ATLANTA – With fall workouts coming to a close, Georgia State baseball coach Greg Frady is excited about his team’s progress and prospects for the 2013 spring season.
“We have a really hard working, coachable and team-oriented group of men this season,” said Frady. “There was very little individual focus at all this fall. What’s different about that is that fall is usually a time to work with players individually, but the guys are very focused as a team. That’s a great sign and that’s going to translate into us having a successful spring.
“You couldn’t tell who was a newcomer and who was returning,” said Frady. “We were really cohesive all fall. The effort and the commitment were there and our team really got off to a good start this fall and I’m excited about the spring.”
The 2013 edition of the GSU baseball team will feature many new faces as 12 freshmen join a team that includes seven junior college transfers and two walk-ons. Nowhere is the team’s relative youth more evident than in its pitching staff. This year the Panthers will be looking to returning pitchers Aidan McLaughlin, Jerry Stuckey, and Nick Squeglia for leadership on the mound.
“If we do have a question mark as a team it’s where we’re going as a pitching staff,” said Frady. “There is a tremendous amount of newcomers that we’re going to be relying on this season. However, we do also have some experience. McLaughlin is someone we’re going to be relying on this year and Squeglia has returned and is going to be one of our top guys. I really like where we’re going. Conner Stanley and Stuckey really proved themselves as well.”
Of the returning pitchers, Stanley put up the best numbers in 2012 with a 3-1 record and 4.15 ERA in 12 appearances.
In the field and at the plate, the Panthers return several key players from last season and with the addition of several key freshmen and junior college transfers, Frady is pleased with the prospects for the spring.
“We have a very versatile group and guys can play a variety of different positions,” said Frady. “Truly we had so many guys who can play multiple positions and play them well.”
Frady was particularly impressed with the Panthers’ offensive progress during fall workouts and is looking for GSU to plate runners on a regular basis.
“We led the nation in runs-scored in 2010 and I came out of this fall thinking that we can play up to that caliber,” said Frady. “That was during the hot-bat era so I don’t know if we’ll score 10.5 runs per game, but we can certainly score.”
Last season GSU posted a .279 team batting average with CAA All-Rookie Caden Bailey leading the way with a .315 batting average. Senior Drew Shields was named a College Sports Madness All-CAA Second Team selection and started 49 games, all but two at third base, in 2012. He tied the team lead with 60 total hits, batting .303 on the year, and led GSU will 21 multiple-hit games and 11-game hitting streak. He scored 34 runs, tied for second-most on the squad, and was second on the team with seven stolen bases. Fellow seniors Scott Sarratt and Mark Hogan should provide offensive firepower in 2013.
Newcomers such as power-hitting junior college transfer first baseman Nic Wilson and freshman Matt Rose will be vying for starting spots in the infield while lefty catcher Joey Roach is a threat to would-be base runners and opposing pitchers.
“Chase Raffield, Wilson, and Rose have legitimate power. We can probably go 14 positional players deep this spring.
“Wilson really emerged with his defense and as a hitter,” said Frady. “Bailey really stood out as a consistent returnee and the so did Greg Bowder. Every time I mention someone’s name I feel like I’m leaving someone out; that’s how well they played this fall. What you’re going to see is that we have a lot of depth and we’re going to use that depth this season. Chad Prain and Shane Gordon brought a lot of energy to the team as well.”
Georgia State fans will get their first look at the 2013 edition of the Panther baseball team February 15 in the season opener against Butler. For more information on Panther baseball visit GeorgiaStateSports.com.