The 2017-2018 Texas State men’s baseball season officially started Tuesday, Feb. 13, with the annual baseball media luncheon.
The atmosphere was one that not many Bobcat students have been able to feel towards sports this season: excitement. Harrington noted repeatedly that his “older team” was well-prepared for the season opening series versus Oklahoma State Feb. 16-18.
“Even when you get beat or you are unsuccessful, it is still experience,” Harrington said. “How you use is is how you determine how you will be successful or not. The second part of being successful is having success. I think this team has a little bit of both. I’m hopeful this team will do that. I don’t know that we have done it yet because we haven’t played anyone, but I’m hoping they will use that experience this year to be successful.”
Luke Shirley, senior shortstop, one of the most experienced Bobcats who has played 162 career games, also was oozing with excitement and confidence.
“It’s pretty rare at the college level that you get to play with the same guys for three straight years, and we have that this year,” Shirley said. “We were pretty disappointed last season with the way we ended it. We felt we were a super-regional team and we didn’t perform that way.”
“When you have good opening weekend, it really sets the tone for the rest of the season,” Shirley said. “We have a lot of respect for Oklahoma State; we would really like to go out Friday and punch them (Oklahoma State) in the mouth, but it is just three games out of fifty-six. Opening weekend is always a lot of fun and we are looking forward to it.”
Jonathan Ortega, junior second baseman, who was Pre-Season All Conference 2017-2018, was not shying away from his confidence either.
“I honestly believe we should win the conference this year,” Ortega said. “We should go all the way to Omaha.”
When asked about the pre-season conference prediction of the Bobcats finishing fourth this upcoming season, Ortega said the team is using it as motivation.
“It motivates us,” Ortega said. “Everyone saw that, and we were all thinking we should be number one in our eyes.”
The Bobcats’ most experience pitcher, Nicholas Fraze, sophomore pitcher, who led the team with fifteen starts and a team leading five wins, says he learned a lot from his freshman year.
“I learned a lot,” Fraze said. “Every game I felt like I got better, learning from different teams and hitters. I really want to establish all my pitches early and throw strikes. I feel good about our rotation, and we have a lot of guys that can step up.”
“Everyone here has had their teeth kicked in and been through the worst,” Fraze said. “And we are all ready to do what we can this year. We (the pitchers) learned it can go bad really quick, but we can always fix it and work harder.”
The Bobcats will start their season Friday, Feb. 16, when they host Oklahoma State for a three-game series, and they are looking to quickly erase last season’s results and earn their respect this year.