Author: William Moore
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The Bearcats open their season on the road this Friday in Atlanta Georgia. They’ll take on the Georgia State Panthers in their first series of the 2023 season. The Bearcats are led by captains Cam Scheler, Cole Harting and Garrett Harker. They’re coached by Head Coach Scott Googins, Pitching Coach/Recruiting Coordinator JD Heilmann, Hitting/Infielders Coach Kyle Sprague and Volunteer Assistant Coach/Outfielders Coach Lee Sponseller.
The Bearcats finished last year ranked 4th in the American Athletic Conference with a record of 24-31 and 12-12 in conference play. The Bearcats were knocked out of the conference tournament by the Tulane Green Wave and are looking to make another run at a conference title for their last season in the AAC.
Bearcats 1st baseman Ryan Nicholson was selected for the preseason all-conference team. Last year, Ryan tallied a .277 batting average with 53 hits, 12 home runs, a .529 slugging percentage and a .354 on base percentage.
This season, the Bearcats will need to find new sources of offensive production after losing leadoff hitter Paul Komistek, and 2022 AAC player of the year, Griffin Merritt. In 2022, Griffin had an outstanding season, racking up a .301 batting average, with 46 hits, 14 home runs, a .660 slugging percentage and a.384 on base percentage. Griffin would transfer to the University of Tennessee Volunteers after four seasons with the Bearcats.
Other preseason accolades for the Bearcats include five top prospects in the American Athletic Conference for the 2023 MLB draft, named by D1Baseball. This list is headlined by captain Cole Harting who comes in at #5 on the list. The Bearcats also have two of the top prospects for the 2024 MLB draft in the conference and 3 preseason impact freshmen.
Overall, this is a talented team that should be fun to watch as they pursue an American Athletic Conference championship for the final time.