The Texas A&M – Corpus Christi baseball team will finally be able to dust off the bats and get back to live action on Friday afternoon in the first practice of the Spring season. The Jan. 27 date is the NCAA mandated starting point for all practice of the upcoming 2012 season.
Head Coach Scott Malone and his coaching staff can feel the anticipation building, not only on campus, but also around the nation as the wait for college baseball is almost over.
"I think ever since the NCAA went to a national start date two or three years ago, it kind of makes tomorrow bigger," said Malone. "With social media, you hear every head coach from everywhere, Florida State, UCLA, Minnesota, everybody is tweeting this week about the countdown to Friday and starting full team practice.
"For college baseball, tomorrow is a huge day. You finally get to spend the time you want to with these guys and start doing your best to get them ready to play."
While the Islanders were able to hit and pitch outside of normal practice, Friday will mark the first time the pitchers and hitters will be able to face each other at the plate since Fall practice. An additional wrinkle for the team will be traveling to Cabaniss Field for the first few days of practice before getting on the newly resurfaced Chapman Field at the start of February.
"Having to spend the first three days off campus over at Cabaniss, on one hand, obviously we're thankful for CCISD for accommodating us and getting us over there," said Malone. "So many great teams have come through that place on the high school level, it will be kind of neat for some of our local guys get over there."
"We'll have three good day, pitcher will have a chance to throw to live hitters, live hitters will get a chance to hit off live pitchers for the first time," Malone said. "It'll be good to see these guys compete a little bit for the first time."
With practice just starting, the team will not have much time before the first game of the season creeps up on Feb.17 against Nebraska – Omaha.
"Tomorrow we are three weeks away from game one, it's a fun thought, an exciting thought, and it's a little scary thought," said Malone. "You have to get this thing put together as fast as you can; find nine, twelve, fourteen guys that you feel like can to continue to grow this program where we've taken it, where the players before have taken it."
The team will practice from 2:30 – 6 p.m. on Friday, and also have at 8:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Saturday and finish the weekend with a 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. session on Sunday.
"I'm going to enjoy just throwing the bats and balls out on the field and see what we look like," said Malone. "It should be a fun weekend."
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