By Chelsea Groves
The Butler baseball team starts their 2019 campaign Friday with a three-game series vs. Rider this weekend in Lexington, South Carolina.
The Bulldogs look to begin the season with momentum from an appearance in the BIG EAST tournament last year. Even with a historic run in 2018, the squad finds themselves ranked near the bottom of the BIG EAST in this year’s preseason polls.
“We are picked to finish fifth out of seven teams in the BIG EAST this year,” Redshirt Junior Catcher Zach Parker says. “Instead of letting that discourage us, we’re actually looking at that as motivation.”
With a number of key players graduating, the returning roster will play a major role in indoctrinating the new faces to the program.
“A lot of juniors in there have played, and now it’s time for them to lead. When you have an evolution in your program, that’s exactly what you want. These guys played as freshman and sophomores, now they need to excel as juniors and seniors,” says Head Coach Dave Schrage.
With the coaching staff adding a number of new faces to the system, there is a combination of newcomers and transfers.
“We have more transfers than I can ever remember us having. That is great for our program because they’ve been around other programs, and they know what works. They are bringing their expertise here. I’m confident in our guys and I know we brought in a bunch of talent this year,” says redshirt junior catcher Zach Parker.
This year’s team has a motto: “Leave No Doubt.” Confidence is pivotal for this year’s group in order to strive for success this season.
“I told them that preseason polls don’t mean anything,” says head coach Dave Schrage. “But I said, ‘let’s at least have some sort of a slogan that people will remember or rally around.’ The team came up with ‘Leave No Doubt.’ When we play a series, when we leave there is no doubt who the better team is.”