Carrying 13 pitchers, the baseball team has many choices for the mound, but no definite decisions have been made, head coach Jim Schlossnagle said.
While those decisions will be based on performance in practice over the next two weeks, Schlossnagle said he expects four freshmen – Kyle Winkler, Kaleb Merck, Erik Miller and Walker Kelly to contribute significantly.
Freshman pitchers will contribute a great deal of playing time, Schlossnagle said.
Mental toughness is a strength for all the freshman pitchers, said junior catcher Bryan Holaday, who has worked with all of them.
“They all have a good head on their shoulders,” Holaday said. “They all seem comfortable when they’re out there pitching. They don’t seem nervous.”
Schlossnagle said he anticipates a freshman will get the chance to replace closer Andrew Cashner and at least one will join the starting rotation.
Along with the freshmen, sophomores Sean Hoelscher and Greg Holle and juniors Paul Gerrish and Tyler Lockwood, last year’s No. 1 starter, as well as senior Taylor Cragin are expected to compete for a starting spot.
Lockwood said his offseason workout routine of three days in the workout room and two days of ab work and stretching has prepared him for the season’s start. Last season, Lockwood finished with a 7-2 record and a 2.75 ERA in 104.2 innings pitched.
The staff understands it has to work together to get the best performances out of each pitcher, Holaday said.
“I think this year, they’re more team oriented,” he said. “The pitchers are going to back up each other, and they’re going to take pride in each other.”