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Day 1 of Practice News and Notes

Friday was the first day of practice around the country for almost every Division 1 baseball program. Here are some of the most interesting links and videos from the day.

Alabama Crimson Tide open Practice

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – – The University of Alabama baseball team took the field for its first practice of the 2011 season on Friday afternoon, the first day allowed for official practice by NCAA rules.

“We had a good first day. The energy was really good, as expected on day one,” said head coach Mitch Gaspard. “I thought we were really good offensively. Today was to get us in a rhythm leading into the intrasquads on Saturday and Sunday. The last two weeks went well leading up to today, so the guys came in prepared. Overall, I was pleased with day one.”


Arkansas holds First Practice

FAYETTEVILLE- Just a week after snow covered the field at Baum Stadium, the Arkansas baseball team completed its first practice of the spring under sunny skies and temperatures in the mid 60s on Friday afternoon.

“I thought it went well today,” head coach Dave Van Horn said. “Obviously, the weather played a big part in us having the opportunity to be out here for three and a half hours and go out through a lot of situations, defensively and offensively. I think the kids handled it real well. We picked up where we left off in the fall. I’m looking forward to another good day tomorrow.”


Baylor opens Fall Practice

WACO, Texas – Baylor’s 16th-ranked baseball team held its first spring practice on a sunny, 75-degree afternoon Friday at Baylor Ballpark. It was quite a contrast to last season when the Bears escaped the freezing weather by holding their first spring practice inside the Jay and Jenny Allison Indoor Football Practice Facility.
“We always expect tough days and cold weather right now, but this is a blessing today,” said head coach Steve Smith during pre-practice interviews.

This season’s roster includes 13 newcomers looking to replace the 10 departed letterwinners from a 2010 team that went 36-24 and finished as the runner-up in the NCAA Fort Worth Regional. The Bears return eight starting position players and lose only four pitchers from the 2010 roster.


Cal-State Fullerton kicks off Practice

On Saturday, Jan. 29, The 2011 Titans will take on the Titans of old in the annual Alumni Game at Goodwin Field. Last year more than 60 former players came out for the event. First pitch for the Alumni Game will be thrown at 1 p.m. Admission and parking are free. Right-handers Tyler Pill and Jake Floethe will each get 5 innings of work on Saturday. Alumni batting practice will begin around 11:00 am.

Charlotte opens Practice

“We like having the bulls-eye,” said Charlotte head coach Loren Hibbs, entering his 19th season at the helm of the program. “We’ve become accustomed to it. It’s something we talk about with the players. It’s nice to be respected by the others in the league and around the country, but we have to prove it on the field and take care of business.”

Charlotte has captured 96 con­ference victories in the five years of league membership, 10 more than the next highest team to­tal in that span.


Clemson Baseball Report for Jan. 28th caught up with Head Coach Jack Leggett on Friday afternoon prior to the Tiger baseball team’s first practice of the 2011 season. Click on the video below to see Leggett’s comments.

Coastal Carolina holds First Practice

Friday’s first practice got cooperation from Mr. Nature as a near perfect day set the stage. In anticipation, several players took early batting practice and, when practice officially began, the focus turned to defense.

A round of batting practice gave way to the first intrasquad game of 2011. Redshirt freshman Stefan del Pino was sharp, allowing two hits and a run with three strikeouts in four innings. On the other side, Tyler Herb gave up back-to-back, leadoff hits to Scott Woodward and Hayes Orton. After a sacrifice fly by Tripp Martin, Tucker Frawley reached on a fielder’s choice and Jacob May followed with an RBI single to center, giving his team an early 3-0 lead.


East Carolina Starts Spring with Intrasquad Scrimmage

GREENVILLE, N.C. – Under the direction of sixth-year head coach Billy Godwin, the East Carolina baseball team held its first team practice of the 2011 season Friday afternoon at Lewis Field inside Clark-LeClair Stadium as preparations continued for the upcoming campaign.

Godwin and his coaching staff got a glimpse of their 2011 team after a two and a half hour intra-squad scrimmage. On the mound, senior’s Seth Maness and Zach Woods each toed the rubber throwing 50 pitches, freshmen Austin Chrismon and Tanner Merritt tossed roughly 40 pitches before sophomore Jake Harris and junior Lance Honeycutt closed out the session with 20 pitches.


Duke Opens Practice for 2011 Season

DURHAM, N.C. – The Duke baseball team opened its official practice period on Friday, Jan. 28, signaling the beginning of the 2011 college baseball season. Blue Devil head coach Sean McNally, in his sixth year as the manager of his alma mater, guided his squad through batting practice, base running and fielding drills.

Duke returns five position starters and seven pitchers, including ACC Freshman of the Year Marcus Stroman. Stroman, a shortstop and pitcher who enters his sophomore season as Duke’s top arm and a starting infielder, is part of a Duke team that has posted four consecutive winning seasons.


Georgia Tech starts Fall Practice

Illinois Kicks off Practice

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. – The Fighting Illini opened the 2011 season with the first day of practice on Friday. The team worked out in the Irwin Indoor Practice Facility, which is outfitted with batting cages that drop from the ceiling, portable pitching mounds and a state-of-the-art FieldTurf surface.


Iowa holds First Practice of 2011

IOWA CITY, Iowa – – Head Coach Jack Dahm and the University of Iowa baseball team held its first official practice today in the Bubble.

The Hawkeyes return seven starters and 10 pitchers from a team that finished third in the Big Ten regular season and runner-up at the conference tournament a year ago.


LA Tech opens Spring Practice

RUSTON, La. – In what was a picturesque afternoon, the Louisiana Tech baseball team took to the diamond at J.C. Love Field at Pat Patterson Park Friday for the first spring practice of the 2011 season.

“It’s great to have the sunshine because it had been awfully cold and rainy the past few weeks as we were trying to do skill work and conditioning,” said ninth-year head coach Wade Simoneaux. “We were definitely anxious to get out here and get everything started and it was good to see that sun out today.”


Louisville holds Banquet/First Practice

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The 20th-ranked University of Louisville baseball team rolled out the 2011 season with its first official preseason practice on Friday afternoon and the annual Republic Bank Leadoff Dinner on Friday night in the South Wing of the Kentucky Exposition Center.

Following its afternoon practice session at Jim Patterson Stadium, Louisville baseball head coach Dan McDonnell and the Cardinals were joined by Cy Young Award runner-up Adam Wainwright of the St. Louis Cardinals and Louisville Bats manager Rick Sweet, who entertained a crowd of more than 450 Louisville baseball supporters and fans at this year’s edition of the Louisville Baseball Leadoff Dinner. The event also included the official introduction of the 2011 Cardinals as well as comments from McDonnell and U of L vice president of athletics Tom Jurich.


Loyola-Marymount Begins Official Practices

LOS ANGELES, Calif. – The LMU baseball team began its official practice schedule today as the team prepares to open the 2011 season at home versus UC Riverside on February 18.

The team took batting practice prior to playing an intrasquad scrimmage at Page Stadium to begin the official practice schedule. After a full week of practice, the LMU baseball program will welcome back its alumni for the annual Alumni Game on Saturday, February 5. The day begins with batting practice at 11:30 a.m., followed by first pitch slated for 1 p.m.

Full Article

LSU conducts First Preseason Workout

BATON ROUGE – The 2011 LSU baseball squad conducted its first preseason workout Friday beneath a cloudless blue sky in Alex Box Stadium.

“What a beautiful day to get started,” said LSU coach Paul Mainieri, who directed the Tigers to the 2009 College World Series title. “We couldn’t have asked for better weather for our first practice.

Full Article

Miami (FL) opens up Spring Practice

Coral Gables, Fla. – The 18th-ranked University of Miami baseball team officially opened spring practice Friday on a cool afternoon at Alex Rodriguez Park. The `Canes, led by 18th-year head coach Jim Morris, will be in search of their NCAA-record 39th straight postseason appearance when they open their 2011 season on Friday, Feb. 18 at home against Rutgers.

Michigan State begins Practice for 2011 Season

EAST LANSING, Mich. – The Michigan State baseball team conducted its first official practice of the 2011 season Friday afternoon inside the Duffy Daugherty Football Building.

Third-year head coach Jake Boss, who welcomes back 22 letterwinners from last year’s 34-win team, was excited to begin drills in preparation for the season opener Feb. 18 against Notre Dame.


Minnesota starts Preparations for 2011 Season

The Minnesota baseball team had its first full practice of 2011 on Friday, Jan. 28. caught up with senior pitcher Phil Isaksson, junior shortstop AJ Pettersen and head coach John Anderson to talk about the upcoming season.


Notre Dame Opens Practice

NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The University of Notre Dame baseball squad began official team practice for the 2011 campaign inside Loftus Center this evening. The Irish will conduct three weeks of team practice sessions before opening its season in Dunedin, Fla., at 4 p.m. ET against Michigan State on Feb. 18.

“We were excited to get started to say the least,” said Mik Aoki, who begins his inaugural season as Irish head coach. “We have a solid core group of returning players and plenty of new faces, both of which are ready to get the season underway.”


Northwestern State open Fall Practice

NATCHITOCHES – Northwestern State got the bat and ball rolling on Friday afternoon for the first full-squad baseball practice of the 2011 preseason.

The Demons, selected as one of the preseason favorites to contend for the Southland Conference title in recent preseason polls, was welcomed to Brown-Stroud Field by mid-70s temperatures and clear skies.

“We’re excited to get onto the field and get some work in as a whole unit,” said fourth-year head coach Jon Paul Davis. We’ve got a lot of work to do, but we’re ready to get at it.”


Ohio State opens Practice

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The time was 2 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 28, and the location was the spacious Woody Hayes Athletics Center on the campus of The Ohio State University when the next era of Buckeye Baseball – the Greg Beals era – really and truly and finally began for the oldest sport on campus.

The moment in time represented the start of the first official team practice of the 2011 season. And unlike the spectacular day in June when Beals was introduced as Ohio State’s coach, or the pristine September and October days when Beals and his staff – pitching coach Mike Stafford, infield/outfield and base-running coach Chris Holick and volunteer assistant Josh Newman – started learning about the team during the four weeks of fall ball, the practice Friday truly meant the 2011 season had started.


Oregon State Gets First Workout In

CORVALLIS, Ore. – With approximately 21 days remaining prior to the start of the 2011 season, the Oregon State baseball team practiced together, as a full club, for the first time on Friday afternoon.

Most of the team arrived early at Goss Stadium to get some early hitting and fielding practice in with the coaching staff. Also in attendance and taking early batting practice were former Beavers and current pros Cole Gillespie, Andy Jenkins, Daniel Robertson, Stefen Romero and Adalberto Santos.


RIce holds First Practice

HOUSTON – The Rice baseball team, ranked as high as No. 17 in the country in one national preseason poll, held its first practice of 2011 on Friday (Jan. 29) at Reckling Park. Not only did Rice head coach Wayne Graham welcome back 23 returning lettermen from last season’s squad that went 40-23 and won the Conference USA regular season championship, he was also visited by four former Owls who helped lead Rice to the 2003 NCAA National Championship.


Samford opens Practice for 2011 Season

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – The Samford baseball team went through its first practice in preparation for the 2011 season Friday afternoon at Joe Lee Griffin Field.

The Bulldogs practiced for about two hours and then scrimmaged for five and a half innings. Samford head coach Casey Dunn was excited about the way his team performed in its first practice of the 2011 preseason.

“I thought it was a very encouraging first day,” Dunn said. “We threw eight different pitchers today and I thought all eight guys threw the ball really well for the first day. Their velocities were good, they threw strikes and I was really encouraged by what they were able to do. I thought we swung the bats well, with two home runs in a five and a half-inning game.”


San Diego Begins Practice

SAN DIEGO, Calif. – The 28th-ranked University of San Diego baseball team took the field today for the first practice of the 2011 season. The Toreros will open play this season on February 18, as they welcome No. 5 Vanderbilt to Cunningham Stadium for a 2 p.m. game.

San Diego, the defending WCC Champions, are coming off a season in which it posted the best WCC record in conference history at 19-2, and they were 37-22 overall, and made their fourth trip to the NCAA Regional in the past five years.

The Toreros will feature the No. 2 ranked recruiting class in the nation, according to Collegiate Baseball, as well as return several key veterans to this years line-up including All-WCC honoree’s Kevin Muno and Dillon Checkal.


First Day of Practice for South Carolina

South Carolina head coach Ray Tanner addressed the media on Friday as the Gamecocks officially opened practice for the 2011 season. The Gamecocks will scrimmage Friday, Saturday and Sunday at Carolina Stadium. All three scrimmages are open to the public


Southern Mississippi opens Practice for 2011 Season

HATTIESBURG, Miss. – The quest for a ninth-straight postseason appearance for the Southern Miss baseball team began here Friday afternoon at Pete Taylor Park/Hill Denson Field with the start of preseason practice.

The Golden Eagles, which finished 36-24 a year ago on its way to winning the 2010 Conference USA Tournament crown, return 18 letterwinners from a season ago including six position-player starters.

“Now we can get out here and practice like we want to in preparation for the Feb. 18 opener (against Eastern Illinois) as we have everybody out as a team,” said second-year coach Scott Berry on the official start of practice, whose team has been doing individuals workouts since the start of the spring semester.


Tennessee Opens Practice for 2011 Campaign

Knoxville, Tenn. – The University of Tennessee baseball team officially opened the 2011 campaign with its first full team practice of the season on a beautiful, crisp Friday afternoon at Lindsey Nelson Stadium.

The Volunteers return 17 players, including seven starters, from last year’s squad which finished with a record of 30-26. Joining them is a talented group of 14 newcomers, headlined by freshman Andrew Toles, a fourth-round pick by the Florida Marlins in the 2010 MLB First-Year Player Draft, and last year’s Tennessee Gatorade Player of the Year, Ethan Bennett from Farragut High School.


Texas Tech Begins Spring Practice

LUBBOCK, Texas – The start of team practice began today for the Texas Tech baseball team, and although the 70-degree weather made it feel like the middle of the season, it was the first time the Red Raiders had hit the field as a team since the end of fall practices in October.

“It’s a pretty good day,” head coach Dan Spencer said about the weather. “We are going to enjoy it. We are fortunate to live in this part of the country and have this kind of weather in January. I’m hoping it is this nice for our (season) opener.”


UC-Davis Begins Practice for 2011 Season

DAVIS, Calif. – The UC Davis baseball team began practice for the 2011 season Friday as head coach Rex Peters and the Aggies look toward the season opener on Feb. 18.

The Aggies finished the 2010 campaign with an overall record of 26-29 and a Big West Conference mark of 9-15.


UCF opens Preseason Camp

ORLANDO, Fla. ( – For the first time in 2011, UCF baseball took the field as a team Friday as the Knights opened up preseason camp. The Black and Gold will practice for three weeks leading up to Opening Day Feb. 18 against Siena.

The afternoon started up at 2:30 p.m. with daily stretching exercises followed up with some long toss. At 3 p.m., the Knights focused on defensive drills for 20 minutes.


Vanderbilt holds First Practice

Head Coach Tim Corbin led the Commodores through their first practice of the 2011 season Friday afternoon. The Dores are highly ranked in three preseason polls checking in at No. 4 in the Baseball America and USA Today/ESPN polls and No. 5 in the Collegiate Baseball poll.

Vanderbilt starts the season with a trip to San Diego on February 18 before returning home to take on Belmont February 23.

Washington Takes Field For First Practice Of 2011

SEATTLE – The 2011 Washington baseball team took to the field at Husky Ballpark Friday afternoon for their first full-squad practice of the year. Opening day is just three weeks from today, Feb. 18 vs. Missouri State in San Marcos, Texas.

The Huskies, under second-year head coach Lindsay Meggs, last worked out as a full squad last October. In the months since then, UW players have worked with coaches in small groups and also taken part in strength and conditioning workouts.


Wichita State Shockers Start Practice

WICHITA, Kan.- The Wichita State baseball team opened its first day of spring practice Fri., Jan. 28 outside at Eck Stadium.

Wichita State kicks off the 2011 season on Fri., Feb. 18 against Niagara at Eck Stadium.

WSU returns 16 letterwinners and five starters from last year’s squad, including all-conference selections Tim Kelley, Preston Springer and Johnny Coy.

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