Feb. 1, 2013
RUSTON, La. - The Louisiana Tech baseball squad is pushing forward as preparation for the new season continues with the Bulldogs set to begin the second week of official practices with exactly two weeks remaining until the start of the 2013 season.
With a mix of conditioning, practice and intrasquads, head coach Wade Simoneaux and his staff is keeping the veteran squad busy in order to prepare the players for the grueling schedule ahead.
"We have to get everybody healthy," Simoneaux said. "We are nicked up from all the running, weights and conditioning that we do. We stretch 27 of our 37 guys, so we are missing 10 right now, but they will be back and ready to go by the time the season starts. We have to really push them on the weekends to have them ready for the grind that is in front of us."
Two weeks remain until the Diamond 'Dogs begin the campaign Feb. 15 against UT Arlington on the road and the battle for starting spots come opening day has already begun among the players.
"There is a lot of competition," Simoneaux said. "When you are putting two lineups and two pitching staffs out there [in intrasquads], it is easy to keep everybody happy. Everybody is getting at bats, a set number of innings, their ground balls, chances and opportunities, whereas when we put nine out there, we have choices to make."
As the season approaches, one area of the team Simoneaux is confident with is the middle of the field. The Bulldogs return junior shortstop Ryan Gebhardt and senior second baseman Austin Hedges to anchor the infield, with junior Taylor Burch in centerfield and a trio of veteran catchers behind the plate.
"With Gebhardt and Hedges, and we also have (Taylor) Terrasas in the middle, then big Taylor Burch in centerfield; we are very strong up the middle," he said. "We also have three good catchers, Derouen being one of those, and (Kyle) Arnsberg and (Tyler) Qualls. We have three veteran catchers in my eyes that could run the show back there by themselves without us calling pitches."
Season tickets for the upcoming season are available now and can be purchased by calling the Tech Ticket Office at 318-257-3631, emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or logging on to www.LATechSports.com.
For complete coverage of LA Tech baseball, follow @LATechBSB on Twitter or visit the official home of Louisiana Tech athletics at www.LATechSports.com.