Senior Patrick Paligraf returns to anchor Xavier's infield at shortstop in 2013.
Feb. 5, 2013
CINCINNATI - With the start of the baseball season less than two weeks away, Xavier continues to practice in preparation for the first game at the College of Charleston. Despite returning a bevy of infielders who saw significant time playing in the infield, some of the fiercest position battles for the upcoming campaign are taking place in the infield.
Perhaps the safest position in Scott Googins' infield lies at shortstop, where incumbent senior Patrick Paligraf is expected to see the lion's share of playing time. However, even Paligraf is being challenged by freshman Andre Jernigan, who made huge strides in the fall, and sophomore Jacob Bodner.
The other middle infield position, second base, is held by junior Selby Chidemo. Chidemo, who earned 36 starts last season, is being heavily pushed by Bodner and junior Michael Moore. Freshman David Morton had a good fall and coaches are excited as he seems to be ahead of schedule with development.
Junior Tres Eberhardt started 47 games at third a season ago, but senior Wake Forest transfer Stephen Schoettmer and sophomore Joe Forney are providing a hotly contested battler for time at third. Schoettmer and Forney both impressed the coaches in the fall, setting up the push for playing time.
Junior Brian Bruening is the probable starter at first base and will also see some playing time in right field. Senior Seth Dawes and redshirt sophomore Bo Slemons will battle for the innings opened when Bruening plays in the outfield.
Paligraf started 53 of XU's 56 games last season and finished second on the team with a .282 batting average. The native of Indianapolis drove in 23 runs and scored a team-high 30 times. Paligraf also drew a team-leading 33 walks.
After a mediocre start to the 2012 season, Bruening really came on strong over the final 25 games he played. He hit .337 over the stretch, recording seven RBI and 15 runs scored. Bruening closed out last year and will enter the 2013 campaign on an 11-game hitting streak, which included four-multi-hit contests.