UCO Baseball on Deck
Senior Justin Brown, No. 2, gets ready to bat at a Feb. 22, 2017 game against Southwestern Oklahoma at Wendell Simmons Field. (Photo Archives)
With a roster full of upperclassmen, seven returning-position starters and renovations to their stadium, the University of Central Oklahoma baseball team is primed and ready to improve upon last year’s 37-21-1 record.
With the season fast approaching, head coach John Martin said he is excited to lead his team.
“I’m really excited for this season,” Martin said. “We’re ready to get out on the field and start playing some games.”
Martin and the Bronchos finished the 2017 regular season with seven straight wins and extended their winning streak to nine, with two postseason victories. The Bronchos rode their momentum to the Central Regional Finals, eventually losing to conference rival Lindenwood.
For the 2018 season, UCO is looking to start right where they left off. The team has 25 seniors, and Martin said he believes the veteran roster will be much improved offensively.
“Our seniors are going to have a big impact for us this year,” Martin said. “We should be much better at the plate.”
20 days until 1st Pitch pic.twitter.com/rZsEZIo5yu
— UCO Baseball (@UCOBaseball) January 11, 2018
This year when the Bronchos take the plate, they’ll be doing so on a new field. Chad Richison, a UCO alumus and founder of Paycom, donated $4 million to the university in October to upgrade the sports facilities. One of the projects the donation financed was upgrades to the baseball stadium, which include artificial turf and a new outfield wall, which are expected to be completed before the Bronchos first home game on Feb. 6.
When the Bronchos take the new field for the first time, they will be lead by seniors Anthony Alvarez, Kyle Miskovsky and Jake Dyer. All three were among the top hitters on the 2017 roster. Alvarez, the returning third baseman, batted .321 at the plate, third best on the team last season.
Miskovsky transferred from Northeastern A&M College last season and is returning at second base. In his junior year he batted .311 and finished with a .493 slugging percentage.
Dyer led the team in hits while posting a batting average of .309. He earned All-MIAA honors in 2016 and 2017, and his 230 at bats last season were the third most in UCO history.
The Bronchos return seven positional from last season, a lineup which helped them finish fourth in the conference in fielding percentage.
J.D. Cameron, Tyler Culver and Ben Wusterbarth are a few returning pitchers for the Bronchos. Combined, this unit went 13-5 and held opposing hitters to a .255 batting average.
UCO landed several transfer students who could earn a spot on the mound this season and add depth to the Bronchos pitching. Senior transfer Ryan McCollough is among those looking to make an immediate impact. McCollough transferred from Oral Roberts University. In 12 appearances, McCollough had two saves, along with eight strikeouts for the Eagles.
The Bronchos begin their season Feb. 1 in Grand Prairie, Texas against Oklahoma Christian University.