CSU club baseball ranked No. 4 in preseason poll

Luke Zahlmann

A year after going 28-9 with a conference title, Colorado State club baseball enters the preseason ranked N0. 4 in the country in the National Club Baseball Association preseason poll.

left-handed player swings bat
Junior Brad Johnson up to bat against Wyoming. (Ashley Potts | Collegian)

The teams only severe personnel losses from last season lie in their middle infield as both second baseman Matt Davis and shortstop Matt Smith moved on by way of graduation. With both players hitting in the top of the Rams’ lineup and racking up over a .400 clip from the plate, a big hole has been put in the lineup with returning players like Mack Morford and Jace Evans among others looking to step up.

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The top two starting pitchers, Phelan Castellano and Jared Van Vark, will also both return to the mound for the Rams, looking to build on their success from last year. Both pitchers dominated with a ground ball pitching style and constant change of speed. With a fair share of strikeouts, the momentum they built last year is set up to only grow.

The poll is headed by defending NCBA National Champion East Carolina and runner up from last year Central Florida. Both teams cruised their way through the playoffs, with East Carolina taking the World Series in a 10-inning pitcher’s duel with Stephen Duncan starring in a complete-game shutout that included 10 strikeouts.

The Rams will look to cruise through their conference once again and unseat the Pirates in the playoffs. Six-time champions, the Rams’ pedigree has spear headed their tryout and recruiting efforts as they look to build yet another contender.

The first matchup of the year for the Rams will be on Feb. 3 when they travel to Lamar to face Lamar Community College in a midday doubleheader. The matchup will be an identical opener for the Rams as last year when they were handed two of their eight loses on the year in back-to-back games from the Lopes.

Collegian sports reporter Luke Zahlmann can be reached at sports@collegian.com or on Twitter @lukezahlmann.