Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Lots of Changes for St. Louis U. Baseball

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Lots of Changes for St. Louis U. Baseball

Article excerpt

The process of constructing a daily lineup last season was pretty simple for St. Louis University baseball coach Darin Hendrickson.

His roster was experienced and potent, and Hendrickson rolled out the same group for virtually every game. It was good enough to earn the Billikens the Atlantic 10 championship and an NCAA Tournament berth.

When SLU opened the 2019 season with a 9-1 win over Miami (Ohio) on Friday, he wasn't quite sure who would be on the field as the four-game series unfolded.

"The first two weekends I'll probably do a lot of platooning and trial and error," Hendrickson said. "We might start a different lineup four days in a row. It's that wild. I haven't had that here."

While SLU has a veteran and deep pitching staff, the Billikens return only three starters elsewhere and have 15 newcomers, who are a combination of freshmen and junior college transfers.

Adding to the uncertainty of the opening weekend was a flu virus that infiltrated the ranks, forcing six players and a coach to travel separately from the rest of the team.

The good news for SLU is that Jake Garella, the A-10's leading hitter last season at .352, returns to the outfield. Catcher Ryan Hernandez is entrenched after being named one of the country's top 300 prospects by And second baseman Cole Dubet is back for his fourth season as a starter.

Hendrickson has a lot of candidates to fill the holes, including highly touted senior transfer Shane Benes, who started at first base Friday.

But the veteran coach isn't convinced that the Billikens should have been picked by the A-10 coaches to win another conference championship.

"I don't know if we're the best team in the league. I don't think we are," he said. "We lost a lot of pieces, although I will say our pitching potentially has a chance to be the best in the league. …

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