16. ANGELO STATE RAMS (40-17)
Final 2012 Ranking: 22
Angelo State won the Lone Star Conference regular season and conference championships en route to the program’s third trip to the NCAA postseason. The Rams had been rolling, winning 12 of their last 14 and outscored opposition 122-31 in those games, but went 0-2 in the South Central tournament with loses to St. Edward’s and Southern Arkansas. Head Coach Kevin Brooks has never had a losing season at ASU, and that certainly won’t occur in 2013. The Rams return the core of a solid offensive nucleus along with several strong arms that could have Angelo State headed to their second DII CWS appearance since the program was started in 2005.
A trio of returning batters will once again give opposing pitchers fits in San Angelo. Lee Neumann earned a host of awards following his debut year in which he hit .389 with 35 extra base hits and 16 stolen bases. He was honored as the LSC’s Co-MVP and was a named a First Team All American by the NCBWA. Ryan Greer was nearly as formidable and just as dangerous. Greer hit .362, led the team with 56 RBI and was successful in 29 of 34 stolen base attempts. Quaid McKinnon had a .354 batting average, was the LSC Tournament MVP and led the team with a .462 on base percentage thanks to his patience and discipline at the plate where he walked 40 times while only striking out 26 in 192 at bats. Two additional big bats for Coach Brooks come via the University of Texas and Wichita State. Christian Summers transferred to his hometown after failing to find his stride as a Longhorn and Tyler Coughenour has come to ASU after playing in 73 games as a Shocker and had been the Kansas Player of the Year following his senior high school season.
The returning pitching corps for Angelo State aren’t quite as prolific as the offense, but there are still good arms to keep the Rams competitive. Jake Feckley, who can also be dangerous with a bat, had a 4.14 ERA, 5-3 record and an impressive 48:14 strikeout to walk ratio. Micheal Weatherly impressed as the Rams’ closer last season, earning nine saves with a 3.09 ERA and compiled 44 K’s in 35 innings. Austin Church held opposing batters to the lowest average at .213 and appeared in 26 games in which he had a 2.90 ERA and 3-2 record. If some additional arms develop to take some of the pressure off the Rams offense, ASU could be a very dangerous team this season.