Oct. 2, 2012
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. ---- The UAB baseball team opened up the fall portion of its practice schedule over the weekend as a tune up for the 2013 season.
Head coach Brian Shoop, in his seventh season leading the Green and Gold, has 28 total practice dates set, featuring 17 intrasquad scrimmages, running from Sept. 28 to Nov. 12.
The Blazers, which are coming off a magical 2012 season in which they won the Conference USA Tournament Championship and earned an automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament, welcome 11 newcomers to this year’s squad.
Fall Ball Events
• Scout Day: Oct. 11
• Green & Gold Series: Nov. 2-3, 8-10
• Family Weekend: Nov. 2-3
• C-USA Championship Ring Ceremony: Nov. 3
UAB will practice six times a week over the next five weeks with Mondays serving as an off day. Practices will run from roughly 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. with some exceptions on Saturdays due to events on campus and weather conditions throughout the previous week.
Practices, which are open to the public, will be held at Young Memorial Field, where UAB posted an impressive 20-10 record last season.
UAB returns plenty of position player depth with seven starters back, including outfielders Ivan De Jesus, Jeff Schalk and infielder John Frost. Schalk was named to the league’s all-freshman team, while both Frost and Schalk earned spots on the C-USA All-Tournament team.
The key this fall for Shoop will be finding replacements for a pitching staff that graduated an even 250 innings.
Two arms that are back on the mound for UAB include junior righty Chase Mallard
and sophomore southpaw Dylan Munger
. Mallard was one of the Blazers’ best relievers a season ago, going 4-4 with a 3.50 ERA, while Munger produced an outstanding summer in the California Collegiate League being named an all-star and all-league player.
Right-hander Ben Bullard, who served as the Saturday starter for most of 2012, returns to the Blazers after posting a 5-5 record, 2.96 ERA in 82 innings. Bullard underwent offseason surgery and no timetable has been set yet for his return.
Shoop utilizes the fall practice period to not only judge the talent and skill level of all his players, but to test the makeup of the newcomers in challenging game situations.
“Some guys respond to the transition from high school or junior college to college well and it’s a fairly easy transition for some guys, like Jeff Schalk last year,” Shoop said. “Some guys really struggle with it. You don’t really know until you start to compete. Batting practice is a big difference than competing.”