CHARLESTON, S.C. - Charleston Southern continued preparations for the 2016 season with a second weekend of scrimmages, wrapping up the action with a short 6-inning scrimmage on Monday afternoon.
The Bucs spent most of the weekend dodging rain, but were able to put together a couple of productive days, including two long scrimmages early in the weekend. CSU head coach Stuart Lake sees team continuing to take shape.
"I'm proud of how we handled the weather and conditions," Lake said following Monday's 'beat the rain' scrimmage. "We put in two good 12-plus inning scrimmages on Friday and Saturday that really showed me some things about our team. We're an enthusiastic and energetic group."
Weekend Practice/Scrimmage Schedule
Thursday - 4:30 p.m.
Friday – 4 p.m.
Saturday - 1:30 p.m.
Sunday – 1 p.m.
Lake is expecting team speed and defense to be two of his team's strengths when the season opens next Friday against West Virginia. Defense controlled the weekend's scrimmages with a slew of double plays from a veteran defense. Bryan Dye (1B), Kevin Hickey (2B), Ryan Maksim (2B), and Cole Murphy (SS) give the Bucs four seniors on the infield along with junior Nate Blanchard (3B).
"We're really experienced on the infield and it shows," Lake added. "We turned, it seemed like, 8-10 double plays this weekend. Our pitching, in some situational spots, and defense were, I felt, both really good."
While its experience in the infield, it will be youth and speed in the outfield for the Bucs. Lake sees a deep, fast group fighting for innings and at-bats. Seniors Sly Edwards, and Brandon Burris along with sophomore Chris Singleton all started a significant numbers of games last season, while jack Crittenberger was a key bat off the bench.
Freshmen Cole German and Jacob Childress are both making their case for a starting spot and will bring an exciting amount of versatility and depth to the CSU bench. Crittenberger and German combined for seven hits in Saturday's scrimmage.
"It's hard not be excited about our outfield," Lake said. "We're going to have some options. You might see three different outfields the opening weekend, but it's a really athletic and talented group. I think they'll be a lot of fun to watch as they keep improving."
The Bucs will try to scrimmage a couple of times this weekend to continue preparations for opening weekend.
"We've got it a lot better than most of the country," Lake said of the weather. "A few of the teams we face aren't outside much until they travel for their opening weekend. We always deal with cold and wet this time of season. It's the nature of our schedule and starting the season so early. You just have to play through it and ty to grind out wins early in the season."