Dons Gearing Up For 2015 Season

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Merrick Belding
Staff Writer

With spring upon us baseball season is gearing up. The Dons, coached by three-time West Coast Conference coach of the year Nino Giarratano, look to start their season off strong in Texas for the season opener. 

Coming off a tough 25-29 season in the competitive WCC last year, the Dons look ready for battle as they set their sights on a third WCC championship in nine years. The grueling months of fall workouts are over and USF seems determined to start the season off strong with a three game road trip against Texas Tech.

The close off-field relationships amongst the players will be a key contributor to the success on the field: “We all get along which makes things a lot smoother,” sophomore pitcher Grant Goodman says, “Everyone seems to be preparing well for the start of the season and we can’t wait for it to start.”  Team chemistry has proven to be important, but USF will need much more than that if they intend to compete against some of the top teams in the nation this season.

Texas Tech looks to continue their success from the 2014 College World Series, but with senior pitcher Christian Cecilio on the mound for USF, it’s shaping up to be a great season opener on Friday.  The veteran Cecilio put up a 4.15 ERA last season with a team high of 76 strikeouts, and was the regular Saturday starter. The Dons are hoping Cecilio’s veteran experience can lead them past a tough Texas team. Defense and fundamentals will also prove to be an important factor for the Dons this season. With a solid defense behind him and the leadership of coach Giarratano, Cecilio looks to compete with the   number eight seed in the nation, Texas Tech, in this opening matchup.

Starting shortstop and the son of head coach, Nico Giarratano, said, “We can’t be more excited to go into Tech and play a team like them. They’re a great team and had a great season last year but we’re ready to go into Lubbock and show them how good of a team we are.” Confidence and leadership is pouring out of the middle infielder, and he is confident that the hard work put in by his team in the off season will pay off, “We’ve been preparing for the season for the past 6-7 months day in and day out and I think we are all excited to get started.” The Dons are hoping that all their early morning runs and weightlifting in the off-season will pay off, as baseball is right around the corner.

All 35 players have been preparing and waiting eagerly for the kickoff of the 2015 season, and they know how hard they have to work if they want to compete with some of the top teams in the nation. Baseball is finally upon us and the Dons are marching into the 2015 season with a clean scorebook and high expectations.

Photo Credit: Courtesy OF Dons Athletics

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