Practice begins Friday

BEAUMONT, Texas – There isn’t much time left between now and February 19, but the Lamar University baseball team will use every bit of it getting ready for the season opener in head coach Jim Gilligan‘s final season at the helm as the squad opens its final first practice under the skipper at 2 o’clock on Friday.

Saturday’s and Sunday’s practices are slated for 1 o’clock.

The Cardinals are getting prepared for a 55-game schedule, and quite possibly could see the toughest part of it at the front end of the slate.  The first nine games are to be played in the first 10 days, and two of those will be against nationally-prominent programs Arizona and LSU, both at Vincent-Beck Stadium.

“I am pumped and excited. This is my last go round,” said Gilligan. “I ‘m getting sentimental about this and I am very excited about (Friday). It’s my last ball club and I feel good about the boys and the atmosphere.”

The Cardinals reported on Jan. 19 and have had individual work along with captain-led team workouts.  During fall workouts, the team scrimmaged against perennial power Rice, and downed the Owls, 16-4.

This year’s club has 13 seniors, including top hitters Stijn van der Meer and Jake Nash along with three-year lettermen Will Hibbs, Jacoby Middleton and Jayson McKinley returning.  Middleton returns after sitting out 2015 due to an injury.

It all beings on the 19th when Southeast Missouri State hits The Beck for opening day, the first contest of 14-straight on LU’s home field. Arizona follows on Feb. 22 and LSU on Feb. 24 before North Dakota State comes for a four-game set on Feb. 26-28.

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