The baseball team is looking to improve its record despite being last in the preseason poll.
At the end of last year, the Wildcats found themselves in last place, but with new coaches, the Wildcats are looking to take the first step to an improved program this season.
Rick McCarty, former pitching coach from Dallas Baptist University, became the new head coach of the team last summer. He worked with some of the new staff at DBU and Campbell University, including Craig Parry, assistant and hitting coach, and Daniel Furuto, volunteer assistant coach, respectively.
Their first series is against Bryant University who is favored to win the Northeast Conference.
The Wildcats have 34 home games this year.
McCarty said he hopes they can get off to a fast start at the beginning of the season to raise some interest in Abilene baseball. He said he wants the players to go out and play with grit and passion and a competitive edge.
“Baseball can sometimes be that slow-pace, we want to play fast and we want our guys to be excited,” McCarty said.
The team has 20 seniors, who McCarty said he will look to this season to show leadership within the team.
“They deserve to go out on a good note, all those seniors do, so we are fired up for them personally as a coaching staff,” McCarty said.
Most of the players come from junior colleges, including a few from Navarro College.
Spencer Chirpich, right-handed pitcher from North Iowa Area College, will take the mound to start the season opener Friday afternoon at 3 p.m., Derek Scott, left-handed pitcher and outfielder from Abilene, will pitch Saturday afternoon at 2 p.m. Scott will also be leading off in the line-up to start off the season.
McCarty has not announced Sunday’s starter so he can see what happens in the first two games.
The pitching staff is “right-hand” dominant and four position players will also be taking on the pitching role. One of those position players includes Derek Scott.
“He’s looking forward to doing both,” McCarty said. “He’s just a ball player and competitor. He’s looking forward to the opportunity come Saturday”
At the beginning of the year, McCarty said he will be careful with pitchers to make sure they do not wear down their arm.
“You won’t see us running guys anywhere near 100 pitches early,” McCarty said.