CSUN baseball prepares for the season

    Albee Weiss swings his bat for a video that will appear on the jumbotron when he plays a game during Media Day at the baseball field on Tuesday, Jan. 24. Photo credit: Nikolas Samuels

    CSUN held an annual baseball media day on Tuesday, where the players shared an excitement for what’s to come.

    With less than a month until their new season, the Matadors are making their final preparations with hopes of improving on their solid performance last season.

    They finished the season with a 33-22 overall record making it the second season in a row the program has won 33 games.

    Those 33 wins were enough to tie last year’s team for the most victories since 2002, however, the Matadors had a lackluster 11-15 record on the road in 2016.

    Members of the baseball team give a mock press conference during Media Day at the CSUN baseball field on Tuesday, Jan. 24. 2016. Nikolas Samuels/CSUN

     

    Head Coach Greg Moore believes improving road performances this season comes down to depth.

    “There are some things inside of those numbers that we’re keying on in terms of depth,” Moore said. “We’re a deeper team than we’ve been in the three years that I’ve been here and we’ve got some versatility out of the bullpen.”

    In the Big West Conference play, the Matadors were tied for third most total wins with an 11-13 conference record.

    Senior shortstop Fred Smith said the Big West is one of the most competitive conferences in college baseball. The conference includes the College World Series runner-up UCSB Gauchos and the elite programs of Cal State Fullerton and UC Irvine.

    “The Big West is one of the most underrated conferences in the country and with every team you know you’re going to get a battle Friday through Sunday,” Smith said. “Every single weekend we’re going to have a tough matchup, so we just have to take it one game at a time.”

    This is Smith’s second full season with the Matadors after leading the team in hits, batting average and coming in second in total bases.

    Members of the baseball team listen to their coach give them advice about how to deal with the media during baseball Media Day in the locker room on Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2016. Nikolas Samuels/CSUN

     

    The switch-hitter believes he must step up and become one of the leaders on the team.

    “Really for me it’s been my focus to provide a leadership role. I’m one of the older guys on the team so one of the biggest things is to help bring guys along and try to build team chemistry,” Smith said.

    Media day was not all serious as players got a chance to sign baseballs, take pictures, participate in a mock press conference and come up with their personalized jumbo tron introduction for home games.

    Many players were just excited to have the chance to be in full uniform and on the field with their teammates.

    Senior starting catcher Dylan Alexander is eager to have the opportunity to spend his final season with this team.

    “I’m excited just to be with the guys every day. Traveling, staying in hotels and just being on the field with them. That’s what really gets me through the fall, knowing I’ll be around this great group of guys every day in the spring,” Alexander said.

    The team will look to improve on the 33 game win totals of the past two seasons when they take on the University of Portland at home on Feb. 17.