LakePoint, Ga. - With first pitch of the 2018 ASUN Baseball season around the corner, it's time to take a look at what the conference's teams have to offer this coming spring. Earning the fifth spot in the ASUN Preseason Coaches Poll, North Florida begins a new era as Tim Parenton takes over at the helm of the program in his second stint with the Ospreys.
Parenton served as an assistant on the Ospreys staff from 2010-13, but will now be the man in charge taking over for longtime head coach Smoke Laval. Most recently, Parenton was in charge of the Hudson Valley Renegades in the Tampa Bay Rays organization. He takes over a squad that finished with a 33-24 record last season, including going 12-9 in league play. The Ospreys were one of the top offenses in the ASUN, ranking in the top-three in several categories including runs, doubles, home runs and RBI. North Florida will look to keep that momentum going as they will host the 2018 ASUN Baseball Championship at the end of the season.
The Ospreys will have to replace several top contributors from that powerful offense last season as Tanner Murphy and Chris Berry are the lone returnees that hit .310 or better. Murphy hit .337 in limited time as he only played in 34 games, while Berry had six doubles and three homers in his 2017 season. Blake Voyles and Rey Gonzalez will again be managing the pitching staff as they shared time behind the plate in 2017. They combined for 32 RBIs out of the catcher spot.
North Florida will rely on its experienced pitching staff in 2018 as they return several key starters from last year's squad. Frank German had an outstanding sophomore campaign, going 8-1 and finishing with an ERA of 2.43. He struckout 76 batters while only allowing 25 walks in 81.1 innings of work. Lefty Austin Drury started 12 games and posted a 6-2 record to give the Ospreys a nice one-two punch at the top of their weekend rotation.
North Florida Team Quick Facts
2017 Record: 33-24 (12-9)
Best Single-Season Record in ASUN: 45-16 (16-5) - 2015
ASUN Championships: None
ASUN Regular Season Titles: 2015
NCAA Appearances: None
2018 Season Notes: The pitching staff returns two of its top-three performers from last season, while on the offensive side North Florida has to replace several key contributors lost to graduation and the ML B Draft. Frank German and Austin Drury combined for a 14-3 record last year, while Tanner Murphy hit .337 to lead the returning bats.
Season Opener: vs. Radford; 2/16/18 - 6:05 PM
ASUN Opener: at Jacksonville; 3/29/18 - 7 PM
ASUN Home Opener: vs. USC Upstate; 4/6/18 - 6:05 PM
Head Coach: Tim Parenton
Career Record (Years): First Year
North Florida Record (Years): First Year
Staff: Andrew Hannon, Tommy Boss, Derek Vail
- Tanner Murphy, So., OF: The sophomore outfielder had a solid freshman campaign as he hit .337 with seven extra-base hits. Murphy had 17 RBI on just 28 hits and also contributed four stolen bases in his 34 games of action. He will look to make a bigger contribution this season in the Ospreys lineup.
- Chris Berry, Jr., UTL: Berry was a consistent member in the lineup as he played in 52 games last season. The rising junior finished 13th in the ASUN with a .310 batting average, while ranking ninth in the league in on-base percentage at .425 in 2017. Defensively, Berry posted a .963 fielding percentage last season for the Ospreys.
- Wesley Weeks, Jr., OF: Weeks returns as the Osprey with the most at-bats from last season with 176. He was one of three Ospreys with double-digit steals and is the only returner of that group in 2018. He posted 10 doubles and two homers, while also working 20 walks on his way to a .368 on-base percentage. He will look to contribute even more as several of the team's top hitters from last year have moved on.
Top Returning Pitchers
- Austin Drury, Jr., LHP: Drury is coming off another impressive season for the Ospreys. He made 12 starts and finished in a tie for second on the team with a 6-2 record. Drury finished the year with 74.1 innings and posted a 3.03 ERA. In conference action, Drury lowered his ERA to 2.95 while pitching 42.2 innings.
- Frank German, Jr., RHP: A 2017 ASUN First Team selection, German returns to anchor the Ospreys rotation in 2018. The righty had a breakout season with an 8-1 overall record, including going 4-1 in ASUN play. He pitched 81.1 total innings and posted a 2.43 ERA, the third-lowest in the conference last season. He was a workhorse for the Ospreys pitching 7.0 innings on four occasions.
- Brad Depperman, Sr., RHP: Depperman enters the year looking to put his stamp on the Ospreys rotation after finishing with a 4-3 record in 2017. He made 12 appearances last season, with eight of those being starts. He ranked third on the team with 53.1 innings pitched and struck out 42 batters to only eight walks allowed. His best start game in ASUN play when he pitched 7.1 innings against Kennesaw State.
- Alex Reynolds, Jr., IF/OF: Reynolds joins the Ospreys from Pasco Hernando Community College where he was an outstanding offensive player. He hit .377 and finished the 2017 season scoring 39 runs. The junior drove in 43 runs and also had a knack for the extra-base hits with 12 doubles. An All-Conference selection in both of his seasons at Pasco Hernando CC, Reynolds will look to make an impact this season for North Florida.