Baseball Season begins February 13 at South CarolinaFebruary 6, 2004
By CSU Sports Information
|Junior centerfielder Jordan Haar leads the CSU offense|
CHARLESTON, SC - Charleston Southern's 2004 baseball season gets underway in one week as the Buccaneers open at the University of South Carolina on February 13 in Columbia.
CSU head coach Gary Murphy returns his entire pitching staff from last season and is replacing only two defensive starters. Headlining the 2004 squad are junior left-hander R.J. Swindle, junior outfielder Jordan Haar, and senior catcher Scott Thacker.
Swindle was the 2003 Big South Player of the Year after posting a 10-5 record with a 2.29 earned run average. Swindle led the Big South Conference in strikeouts, setting a school single season record with 140.
Haar enters 2004 with 23 career homeruns, six shy of the CSU career record. Haar tied the school's single season homerun record with 12 last season. Haar led the Bucs in hitting with a .318 average and a team-high 69 hits.
Thacker returns for his third season behind the dish as CSU's number one catcher, bringing with him a career batting average over .290, including a .302 average last season.
Junior Jeff Kolhagen returns as the team's designated hitter after hitting a solid .293 with 10 doubles in 2003. Junior Brad Woods returns as the starter at second base. Woods batted .282 a season ago, belting a career-high six homeruns.
Junior Billy Dalton, a solid glove man and a .259 hitter last season, returns at shortstop, while juniors Andrew Grosse and Michael Blankenship each started at least 32 games a season ago and will see time at third and in the outfield, respectively.
Another returning outfielder is junior Brian Sole, who started 45 games in left last season, hitting six homeruns.
The strength of this year's team may be the pitching staff, only if the returners improve on last year's production. In addition to Swindle, starters Ian Holmen (junior), Bobby Parnell (sophomore) and Brad Bissell (junior) return. Though the trio combined for only seven wins last season, all three possess pro potential.
Juniors Nino Fasulo and Jimmy Trenor return as middle relievers with experience, while junior Josh Davis, who sat out last season, looks to provide more depth in the bullpen.
After the season opening three-game series at South Carolina, the Bucs open their home schedule on February 20, hosting the University of Maryland.