Baseball: Uncertainty awaits Northwestern after major changes during offseason


Daily file photo by Joshua Hoffman

Northwestern players and coaches huddle in the outfield. The Cats have crossed the plate 13 times in each of their last 2 contests.

Lawrence Price, Assistant Sports Editor

Since Northwestern’s last tilt of the 2021 season nearly 11 months ago against Ohio State, a lot has changed inside the program. 

Although head coach Spencer Allen’s decision to step down after six seasons with the program headlined the glut of offseason news, the group lost multiple players as well. This 12-person band of Wildcats included star junior shortstop Shawn Goosenberg, redshirt junior pitcher Tyler Uberstine and junior catcher Michael Trautwein, all selected in the MLB Draft this past July.

Alongside the draftees, the team lost both starting outfielders in redshirt junior David Dunn and journeyman Leo Kaplan, and important arms including senior Quinn Lavelle and Hank Christie, to name a few.

With so many moving pieces, and the loss of essential bats, arms and the team’s head honcho, it’s easy to wonder what the 2022 campaign holds. Questions surrounding what new names will become the ‘regular’ faces to cross the white lines and how the various voids will be filled is the tip of the iceberg. However, the one issue that has been solved is the name replacing Allen at the helm — former associate head coach Josh Reynolds.

Reynolds joined the Wildcats in 2016, starting his tenure at NU the same season as Allen. Becoming the interim new head coach, Reynolds brings a familiar face back to a team looking for direction, overseeing the pitching staff and playing an essential role in NU’s recruitment efforts, providing a boost of confidence.

Since the promotion, Reynolds has added two new coaches to the staff: assistant coaches Brad Hill, previously a 14-year head coach at Kansas State and Jimmy Frankos, a hitting coach for Iowa during the past three seasons.  

On the players’ side, the program welcomes in nine first-years: infielder Patrick Herrera, catcher/first baseman Bennett Markinson, outfielder Andrew Pinkston, infielder/outfielder Alex Roessner, pitcher Jacob Scharm, catcher/infielder Alex Calarco, pitchers Sean Sullivan, Chad Readey and Grant Comstock. The class was rounded out by three graduate transfers: outfielder Ruben Fontes, pitcher Michael Farinelli and catcher JC Santini. 

With last year’s one and three hitters, senior infielder Anthony Calarco and junior utility Stephen Hrustich, returning to the lineup, respectively, along with the rookie and veteran additions, softened the offseason-losses-wound. However, NU’s downhill 2021 season that ended in a 10th place Big Ten finish, on top of the huge voids to fill, leaves little optimism in a consistently competitive conference.

Of course, young players will have a chance to prove themselves, solidify their roles and continually develop. Nevertheless, Reynolds’ group must be ready for a bumpy season in hopes of returning to the Big Ten Tournament for the first time since 2017. 

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