCAA tournament in 2017, UWF baseball has a lot of room for improvement. The Argos finished the year five games above .500 after being picked as pre-season favorites to take the Gulf South Conference crown.

buy viagra from canada “It was tough, and it certainly wasn’t ego driven,” coach Mike Jeffcoat said during Wednesday’s preseason gathering of UWF spring sports teams at the Argo Athletic Club. “It was a disappointment.”

viagra side effects with other drugs Jeffcoat is heading into his 13th year as head coach. In 12 of those years, the Argos averaged 30 or more wins. The Argonauts won a GSC championship in 2016 and a Division II National Championship in 2011.

http://buy-generic-clomid.com “As a coach, you look at that as opportunity to going back and re-evaluate on what steps did we miss and what steps did I not emphasize,” Jeffcoat said.

http://acrossaday.com/?search=levitra-samples UWF lost two heavy hitters in their lineup in first baseman Justin Ambrosino and outfielder Ladeavon Matthews, but will look to second baseman Nic Strasser and outfielder Nick Kerkmann to step up.

Strasser was one of the hottest bats in the lineup before missing the last month of the season with an injury. He finished the year with a .308 average to go along with eight doubles and two home runs in 28 games.

“It was very tough,” Strasser said. “I am excited to be back and get going. This group everyone just gets along with each other and is fun to be around all the time.”

Kerkmann finished his 2017 campaign with a .333 average, five doubles and two home runs in 37 games.

The Argos will open the season this weekend Feb. 2 against No. 19 Florida Southern, a talented club led by former Major Leaguer Lance Niekro. They will then take on Rollins at home Feb. 9.

“We like the team we put together,” Jeffcoat said. “The culture is a lot different than last year.”

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Even with the departure of Jarrod Petree, JT Granat, Jackson Smith and Brian Browning, the Argos should still have solid depth in the bullpen.

Jared Middleton returns to the mound after an impressive 2017 season. Middleton, who transferred from Florida State in 2016, finished the year with a 3.02 era in 18 appearances for the Argos.

Sophomore Trace Penton is coming off of a stellar rookie campaign. Penton held opponents to a .213 average while finishing second on the team with 55.1 innings pitched. He also had four wins on the year.

Senior Jared Gonzalez should also provide some depth in the bullpen after a solid junior season. Gonzalez went 3-1 with a 3.62 ERA across 16 appearances and seven starts. He pitched 49.2 innings, striking out 23 and walking seven.

Newcomer Matthew Estrada is a local prospect out of Pensacola Catholic who was impressive in the fall. Estrada led the Crusaders to the 4A state title game his senior year. Jeffcoat seems to be pretty excited about Estrada’s potential.

Transfers Dylan Mills-Derouen, Kirk Maddox, Avery Geyer, Alex Knight and Cooper Jones could all potentially work their way into the rotation as well. Jeffcoat spoke highly of junior college transfer Mills-Derouen.

“Dylan Mills has the stuff to be in the rotation,” Jeffcoat said. “He’s just got to bring the consistency day in and day out. We look for him to pitch a lot of innings for us, that’s why we signed him.”


Junior Matt Sullivan and sophomore Trevor Payne split time behind the plate in 2017. Sullivan posted a .276 average with three homeruns and 15 RBIs in 33 starts. Payne started 29 games for the Argos. He hit .267 while driving in nine runs.

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In addition to Strasser and Kerkman, the latter of whom could play significant innings in both the infield and outfield, Robert Lopez returns for his junior year. He appeared in 49 games with 48 starts at third base and shortstop as a sophomore. Lopez hit .287 with four home runs and 30 RBIs.

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This is where things get interesting. Newcomers Mason Dinesen and Bryant Harris could start in the outfield. Dinesen has playing experience in the infield as well. A sophomore transfer from Ave Maria, he hit .303 and scored 64 runs in 51 games last season.

Harris, who started his career at the University of Tennessee before eventually transferring to Northwest Florida State College, hit .275 over 41 games for Northwest Florida State with 2 home runs and 19 RBIs.


UWF is pegged to finish fourth in the Gulf South Conference and seventh in their region.

“I think it’s appropriate, considering how many new guys we have and the depth of the league,” Jeffcoat said in a press release. “I think the three teams in front certainly are deserving and certainly have a shot to win the GSC along with two or three other teams behind us. You just never know in our league because of the turnover with junior college players, injuries and guys coming back, there’s a lot of unknowns.”

Delta State was picked to finish first in the Gulf South Conference after receiving 169 points and 13 first-place voted in the preseason coaches’ poll.  The Statesman also earned a national No. 1 ranking from the Collegiate Baseball Newspaper earlier this month.

West Alabama checked in with 146 total points and one first place vote to finish second in the preseason GSC ranking while North Alabama received 141 total points to rank one spot ahead of UWF.

The Argos currently hold the No. 7 spot in the first preseason National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association Division II South Region poll, which was released last week.

“I just think that it’s nice to see that people think we’re in the mix for it this year,” Jeffcoat said. “We hope we are. The region is good. The top seven teams go [to the South Region tournament], and we hope we can be in those top seven. It starts with Game One, and hopefully we can play consistently throughout the year to get there.”