Baseball team kicks off season with exhibition weekend against FAMU

The Marshall University baseball team kicks off its 2016 season Friday as it heads to Tallahassee, Florida for its first weekend of preseason games.

Marshall faces Florida A&M University for a three-game series beginning Friday and ending Sunday.

The team ended its 2015 season with an overall record of 20-32, including 12-18 against Conference USA opponents. Despite its record, the team finished the 2015 season winning two of its final three games and falling shy of reaching the C-USA tournament.

Senior pitcher Sam Hunter said his team, which has added 14 new members during the offseason, is excited to start the season in warmer weather. 

“I feel like the coaching staff did a great job of recruiting a good core group of guys,” Hunter said. “Some new junior college transfers and freshmen came in that are really going to help us out this year.”

Hunter said he thinks the returning players are the backbone of the team.

“As far as the guys that have been here, I feel like we’ve had great leadership from those guys. And collectively, as a group, I feel like we’ve bought into the system.”

Senior outfielder Cory Bird said he feels more confident about his team this year compared to last. Bird said while the team had a great group of guys last year, this year’s team has a closer bond.

“It’s crazy how fast this year came upon us,” Bird said. “And we’re really excited.”

However, Bird said due to the number of new players, the biggest thing he thinks the team will struggle with its first weekend of action is rhythm.

“We’ve been seeing live pitching a lot, but its just going to be the whole rhythm thing,” Bird said. “Play at a different field and seeing different arms is going to be the biggest adjustment in these first three games, but we’ll get it done.”

The Herd played three games earlier this fall and won two of the three.

Hunter said those early games definitely helped with getting some new players adjusted before starting the season.

“Playing three games this past fall, I feel has really helped us out to get some of those first-game jitters out of the way,” Hunter said. “So, hopefully, we can go down there, play well and come back with three wins.”

The team will load up the bus Thursday to head down to Florida for its first three-game series against Florida A&M for the start of its 2016 season.

Friday’s game begins 4 p.m. at the Moore-Kittles Baseball Complex. Saturday’s game begins 1 p.m. and Sunday’s begin 11 a.m.

Brittanie Fowler can be contacted at [email protected].