Loggers Primed for 2013 Behind Veteran Pitching Staff
Depth and experience on the mound will lead the Puget Sound baseball team into the 2013 season when it opens this weekend at St. Martin's. The Loggers will turn to a pair of All-NWC pitchers and a handful of returners in the field to guide them through the season.
The Loggers will be looking to improve upon last year's record of 10-28-1 overall and 6-18 in the Northwest Conference when they take the field for the first time in 2013 on Saturday at 11 a.m.
"This group of players has a tremendous attitude, work ethic and team chemistry, which is all you can ask for as a coach," said head coach Brian Billings. "With all these intangibles in our favor combined with a strong talent pool, our sights are set high for 2013."
Seniors Matt Robinson and Nate Aguiar will headline the Loggers starting rotation on the mound. Robinson was an All-NWC selection as a freshman and a sophomore but was limited by injuries during his junior campaign. He will look to return to his 2011 form when he went 5-2 in 10 starts with a 2.59 ERA. Robinson earned Second Team All-NWC honors that year.
Aguiar earned Honorable Mention honors last season after eating up over six innings per start and posting a 4-6 record. Aguair tossed a pair of complete game wins in back-to-back starts last year to highlight his season and led the staff with a 4.19 ERA. Robinson and Aguiar will figure to be the Loggers 1-2 punch on the mound.
Lucas Stone served as the Loggers third starter in the 2012 campaign but also started in right field for games one and two of a conference series. Stone will continue to play a role on the mound but may see an increased role in the lineup and the field after hitting .263 last year.
Sophomore Steve Wagar is a front-runner to become the Loggers third starter while Jarrod Beiser and Walton will look to eat up some innings out of the bullpen. A handful of newcomers are also strong contenders for regular contributors out of the pen.
Sophomore Connor Savage will likely join Stone in the outfield. Savage hit .293 last year and was the only play to appear in all 38 games last year. He smacked a team-high five doubles and had a team-high 18 stolen bases. Freshman Eric Lund will also vie for some time in the outfield. He hit .267 last year in the Loggers first eight games before suffering a season-ending injury and being granted a medical hardship.
The infield saw the most departures to graduation and will turn to more youth. Christian Carter and Bobby Hosmer are the front-runners to platoon behind the plate this year while Carter also is likely to see time at first base with Jeff Walton and Johnny Hosmer.
Kaulana Smith saw time at second and third base last year as a freshman and is in the running to keep his everyday position in the lineup at either spot. He hit .266 in 23 starts last season with one homer and nine RBI.
With a few spots vacated in the infield, it should come as no surprise to see a freshman or two on the lineup card on any given day. New Loggers could fill spots up the middle of the infield or fight for playing time on the field and out of the bullpen.
The Loggers were recently picked to finish sixth in a poll of the Northwest Conference coaches but undoubtedly have their sights set higher with an experienced pitching staff and plenty of young talent to generate the offense.