Jan. 25, 2013
LOS ANGELES, Calif. -
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The 2013 LMU baseball program took to the field on Friday for its first official full practice of the year, exactly three weeks before its season-opening three-game series with Utah at home starting on February 15.
While coaches were allowed to work with the players individually for two hours a week since the spring semester started, and players were allowed to hold athlete-run non-mandatory practices without coaches, Friday's practice is the first opportunity for full-length instructed practice.
"It is really hard to see anything with the guys prior to the official start date because we have so few hours with them," Head Coach Jason Gill said. "During those two hours a week that we did have, we tried to remind the players about how we do things and tried to get them back to the fundamentals. By stressing the fundamentals and getting those under control, we are able to hit the ground running today as we prepare for the start of the season in three weeks."
Despite uncharacteristic rain in Southern California on Friday, Gill and his team are prepared to hold a full practice, including a short scrimmage on the field. "Obviously Mother Nature had other intentions and wasn't worried about the official start date in Southern California, but in all honesty we are in good shape," Gill said. "There are other teams that are currently under snow and we are still able to pull the tarp and use the field as well as practice in our indoor facility, so we are getting a full-day's worth of work done to start the year."
LMU unveiled a road-heavy 2013 schedule in November, as the Lions will play only 21 of their 51 games at home in Page Stadium. The slate looks to test the Lions, as LMU will play 13 games against 2012 NCAA Tournament qualifiers, including a pair of three-game road series at Super Regional qualifier Oregon and College World Series participant UCLA. In addition to the six games against Oregon and UCLA, LMU will also play a road series against reigning WCC Champion Pepperdine and a single contest at Cal State Fullerton - both teams that made the tournament a year ago. In fact, LMU's only home contests against teams who qualified for the postseason will come against WCC-foe San Diego in a three-game series.
"Right now our biggest concern is we aren't practicing at the right speed," Gill stated. I'm not 100 percent sure that our guys fully understand what's coming down the road - just like every year, we have a very difficult schedule and conference slate. Right now we are far away from being able to compete at the level we know we are capable, but the next three weeks will be important for our development."
The Lions return 20 players from last year's squad, including first team All-WCC selections Colton Plaia and Matt Lowenstein offensively. Zac Fujimoto and Trevor Megill also return after being named to the honorable mention squad. On the hill, Megill and last year's Friday starter and All-Freshman selection, Colin Welmon, highlight what should be a deep pitching staff.