UPLAND, Ind. – Taylor will be aiming for an eighth-straight season with at least 32 victories on the diamond, when it opens its 2016 schedule at the Perfect Game Complex in Emerson, Georgia on February 12 and 13.
The Trojans will boast a 36-man roster including 20 returners and 16 newcomers, including three transfers. The unit will be highlighted by returning 2015 All-Crossroads League standouts, Brian Moore, Lincoln Reed, Tanner Watson and Jake West.
With the high amount of returning players, TU brings back seven starters from the lineup that helped Taylor to a .298 team average and nearly two-thirds of its innings pitched and games started on the hill from a staff that posted a collective 3.42 earned-run average one year ago. Among that group are the owners of seven of the top-eight individual batting averages and seven of the top-nine individual ERA's from 2015.
Kyle Gould led Taylor to a 32-21 record in 2015 and returns for his 12th season in the dugout for the Trojans in search of a seventh league title and owning a career mark of 358-218. The four-time Crossroads League Coach of the Year has guided TU to eight-straight winning seasons, six league championships and four trips to the NAIA National Tournament. The past eight years have been especially fruitful for TU, with an average of 35 wins per year and a league record of 165-54 during that span.
TU's lineup will have a familiar look, with senior Lincoln Reed (C), junior Nick Saldutti (1B), senior Brian Moore (SS), senior Jake West (3B), senior Kevin Fahy (OF), sophomore Tanner Watson (OF) and sophomore Jared Adkins (OF) all expected to return to starting roles. That group accounted for over 70 percent of Taylor's runs batted in during 2015 and will be further bolstered by the return of sophomore Sam Wiese (OF), Ball State junior transfer Nick Hollowell (DH), and incoming freshmen Josh Lane (2B) and Nathan Targgart (UTI).
Junior Luke Hunter and sophomore Matt Patton will be expected to take over the front of the rotation for the departed Josh DeGraaf, who was drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays following the 2015 campaign. Senior Ryan Masters and sophomore Jamie Bristol will also see significant time in the rotation throughout the season, with junior southpaws Jordan Crabb and Logan Rodgers also vying for starts after anchoring the bullpen in 2015.
Taylor will begin its 2016 schedule with four games at the Perfect Game Complex in Emerson, Georgia and will open play at Winterholter Field against Cincinnati Christian on February 27. The Trojans will start Crossroads League play on March 17 and 19 against Marian and are set to play 24-of-57 games at Winterholter Field and 10 against teams receiving votes or ranked in the NAIA Preseason Top-25 Poll. TU will once again host half of the Crossroads League Tournament, with those games set for May 7 through May 11.