Trojan baseball prepares for upcoming season
There may be a chill in the air, but it’s feeling like spring as the Troy Trojans start practice on Friday afternoon at Riddle-Pace Field.
The Trojans open up the 2019 season on Friday February 14 at home against Northern Kentucky at Riddle-Pace Field. It will be the first of a four-game series with the Norse.
On Friday, the Trojans begin a journey that they hope will end with postseason success in 2020.
“That time of year,” head coach Mark Smartt said. “It’s certainly exciting. Really excited about getting started. I believe we are in the position with this ball club to really challenge and do some great things during this 2020 season. There are reasons to be optimistic.”
The Trojans have reason to be optimistic becaue Smartt believes the teams athleticism is reminiscent of the 2018 Trojan team that finished third in the Athens regional.
Last year’s Troy team finished 31-29. The Trojans return plenty of experience both in the lineup and in the pitching rotation. In all, the Trojans welcome back 21 players including seven starters. Reed Smith, Drew Frederic, Rigsby Mosley, Logan Cerny and Dalton Sinquefield return to the lineup, while Cory Gill and Levi Thomas return to the pitching staff.
“We have several players back,” Smartt said. “We have great experience in particular, Drew Frederic is a four-year starter at shortstop and Rigsby Mosley is a three-year starter in left field. Both those guys have had great careers up this point. I’m excited about the leadership they have shown up to this stage.”
Junior Levi Thomas, who began last season as the Friday night starter before transitioning to Saturday, will lead the Trojans’ pitching staff as the Friday night starter. He finished last season with an 8-2 record. Thomas was replaced on Friday night last seaoson by Gill. Gill this season, will get a late start to his season after sustaining an injury late last year.
“Levi Thomas is back and he will open up in our Friday night role,” Smartt said. “He is a guy who we can trust in an important role.”
Along with their seven starters returning, the Trojans have plenty of players coming back that saw meaningful playing time last year.
“The best thing for me is that we have five guys that played a lot and several guys behind them that played some,” Smartt said. “This is one of the more experienced offensive teams that we have returned. We got beat up on the mound a little bit, but there is a lot of experience returning and as a coach I know what to expect from some guys.”
The Trojans schedule will feature plenty of excitement and challenges in 2020. Along with their 30 Sun Belt Conference games, the Trojans will travel to Gainesville to take on Florida. They will also host Arkansas in a two-game mid-week series.
“We have one of the more challenging schedules than we have had in some years in the past,” Smartt said. “We play several games against quality teams. Arkansas, who has been in the College World Series the last two years is coming back for the first time in quite a while.”
The Trojans will begin conference play on March 13 in Statesboro against Georgia Southern.
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