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The Echo
Taylor University, Upland, IN
Tuesday, April 16, 2024
The Echo
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Taylor baseball gears up for the 2024 season

Trojans face early tests on their road to redemption

Coming off their second appearance ever in the NAIA World Series in program history, the Taylor baseball team opened the 2024 season as the No. 9 team in the nation. 

Last season, the Trojans went an impressive 42-17 (30-6) and had a stellar showing in the NAIA World Series where they beat MidAmerica Nazarene University 6-5 and steamrolled Georgia Gwinnett University 23-7. Sadly, that was where the road ended for Taylor as they lost their next two games in the double-elimination tournament to Westmont University and Lewis-Clark State 15-9 and 7-3, respectively. 

Last season’s Taylor team was full of contributors such as junior outfielder Kaleb Kolpien, senior pitcher Alec Holcomb and senior infielder Cam Knepp. 

Kolpien had a scorching hot bat last season for the Trojans with a batting average (AVG) in the stratosphere at .424 and an even better on-base percentage (OBP) at .493. He also came up in many late-game moments when the Trojans needed to bring in a run finishing the season with 53 runs batted in (RBI).

Holcomb was the king of consistency on the mound in the 2023 season. He finished the year with a respectable 4.90 earned run average (ERA) and 67 strikeouts in just 68.0 innings of work. Holcomb looks to improve upon those numbers in his senior year.

Another player that had a big bat for the Trojans was Knepp. He finished the season with a .326 AVG and led the team with a .521 OBP and 65 walks.

One newcomer to the team is off to a hot start of his own. Freshman infielder Rylee Singleton is already making an impact for the Trojans in his first year of college ball. Singleton sports an AVG of .240 and already has four RBI after only seven games to start the season.

“The transition (to college baseball from high school baseball) has ultimately been smooth,” Singleton said. “The upperclassmen are great and made the transition smoother by showing us freshmen how practices go and helping us out with our classes.” 

If Taylor wants to return to the NAIA World Series, they will have to contend with a difficult schedule. They start their season with 10 straight road games, five of which take place against ranked opponents. 

At the time of this writing, TU has opened the year with a 2-5 record. Their season started with a four-game series against Ottawa (AZ), where they came away with one win before defeating Baker University (KS) 4-2. Taylor’s other two losses came against eighth-ranked University of the Cumberlands (KY) and No. 23 Reinhardt.

Taylor’s biggest test of the season will come in the form of a three-game series against the top-ranked team in the nation, Southeastern University. The Trojans will look to play spoiler to Southeastern’s perfect 9-0 start to the season.

Following their series with Southeastern University, Taylor has their first home game versus Indiana University South Bend on Wednesday, Feb. 21 at 2 p.m. and then they will follow that up with a three-game home series against Madonna University starting on Friday, Feb. 23 at 2 p.m.