The USAO Drovers are coming into the season with high hopes, after a great 2017 season. Last season head coach Mike Ross led by the drovers to a 45-17 record, and a birth into the NAIA World Series. The Drovers lost some key players in the offseason, including Randy Ventura, Dillon White, Carson Corff, Hayden Sloane, and Christian Perez. The Drovers will also have many newcomers, which include Brandon Shumway, Miguel Lorenzo, P.J. Garcia, Coleton Horner, and Stephen F. Austin Transfer Stevie Thompson who will likely start at one of the corner outfield spots.
The pitching staff will look to be just as good as last year, when they had a 3.29 ERA which led the conference. They will get two key arms back this season, in Jose Hidalgo and Francis Ventura. In 2017 Hidalgo would finished 10-1, with a 2.04 ERA and Ventura finished 10-2 with a 2.26 ERA.
Other Starting pitchers for the Drovers will be Stephen Wright, Tucker White, and Rudy Gonzalez. Last season Wright went 5-4 with a 4.70 ERA. In the 2017 season Gonzalez pitched in 10 games, and he finished with a 5.40 ERA. White is a transfer from the College of Charleston, and the brother of former Drover Dillon White. In the 2017 season White, pitched in 16 games and had a 5.94 ERA.
The Bullpen will be a big key to the success. The Drovers will have 3 returning guys in the bullpen, Mason Stasyszen, Corey Korenic, Roberto Aldana. In the 2017 season Korenic had 10 appearances, and had a 1.69 ERA. Aldana pitched in 10 games, and finished with a 2.25 ERA. Stasyszen looks to have a bounce back season after finishing with a 8.44 ERA.
The offense side will be very important, as they will be returning Wyatt Hull, Greg Barnette, Kenniel Rivera, and Henry Rodriguez. These 4 guys will be called upon a lot if the Drovers want to return back to the NAIA World Series. In the 2017 season Hull hit .316 with 39 RBI’s, Rivera hit .329 with 44 RBI’s, Rodriguez hit .319 with 34 RBI’s, and Barnette hit .236 with 16 RBI’s.
The Drovers are led by head coach Mike Ross, who is in his 10th season with USAO. The assistant for USAO is coach Rafael Pena, who is now in his 2nd season for the Drovers.
USAO will begin its season with a three-game set at Our Lady of the Lake University in San Antonio on Jan. 26. The Drovers first home game will be Friday, Feb. 9 against Saint Mary (Kan.) University.