Baseball Preview: Blazers Return Veteran Team In 2010

Feb. 15, 2010

The UAB baseball team is eight days away from its 2010 season opener, a Feb. 23 road contest at SEC foe Mississippi State. The Blazers will then open their home slate Feb. 26-28 with a four-game series at Young Memorial Field against Ball State.

With the season almost here, provides a look at the 2010 Blazer baseball team this week with a series of previews. Check the site throughout the week as we feature the following:

Monday - 2010 Season Overview
Wednesday - Pitchers and Catchers
Friday - Infielders and Outfielders

2010 Season Overview
This spring, UAB will feature the most veteran baseball team it has fielded in head coach Brian Shoop's four years with the program.

The Blazers return 23 total letterwinners, including six everyday starters from last year's team that improved for the third year in a row and finished 31-26. The entire starting infield is back in 2010, and UAB also returns 11 pitchers that saw action a year ago.

"We finally have a veteran team, and that helps," Shoop said. "With guys that have been through it together for multiple years, our practices are better, and everything is improved. The learning curve is so much smaller. We felt like our fall practice period was the best one we've had here, and a lot of that has to do with guys understanding things and just going out and working at it."

The Blazers hope that strong fall will carry over into the spring as the team looks to make another jump on the field. It won't be easy with a schedule that features seven 2009 NCAA opponents, two College World Series participants (Southern Miss and Cal State Fullerton) and matchups with four powerhouses at the San Diego State Invitational in addition to the always rugged Conference USA slate. But the Blazers are confident they have now reached a level where they can compete against the best.

The 2009 UAB team set a school record with 461 runs scored on its way to reaching the 30-win mark for the first time since 2005. The season also featured some signature wins as the Blazers took two out of three games from both then-No. 4 Rice and eventual College World Series participant Southern Miss.



"In my heart, we've been a little better each year, and we're going to be a little better this year," Shoop said. "That doesn't guarantee number of wins because everybody's good. It's such a fine line between winning and losing, and our schedule is incredibly demanding, so there's no guarantee that it translates into number of wins, but it certainly could."

Check back Wednesday for a look at the Blazers' pitchers and catchers.