UW-Oshkosh placed third in the annual WIAC baseball preseason poll conducted by the league's head coaches and sports information directors.
UW-Whitewater, which claimed its third straight WIAC championship last year, finished first in the league's 2020 preseason poll. The Warhawks were followed in the poll by UW-La Crosse in second, UW-Oshkosh third, UW-Platteville fourth, UW-Stout fifth, UW-Stevens Point sixth and Finlandia University (Mich.) seventh.
Last season UW-Whitewater (35-12 overall record in 2019) won the WIAC crown with a 21-3 mark. UW-La Crosse (28-15) was second with a 19-5 record and UW-Platteville (20-21) third at 14-10. Rounding out the 2019 WIAC standings were UW-Stout (20-17) in fourth at 12-12, UW-Oshkosh (18-21) fifth at 11-13, UW-Stevens Point (14-24) sixth at 6-18 and Finlandia University (4-32) seventh at 1-23 during its first year as an affiliate member of the league.
UW-Oshkosh, which owns a record 29 WIAC titles, brings back 11 letterwinners from last year's team that finished second in the conference with 58 stolen bases and third with 22 home runs.
Seventh-year UW-Oshkosh head coach Kevin Tomasiewicz welcomes back three players from last season's starting lineup and a pair of starting pitchers. Tomasiewicz, who led the Titans to an NCAA Division III Championship regional final in 2018, has compiled a 136-108-1 record in his first six seasons at UW-Oshkosh.
Junior infielder Hunter Staniske headlines the returning Titans after garnering All-WIAC Honorable Mention accolades during a 2019 campaign in which he hit .333 with a team-leading 50 hits and 29 runs batted in.
Junior outfielders Sean Cummins and Matt McNabb are back after starting 26 and 22 games, respectively, a year ago. Cummins paced UW-Oshkosh with five home runs and scored 20 runs last season while McNabb hit .260.
UW-Oshkosh also returns letterwinners in junior third baseman Griffith Lukes, junior outfielder Eric Modaff and sophomore outfielder Tyler Batchelor.
Junior Will Michalski, who started six times in his 11 appearances last season, is UW-Oshkosh's top returning pitcher. The Titan pitching staff brings back four other previous letterwinners in seniors Jake Homan and Matt Wiechmann, and juniors Alex Larson and Tyler Niedzwiecki.
UW-Whitewater returns six starting position players and four starting pitchers from last year's team that appeared in a Division III regional. Last season the Warhawks finished second in the country with nine shutouts, third nationally with a .346 batting average, and seventh with both a 3.06 earned run average and 48 home runs.
UW-La Crosse, which led Division III with a .978 fielding percentage in 2019, must replace five players from last year's starting lineup but welcomes back senior Zach Pronschinske, the reigning WIAC Pitcher of the Year, who went 5-2 last season with a conference-best 1.99 earned run average.
UW-Platteville brings back six starting position players, including four who have received all-conference recognition. However, the Pioneers, who appeared in the conference postseason tournament for the first time since 2010 last year, do not return any pitchers with starting experience.
UW-Stout welcomes back seven players from last season's starting lineup and four starting pitchers as the Blue Devils seek to finish among the top four in the conference in consecutive seasons for the first time since the WIAC moved away from a two-division structure in 1998.
UW-Stevens Point, which placed in the top three in the conference each year from 2007-18, will attempt to rebound with a roster that includes five returning players in the starting lineup and three starting pitchers.
Finlandia University, the only team to not have an all-conference player last season, returns 14 letterwinners, including four to its starting lineup and four starting pitchers. The Lions were outscored, 291-51, during their 24 league games a year ago.
UW-Oshkosh commences the 2020 season Feb. 29 against North Park University (Ill.) and Concordia University Chicago (Ill.) in Sauget, Ill. The Titans begin conference play with doubleheaders at UW-Stout on March 28-29.