By Mike Rohdy
The Samford University baseball team hosted their fifth-annual Fan Day this past Sunday at Joe Lee Griffin Field, meaning it’s time to play ball. The Bulldogs will open their 2015 campaign this Friday night with a weekend home stand against the Radford Highlanders.
With a 2014 season that saw the Bulldogs post a record of 35-25 and come up just shy of winning a SoCon title, 2015 brings high hopes.
In his 11th season at the helm of Bulldog baseball, head coach Casey Dunn had a busy offseason putting the pieces together for a successful season.
“I am excited to get started and see where we are,” Dunn said. “There are two goals we set every year: one, to improve as the year goes on, and if we can do that, the goal becomes winning the conference and then going to regionals.”
To reach these goals, the Bulldogs will rely on a number of key returners, including five preseason All-SoCon selections. Senior closer Andres Gracia, junior shortstop Frankie Navarrete, junior designated hitter Jared Watson and sophomore outfielder Heath Quinn were first-team selections. Senior starting pitcher Alex Ledford was named to the second team.
Along with these key veterans, the Bulldogs have an ample supply of untapped potential.
“As for expectations, there will be a little bit of unknown just because we are still a young team,” Dunn said. “The key will be the role guys, that next group of guys who we will need to develop and improve so that we can compete at the top of the league,” Dunn said.
The Bulldogs will need their healthy balance of veterans and role players as they have a tough schedule ahead. On Feb. 27, the team will travel to Starkville, Mississippi, for a tournament to take on top-notch teams such as Mississippi State and Arizona before opening up conference play against Furman on March 20.
Come out and cheer on the Bulldogs Friday night at 4 p.m.