The baseball team kicks off its season Friday with a three-game series against Quinnipiac University and is hoping to get off to just as hot a start as they had last year.
After being picked to finish tied for 12th in the conference, the Wildcats hope to set the stage against the Bobcats with a decisive series win. Last year, ACU started off hot winning seven games in a row after losing four to Michigan State. Unfortunately, that run accounted for more than half of the team’s wins last year as they went 13-43.
Head Coach Britt Bonneau said that one of the sore spots last year was defense, something he looked to address this season.
“Being able to play behind those pitchers is going to be key to our success this year,” Bonneau said. “We have six new defensive players, and we feel like those guys are guys that can play at this level, and they’ve shown that over the last six months.”
ACU will return 2017 Southland third-teamer and 2018 pre-season second-teamer senior catcher Luis Trevino. The pitching staff had a complete overhaul, however, returning only four full-time pitchers and junior outfielder/pitcher Derek Scott. New Pitching Coach Cory Vanderhook looks to take a team that had an above seven ERA last year and turn it around. Coach Bonneau said the team has been working on getting better all off-season.
“What you do with the preseason is you go out there, and you get a lot of guys some playing time,” Bonneau said. “You see who can play at the level that you want, and you look at who can do the little things.”
Quinnipiac is picked to finish eighth in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference this season out of 11 teams. The Bobcats return its star outfielder junior Brian Moskey and junior first baseman Liam Scafariello, but lose its biggest offensive contributor in Matthew Batten, who is now in the San Diego Padres farm system. The team also returns a stud closer in Mike Davis, who had 9 saves in 20 appearances last year with an astounding ERA of 0.96.
The season begins in Abilene at Crutcher Scott field Friday at 4 p.m., with the next two games landing on Saturday at 2 p.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m.