By Mike Lehman, TTU Sports Information Coordinator
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – Anticipation for the 2014 Tennessee Tech baseball season is really starting to gain momentum as 2013 gets ready to close. The newest Golden Eagle club is starting to catch the eyes of the nation, earning a No. 36 overall preseason ranking by Collegiate Baseball Newspaper.
The ranking is the highest ever for a Tennessee Tech baseball team and also makes Tech the only team in the Ohio Valley Conference to receive a Top 40 ranking this preseason. The Golden Eagles were also ranked above regional SEC schools Tennessee and Kentucky.
Head coach Matt Bragga's squad is coming off the best overall season in program history, setting a school record of 40 wins and breaking the OVC record for league wins with 24. That, coupled with the return of most of last year's core group of players, promises to give Golden Eagle fans plenty to cheer about this season.
Among those players returning from last year's OVC regular season championship squad is first baseman Zach Stephens. The senior has already earned a preseason All-America second-team nod and is likely to receive many more preseason honors before the 2014 season gets underway.
Also returning are second baseman Zach Zarzour, shortstop Dylan Bosheers, third baseman Daniel Miles, designated hitter Brandon Thomasson (who is expected to make the move to right field this spring), and closer Seth Lucio, all members of either the 2013 All-OVC first- or second-teams.
Catcher Jordan Parris is back for his second season as the starting backstop and pitchers David Hess, Ross Spurgeon, Jacob Honea, and Garrett Baugh all offer plenty of experience on the mound. Redshirt sophomore Jake Rowland is ready to make his Golden Eagle debut this year after sitting out the 2013 season following his transfer from the University of Tennessee.
Add into that mix the 78th ranked recruiting class in the nation by Perfect Game, and this year's squad has the makings to be the best Bragga has seen in his 10 years at the helm of the Golden Eagle program.