Baseball: After whirlwind 2021, Cats looking to find footing under Josh Reynolds

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Joshua Hoffman/Daily Northwestern

Senior shortstop Shawn Goosenberg readies for the pitch. If Goosenberg forgoes his selection by the Chicago White Sox, he will be the centerpiece of a talented Northwestern lineup.

John Riker, Senior Staffer


Baseball


Northwestern had a strong track record of keeping athletes healthy and on the field during the historically aberrant 2020-21 school year, but Wildcat baseball saw its season turned upside down last spring.

NU had eight of its last 16 games canceled due to health issues within the program. The result wasn’t pretty — after a 9-5 start, the Cats finished the year with a mediocre 15-21 record.

But the most shocking news came after the season, when longtime coach Spencer Allen, who just weeks earlier had celebrated his 100th win with the Cats, stepped down from his role, citing a desire to spend more time with his family.

Josh Reynolds, one of Allen’s assistants, was named interim head coach and is tasked with replenishing a program that graduated 10 players and hasn’t finished with a winning record since 2000.

Still, there’s reason to be excited. NU’s offense had a prolific spring, finishing second in the Big Ten with 66 home runs even with the eight canceled matchups. If seniors Shawn Goosenberg and Michael Trautwein forgo their MLB Draft selections, this offense has the potential to return to its 2021 production level. Shoring up the Cats’ pitching and defense should be a priority — NU finished 10th in the Big Ten in earned run average and ranked dead last in fielding percentage.

With an interim coach in the dugout and impactful personnel losses, NU has a long way to go to contend with the top teams in the Big Ten. But as last year’s home run binge proved, that shouldn’t preclude them from being one of the most entertaining teams in the conference.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @john__riker

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