Baseball season opens Friday at Florida State; Listen Live Friday and Saturday on CSUSPORTS.COMFebruary 1, 2006
By CSU Sports Information
|Head baseball coach Jason Murray|
CHARLESTON, S.C. - With the departure of several key players to graduation and the draft, the 2006 Charleston Southern University baseball season will be an exciting year with many new faces on the field.
Charleston Southern will get things underway on Friday afternoon, taking on the nationally-ranked Florida State Seminoles in Tallahassee. First pitch of the season opener is scheduled for 4 p.m.
Buccanner baseball fans can catch all of the action for Friday's and Saturday's contest via the athletic website, csusports.com. Sports Information Director David Shelton will bring you every pitch on our first webcast of the season. Saturday's contest is at 2 p.m.
Following is a 2006 preview of the Buccaneers.
CSU’s baseball alumni list grew by 13 after last season, including the loss of several key performers. Two of the more prolific homerun hitters in school history, Jordan Haar and Brian Sole, ended their careers, as did pitchers Brad Bissell, Nino Fasulo and Bobby Parnell, who comprised a large core of the pitching staff for the last three years.
Second-year head coach Jason Murray has 25 new players in the program this season, and with those are mixed in a handful of returning veterans who will set the tone in the area of leadership this spring. Three of those returners are team captains Ryan Sowers, Josh Evans and Justin Fyle.
“With Ryan and Josh we have two quality seniors who will be the mainstays of our pitching staff, and Justin is an all-conference performer and an offensive team leader,” said Murray.
Murray feels with time on the field together, this year’s squad can be a competitive team in the very tough Big South Conference. After not making the Big South tournament a year ago, finishing 24-29 overall, the goal this season is obvious.
“Certainly earning the right to play in the conference tournament is a major goal, but nothing is easy in this conference,” said Murray. “Big South baseball is as competitive as any league in the country and the way our teams perform throughout the season are certainly indicative of that. Our young men are looking forward to the challenge.”
Evans, a lefty, and Sowers, a right-hander, will anchor the starting staff this spring. Evans returns as last year’s ace, posting a 8-4 record with a solid 3.60 earned run average.
“Josh has gone from a recruited walk-on to one of the best pitchers in our league, and certainly in this area,” said Murray.
Sowers was 7-2 a year ago, posting a 4.54 earned run average. Sowers worked mainly in relief last season but will be a weekend starter this spring.
Sophomore southpaw Payton Tweddale is the only other returning pitcher on the staff. Tweddale logged 35 innings as a freshman and will a key man out of the pen again this season.
New to the program are 11 pitchers, ranging from Junior College transfers to true freshmen.
Juniors Mike Mead and DJ Throneburg look to make the biggest early impact this season. Mead, a left-hander, was 3-3 with a save at Seminole Community College last year. Throneburg posted a two-year record of 8-3 at Parkland College. Throneburg will be used as a starter and reliever this season.
Junior Ryan Rowland, a transfer from Garden City Community College, was 5-4 with a 2.87 ERA last season. Chris Widing, a transfer from Young Harris College, was 3-0 for a team that went 51-11 last season.
Joey Timmerman comes to CSU from Spartanburg Methodist but played his high school baseball at nearby Stratford High School. Timmerman was 11-0 in two years at Spartanburg, tossing a no-hitter in his first-ever start.
Junior Mark Terifaj, along with freshmen Jordan Gibson, TJ Green, Michael Myers, Brandon Roberts and Andrew White round out the pitching staff, giving Murray a host of quality young arms to use through the course of a long season.
UP THE MIDDLE
Fall practice gave Murray an opportunity to look at several middle infield combinations and the competition for playing time developed more depth than the Bucs have had in many years.
Junior Adam Brown has seen spot starting time throughout his first two seasons at CSU, hitting .279 last season. Brown can play either short or second and brings solid leadership to a young group of players. Junior Sean Doherty, a left-handed hitter, will compete for time at third and short.
Junior college transfer Ryan Smart, redshirt freshman Adam Young, and true freshman Mark Perry are competing with Smart at second base.
Junior transfer Wes Brundridge and true freshman Helio Burgos as competing with Brown and Doherty at shortstop.
“We have quality depth, really hard-nosed players who are not afraid to compete, at the middle infield positions,” said Murray. “We feel comfortable with any of them on the field as defensive players.”
Competition has been good on the corner positions of the infield as well during pre-season camp. Junior Lionel Greene, who played in 19 games last season, is competing with the likes of Doherty and Brundrige at third base. Freshman Brandon Roberts also has pushed strongly for playing time.
Working at first base are junior transfer Anthony Hayes, along with returners Keith Stewart and David Perkins. Stewart worked behind the plate last season, hitting .266 with 35 RBI, while Perkins is a third-year performer who can play first, serve at DH, and could possibly log innings on the mound this season.
All – Conference performer Justin Fyle returns for his junior season. Used primarily as a designated hitter last season, Fyle was second on the team in hitting at .323. Fyle will likely work in left or right field this spring.
Chris Krogmeier, a transfer from Marshalltown CC in Iowa, will take over the centerfield position. Returning sophomore Neil Krock will be seeing action in the outfield, along with redshirt sophomore Jason Rose, who took a medical redshirt last season.
Redshirt freshmen Hunter Ruoss and Michael Obuchowski have also competed well in the outfield, with the versatile Brundridge also a possibility.
John Mark Cleaveland, a junior college transfer from Navarro College in Texas, will take the starting spot behind the dish. Last year’s starter, Keith Stewart, could see spot time as he also plays first base. Three promising freshmen - JT Armstrong, Esteban Rodriguez and Michael Beattie – will also push for playing time after solid performances in the fall.
Once again, the Buccaneers face a demanding schedule, but a schedule that Murray feels will prepare his team for bigger and better things in the future. Making visits to Buccaneer Field will be Missouri and Nebraska, both ranked in several preseason top 20 polls. Boston College of the Atlantic Coast Conference and St. John’s of the Big East also travel to Charleston this spring. In all, the Buccaneers have 35 home games on the schedule, the second most in school history.
CSU maintains their long-standing rivalries with area schools College of Charleston and The Citadel, and open the 2006 season with a three-game series at Florida State. The Bucs also face another nationally-ranked squad in South Carolina.