2023 Titan’s baseball opens play at Grenville College

By Farah Bassyouni Feb24,2023

The sun is out, the birds are chirping and spring is right around the corner. Baseball season is finally here as the Illinois Wesleyan University baseball team kickoff their 2023 campaign at Greenville University on Thursday, Feb. 23. 

After an injury-plagued year last season, the Titans look to bounce back and build off of the 16-21 overall record they accumulated, resulting in a seventh-place finish in the CCIW. 

Senior infielder Ethan Burgh looks to be a cornerstone piece in bringing back glory to this Titan squad. A lucky headband, country music and a mixed bag of dill pickle and ranch sunflower seeds will propel Burgh as he prepares for his final year.

“The goal every year is to win the CCIW. We have an underdog mentality going into this year, that’s the feeling,” Burgh said. “There’s a new type of youthful energy in this squad, it’s like lightning in a bottle and I love every bit of it.”

Hitting .298 with 32 RBI’s and a .511 slugging percentage last year Burgh shot onto the scene as the ultimate utility player. 

Burgh has locked down the middle infield starting at shortstop for the Titans since his sophomore year before injuries sidelined his time on the field. 

After a stellar performance over the summer topping speeds of high 80s on the radar, Burgh will transition into the starting closer role while also moving over to third base. 

 Head coach Dennis Martel didn’t hear his star player pitched until recently.

“His mom was the one that actually came up to me and told me Burgh had pitched well over the summer. I went to the dugout the next day and asked him about it and he gave me a casual smile and said he had done alright.” Coach Martel said. 

 “I threw him out there a couple of times and he has an electric slider that pairs well with his fastball. Just like that, he got the starting job.”

Transition on the field isn’t the only thing Burgh will have to adapt to as there are only 5 returning seniors on the squad. 

“Ethan is going to have to be great, the team is young and our pitching is better with a lot more depth but we may have to rely a little more on Burgh this year. He’s going to have to be a leader this year. Unlike other sports, in baseball you earn respect from being the best, he has earned that respect from the young guys early on,” Coach Martel said. 

Garnering respect from the conference is on the mind of Burgh, looking to play at an all-region type of level and not close the doors of baseball in the future. 

“I’m going to put it all on the line knowing that it’s my last year here. I don’t like thinking about it too much or getting in my head but I’m not gonna close the door fully on baseball in my future. I’d love to keep playing if the right opportunity comes,” Burgh said. 

Burgh and the Titans will play 12 games including a spring break trip to Tennessee before a home opener at Horenberger Field on Saturday, March 25 where they will face off against Wabash College. 

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