Jan 25, 2013 7:54 PM by Andrew Masuda
The boys are back at Baggett. With lofty goals, the Cal Poly baseball team started preparations for the upcoming season with its first official practice on Friday.
Eleventh year head coach Larry Lee welcomes back an experienced ball club."The good thing is we return a lot of position players back from last year and we actually return a lot of our pitching staff. So as long as they get better, which they have over the course of the fall and January. But we just want to see if they've made that final jump to be competitive at a very high level," said Lee, who owns a career winning percentage at Cal Poly of .550 with a 309-253-2 overall mark.
Eleven pitchers and seven starting position players are back, including All-Conference First Team picks third baseman Jimmy Allen, first baseman Tim Wise, and catcher Chris Hoo. Cal Poly went 36-20 a year ago and finished second in the Big West Conference, but still missed the postseason. This year's club is determined to change that.
"It didn't happen there with the postseason. But I think we're even better this year. Our team has great team chemistry. We get along great with each other. We all have that fire and desire to get to the postseason and just win the Big West," said Allen, who started all 56 games last year at third base and led the team with a .346 batting average and 44 RBI.
Wise his .308 with 3 home runs and 28 RBI last season, while Hoo threw out 27 baserunners and hit .259 behind the plate.
Last year's ace Joey Wagman is back to start Friday games. He went 9-3 with a 2.33 ERA in 15 games last season. Sophomore lefty Matt Imhof will go Saturdays. He was 1-0 with a 3.04 ERA in 47 innings last spring. Senior Kyle Brueggemann and sophomore Bryan Granger are expected to round out the starting rotation. Reed Reilly returns to anchor the bullpen with Chase Johnson. Last year, Reilly was 5-2 with a 2.80 ERA on his way to Freshman All-American honors.
The Mustangs open the season February 15 at the University of San Francisco. Their home opener is February 22 when they open a weekend series with Seattle.
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