February 16, 2018
The 2017 season was a terrific year for Headfirst Honor Roll programs as teams from all three NCAA divisions fought their way deep into the post-season. From the Davidson Wildcats’ magical run to the College Station Super Regional, to UC San Diego’s appearance in the Division II national championship game, to the WashU Bears second straight UAA championship – these performances remind us that pursuing a top degree and a College World Series berth are not mutually exclusive goals.
In parts of the country, baseball is officially back – and with the season brand new, we are excited to highlight several Honor Roll programs and alumni that gained preseason recognition this year.
Coming in at #13 on D1Baseball.com’s Top 25 poll, the Stanford Cardinal are poised for a big year in 2018. Under the leadership of new Head Coach Dave Esquer (Coach Mark Marquess retired after 41 years at the helm), the Cardinal return several weekend starters as well as five Honor Roll alumni. They will be tested early with an opening series against #18 Cal State Fullerton.
After another strong performance in 2017, the Duke Blue Devils were rewarded with their first preseason ranking in program history at #25. They return eight Honor Roll alumni including First Team Preseason All-American Griffin Conine. Conine will anchor the middle of the order after swatting 13 homeruns and posting a .425 OBP in 2017. The Blue Devils will need to hit the ground running as they open on the road against fellow Honor Roll program and #14 ranked Vanderbilt.
The Wooster Fighting Scots have one of the strongest traditions in all of college baseball. Guided by long-time head coach and the active leader in NCAA Div. III coaching wins (1,173), Tim Pettorini, the Fighting Scots have averaged 35 wins a year since 2000. Their current roster includes eight Honor Roll alumni including reigning ABCA Mideast Region Player of the Year Michael Wielansky. They will open their season February 25th holding a national ranking of #14.
The Johns Hopkins Blue Jays enter the 2018 season having won three of the last four Centennial Conference Championships and nationally ranked at #8. They return the core of their pitching staff and 26 honor roll alumni – including Preston Betz (5-2, 3.06 ERA), Harrison Folk (3-0, 1.31 ERA) and Nick Bodner (5-0, 3.40 ERA).
With everything that the 2018 season holds in store, we couldn’t be more excited to follow the action. Be sure to stay in touch with us on Twitter for updates on all your favorite high academic baseball programs.