CHARLESTON, S.C. - Charleston Southern is inside a week until hosting the Big 12's West Virginia in their 2016 baseball season opener and the eagerness to play is starting to show.
The Bucs and Head Coach Stuart Lake scrimmaged for the third consecutive day on a breezy Saturday afternoon at CSU Ballpark for just over two hours. Sunday the Bucs will hold a short scrimmage to stay fresh and set up their game-week schedule as the season opens. Lake can see the eagerness of his team to play someone in a different uniform start to seep through.
"We've got one more day of scrimmaging, but we're ready to play somebody else," Lake said. "I told our guys they have to battle through tomorrow and focus on finishing strong. They're ready to see somebody else in that other dugout and compete."
With 12 seniors and a team that has faced tragedy and adversity off the field, Lake sees a different level of maturity and toughness that could pay off with over 40 games in around 60 days before the Bucs break for exams in late April.
"I've told our guys all along that I feel our mental toughness might be our biggest asset," Lake added. "We've got a very mature, tough team that has been through a lot. I think you'll see it pay off early against a very tough schedule and as the year moves deep into Big South play."
The forecast calls for a slight chance of rain in the Charleston area on Monday before the forecast moves into a stretch of highs in the 60s – and even the 70s – next weekend, a welcome stretch of warmer weather after cooler temperatures the last few days.
"We're hoping the weather does what it says it could," Lake added. "It would be like spring training after being out here in some cold, windy conditions the last week or so."
Friday's first pitch is at 4 p.m. with early afternoon starts set for Saturday and Sunday with the Mountaineers. Lake says getting on schedule starts early in the week, especially for the younger guys.
"We've already started talking about it. You have to get your new gusy who haven't been through it before doing the right things so they're physically and mentally prepared for these weekends. Thursday is always so exciting because you know what's going to happen on Friday. West Virginia will be here a day early practicing and we'll be ready to go."