Forney and the Musketeers open up the season this weekend.
Feb. 11, 2014
CINCINNATI - As the Xavier University baseball team prepares to take the field for its first game this weekend GoXavier.com takes a look at the Musketeers' infield. Three of Xavier's regular-starters from a season ago return to lead the group, but contributions are expected from a wide range of players.
Throughout the course of last year's campaign, Joe Forney solidified his position at first base for the Musketeers. The junior hit .313 with 22 RBIs and 31 runs scored. His efforts landed him a spot on the Preseason All-BIG EAST Team heading into the 2014 campaign.
Graduate student Stephen Schoettmer started all 58 games last season at third, belting out five triples on the season. He also hit .279 with 38 RBIs and 27 runs scored. Xavier's regular starter at second, Selby Chidemo, returns for his senior season. Chidemo's .311 batting average was the third best on the team among the regular players.
The Musketeers will need to fill the vacancy left at shortstop following the graduation of Patrick Paligraf. Paligraf played in 221 games during his career, tied-fourth all-time at Xavier. He registered 39 RBIs, 27 runs scored and a .282 batting average in 2014.
Junior Derek Hasenbeck, who is Xavier's leading candidate for designated hitter, and junior Bo Slemons will also see time at first base in various lineup situations. Hasenbeck split time at catcher and first base a year ago, while driving in 33 runs, scoring 35 times and batting .261. He was second on the team with 16 doubles. Slemons also produced at the plate, batting .343 with six RBIs and 8 runs scored in 20 games played.
Senior Tres Eberhardt and junior Brian Bruening will also see playing time in the infield. Eberhardt spent time at designated hitter, third base and in left. He hit .234 with nine RBIs and 15 runs scored in 42 games. Bruening wound up with a redshirt after an injury early in the season forced him to miss the remainder of the year. He was batting .364 with nine RBIs and 12 runs scored, while splitting time between first base and right field. He's also Xavier's leading candidate for a spot in right field. Sophomore Chase Puente will also add depth to the infield following a redshirt season in 2013 after transferring from UC-Riverside.
Freshman Ethan Schmidt rounds out Xavier's infield corps. Schmidt joined Xavier this season after a sensational high school career at Granville High School in Granville, Ohio, and will provide depth to the lineup. Schmidt will also factor into the bullpen.