Just a few days ago roads were iced over in the San Antonio area as February has brought some serious cold weather before transitioning to the spring. Nothing says spring like baseball and UTSA starts the season with four straight games at home.
Last season's 35 win and NCAA Regional Qualifying team begins the 2014 season with a 3-game series against St. Peter's at Roadrunner Field on Friday. UTSA will then play a fourth straight home game against Houston Baptist on Tuesday.
The 'Runners will trot out staff "Ace" Brock Hartson (So.), Nolan Trabanino (So.), and Justin Anderson (Jr.) for the weekend series.
Last season the 'Runners did a good job of defending their home field, going 21-9 in the friendly confines of the "Bird Bath." They'll look to continue that impressive home field play in starting off the 2014 season off on the right foot.
Head Coach Jason Marshall returns all but two everyday position players, his starting ace, and his shutdown closer. Replacing Riley Good and Daniel Rockett, who are now playing for big league organizations, will be no small task. But Marshall likes that the majority of the team is returning.
During UTSA's recent baseball banquet, Coach Marshall let our staff know that all-everything sophomore Jesse Baker would be making the move to CF. Tony Ramirez (aka T-Ram), would get first shot in LF, meaning freshman Mitch Matulia will be seeing DH action and freshman C.J. Pickering, getting the nod at 2B.
For his arms, Coach Marshall and his staff really like the additions of Boone Mokry, aka "The Model" and Jeremy Filipek. Either one could see weekday starting action or be a go to guy in the bullpen. That's not including the returning arms of Mike Kraft, Wes Cox, Logan Onda and Matt Sims. From top to bottom, UTSA has talent and could be one of the surprising teams in C-USA.
After being picked to finish in last place in the WAC last season, a jump up in competition has convinced some pundits that the 'Runners won't be near the top again when the dust settles in May. UTSA has been pegged to finish 7th in Conference USA.
The 'Runners will be the first to tell you, they don't mind being under the radar at all. It makes the surprises all the better.
Here's what we expect Coach Marshall's lineup to look like come Friday evening:
1B Mike Warren (Sr.)
2B C.J. Pickering (Fr.)
3B RJ Perucki (Sr.)
SS Horacio "Ho" Correa III (Jr.)
LF Tony Ramirez (Sr.)
CF Jesse Baker (So.)
RF John Welborn (Sr.)
DH Mitch Matulia (Fr.)
SP Brock Hartson (So.)
IRS will have our staff on hand and first pitch is set for 6 p.m. Friday evening.