During spring break, the Red Raider baseball team traveled to Arizona, where they played nine games in Tucson and one in Phoenix.
The Raiders played doubleheaders against Indiana Wesleyan, Kansas Wesleyan and Missouri Valley. They also played Malone in a three-game series.
Northwestern caught fire and won all 10 of the games it played in the sunshine state.
“We did better than I expected,” said head coach Brian Wede. “It was a lot of fun to watch, and whenever we were challenged we responded well.”
Throughout spring break, the Raiders batted .360 while their opponents batted .291. Northwestern also posted a 4.81 ERA and their opponents ERA was a skyscraping 8.57.
“Spring break brought us closer together and gave us the team chemistry we need to take on the rest of the season,” senior Micah Linn said.
Last year, the Raiders finished the season with a 31-19 overall record. They won the GPAC regular season and the GPAC Tournament. They also qualified for the NAIA national championship.
“Expectations are really high for our team this year,” Wede said.
The baseball team was picked the favorite to win the GPAC again this year in the preseason poll.
The team is returning 16 players, 11 of which have earned GPAC honors during their baseball careers at NW.
“We have nine seniors this year, and I am excited to watch them lead and play this year,” Wede said.
The Raiders were led last year by the pitching of now-
senior Tyler Stuerman, who was the GPAC Pitcher of the Year after going 7-3 with a 1.46 ERA in 74 innings.
Senior Ryan Brasser has been a three-time All-GPAC honoree and was second-team All-GPAC pitcher last year after going 6-2 in 59 innings.
Seniors Cody Groskreutz and Davis Bloemendaal have been two-time All-GPAC players. Groskreutz has a career batting average of .323 and was the GPAC Gold Glove first baseman last year. Bloemendaal led the team last year with a .382 average and had 46 RBI.
“Our team is doing well going into the season, and we are working well together,” junior Skyler Wheeler said.
Northwestern will head to Joliet, Ill. to play against Saint Francis this weekend in a three-game series.