Like 2012, this year’s Saint Mary squad will be defined by its pitching and defense.

Team: University of Saint Mary baseball

Last year’s record: 25-28 overall, 17-11 conference

Coach: Rob Miller, 11th year

Key returnees:
Doug Caldwell, right-handed pitcher; 3.63 ERA, 8-2 and second-team KCAC in 2012
Travis Quick, catcher; .252, 26 RBIs, two home runs and KCAC gold glove recipient last season
Kevin Joyce, second baseman; .305, 52 hits and 22 RBIs last year
Joe Haak, first baseman; .365, 62 hits, 35 RBIs, 20  doubles and second-team KCAC in 2012

Newcomers to watch:
Nolan Almodovar, outfield transfer
Andrew Clark, outfield transfer
Taylor Mowatt, infielder transfer
Grant Arnold, freshman infielder
Ricky Diza, pitcher transfer

Team Outlook: STRENGTHS — Like 2012, this year’s Saint Mary squad will be defined by its pitching and defense.
Caldwell returns to lead a rotation that is nearly set along with a bullpen that is senior-laden.
Defensively, the team welcomes back two conference gold glove winners as well as most of its infield.

WEAKNESSES — Also like last season, the Spires will need to find ways to produce runs.
Gone is first-team shortstop Devin Hupp and in are several outfielder transfers that Miller hopes can kick start his lineup.
“We will hope to score more runs this year with the addition of some more speed and better on-base percent types in the lineup.”
As of Wednesday, the batting order was still in flux.

Big games: Season opener Friday at University of Science and Arts; Home opener Feb. 16 vs. Dakota State University; Conference opener vs. Sterling March 15; At Kansas University April 3

Coach says: “It’s going to come down to whether we can hit again. I know we have the pitchers and defense to compete, so we got to score some runs.”