UW-Oshkosh is predicted to finish third in the 2018 WIAC baseball standings, according to a preseason poll conducted by the league's head coaches and sports information directors.
UW-Oshkosh, which is off to a 3-2 start against non-conference opponents this season, tied for second in the WIAC a year ago with an 11-9 record (22-20 overall). The Titans bring back seven position players from last year's squad that led the conference with 14 triples and ranked second in the league with a .286 batting average.
Defending WIAC champion UW-Whitewater topped the league's preseason poll. The Warhawks secured their 17th WIAC regular season title last year before clinching the fifth league postseason championship in school history.
UW-La Crosse was second in WIAC poll, followed by UW-Oshkosh in third, UW-Stevens Point in fourth, UW-Stout in fifth, UW-Platteville in sixth and Illinois Institute of Technology in seventh. Illinois Institute of Technology begins its first season as an affiliate member with the conference after previously being a NCAA Division III independent. The Scarlet Hawks are set to join the Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference for the 2018-19 season.
Last year UW-Whitewater cruised to the WIAC title with a 17-3 league record (36-9 overall). UW-La Crosse (31-19 overall record in 2017), UW-Oshkosh and UW-Stevens Point (22-19) tied for second with 11-9 marks while UW-Stout (10-27) placed fifth at 6-14 and UW-Platteville (19-21) was sixth at 4-16.
UW-Oshkosh fifth-year head coach Kevin Tomasiewicz, who owns an 87-79-1 record guiding the Titans, welcomed back 22 letter winners from last year's team.
Paulson, a senior shortstop, led UW-Oshkosh last season with a conference-best 33 walks, three triples and a .458 on-base percentage while batting .311.
Treml, a junior pitcher, compiled a 5-3 record a year ago with a team-leading 72 innings pitched, 53 strikeouts, four complete games and three shutouts.
The Titans also return previous All-WIAC selections in senior first baseman Andy Brahier, junior outfielder Alex Koch, senior pitcher Nick McLees, sophomore utility player Dylan Ott and senior pitcher Jesse Sustachek.
Brahier was an All-WIAC first team pick in 2015 and an honorable mention choice in both 2016 and 2017 while Sustachek collected honorable mention honors in 2015 and 2017. Koch and McLees received honorable mention laurels in 2017, and Ott made the league's honorable mention team in 2016.
UW-Whitewater welcomed back Blake Fleischman and Heath Renz, the reigning WIAC Position and Pitcher of the Year, respectively.
Fleischman is among the six Warhawk returning position players and posted a .309 batting average, .483 slugging percentage, .389 on-base percentage, 31 RBIs, six home runs and team-best 11 doubles in 2017. Renz compiled a 9-0 record, 1.96 earned run average and 55 strikeouts in 69.0 innings pitched a year ago.
UW-La Crosse made the program's sixth NCAA appearance – and fourth straight – a season ago. The Eagles return their top-three hitters from last year's squad, including Nate Heili, who topped the team with a .348 batting average, .442 on-base percentage, 57 hits and 21 stolen bases.
UW-Stevens Point has reached double-digits in WIAC wins 15 consecutive seasons and brings back 22 letter winners from last year's squad.
UW-Stout's six conference victories during the 2017 campaign were the most since the 2014 squad produced 10 wins.
UW-Platteville brings back 16 letter winners from last season's squad the produced at least 19 wins for the third straight year – the longest stretch in program history.
Illinois Institute of Technology begins its first season as an affiliate member of the WIAC. The Scarlet Hawks return 20 letter winners from last year's team that compiled an 11-28 record.
UW-Oshkosh owns a WIAC-leading 29 regular season titles. The Titans earned a share of their most recent league championship in 2009.
UW-Oshkosh opens its WIAC schedule with a doubleheader against UW-Stevens Point on April 3 at Tiedemann Field. The Titans will play 10 more non-conference games before their doubleheader with the Pointers, including Friday's (March 16) contest in Auburndale, Fla., against Ripon College.