BURNSVILLE, Minn. — The Augustana baseball team has been picked to win the NSIC regular season championship in 2020 in the NSIC Preseason Baseball Coaches Poll. The Vikings garnered 195 points and 13 first-place votes.
Augustana also claims both NSIC Preseason Players of the Year with senior Max Steffens being named Preseason Pitcher of the Year and junior Jordan Barth being named Preseason Player of the Year.
The 2019 Augustana baseball team followed up its 2018 National Championship season with a 43-16 campaign that featured an NSIC regular season championship in addition to an NSIC tournament championship. After winning the NSIC tournament, the Vikings went 3-0 in the NCAA Central Regional, before falling to Central Missouri in the Super Regional. It was the second season in a row that Augustana won the NSIC Tournament and the second season in which they went undefeated in the regional round.
The 2020 Augustana baseball team looks to maintain its success from the previous two seasons in the conference, region and on a national scale. The 2020 squad features 30 returners with 13 newcomers. Of the 13 newcomers, nine are freshmen and four are transfers.
After transferring to Augustana for his junior year, Steffens garnered almost every award that was available during the 2019 campaign. Steffens was named to the NCBWA All-American second-team, NCBWA Central Region first-team and NCBA/Rawlings All-Region first-team. He was also the NCBWA Central Region Pitcher of the Year, D2CCA Central Region Pitcher of the Year and NSIC Pitcher of the Year. In the NSIC, he was the Newcomer of the Year, First Team All-NSIC, a Gold Glove award winner and made the Spring NSIC All-Academic Team.
Steffens’ stats certainly back up the list of accolades. The junior appeared in 16 games making 15 starts going 9-1 with a 2.77 ERA in 97.1 innings pitched. He struck out 68 hitters and kept his opponents to a .235 batting average. Steffens broke the Augustana record for starts and innings pitched and led the NSIC in both of those categories. He also finished second in the NSIC in wins.
After a freshman season that featured a national championship and NSIC freshman of the year honors, Barth missed 19 games due to injury during his sophomore campaign in 2019. The injury didn’t affect the Viking slugger at all and just made his stats look that much more impressive. In just 40 games, Barth hit .422 with 39 runs scored, 65 hits, 14 doubles, nine homers and 45 RBI’s. He slugged .688, had an OBP of .468, had a fielding percentage of .971 and stole nine bases in ten attempts.
Barth earned NCBWA All-American third-team honors and was also named to the NCBA/Rawlings All-Region first-team, NCBWA Central Region first-team and D2CCA Central Region first-team. He was also named first-team All-NSIC.
2019 NSIC Preseason Baseball Coaches Poll
1. Augustana (13) 195
2. Minnesota State (2) 184
3. St. Cloud State 164
4. Wayne State 153
5. Minot State 152
6. Winona State 118
7. Northern State 112
8. Minnesota Crookston 101
9. Concordia-St. Paul 98
10. University of Mary 79
11. Minnesota Duluth 77
12. Southwest Minnesota State 48
13. Upper Iowa 45
14. Sioux Falls 31
15. Bemidji State 18
— GoAugie.com —