Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Baseball Season is Here!

E-mail Ricky Hazel

In just two short days the Troy Trojans baseball team will take to the turf at Riddle-Pace Field for the 2011 season opener against High Point.

Mother Nature has cooperated in a big way this year. The weather has been beautiful all week and promises to remain so for the weekend series. There are no excuses for not coming out for some games this weekend.

Speaking of games, this weekend is the busiest of the year for Troy Athletics with home basketball, softball and baseball games all weekend. In addition, the tennis teams will be in action on the road and the men's golf team will open its spring schedule in Mobile.

But, as for the home events this weekend, the basketball teams kick things off on Thursday night with the first of two double-headers in Sun Belt Conference play. The Blue Raiders of MTSU come in on Thursday, which is "Think Pink" night for the women's game to raise awareness and money in the fight against breast cancer. In addition to the game, there will be an iPad given away at halftime of the women's game.

On Friday, Troy softball will open the Quality Inn Classic at the Trojan Softball Complex. The tournament will include 11 games with Samford, Central Arkansas, Bradley and North Florida joining Troy in the event. Games start at 1:30 p.m. on Friday, 9:30 a.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m. on Sunday. The event also marks the debut on a new scoreboard at the Trojans Softball Complex.

Of course, Friday night will be the season-opener for the Troy baseball team. The first pitch is set for 6 p.m. Saturday's double-header will start at 1 .m. as will Sunday's series finale.

In addition to the baseball and softball games on Saturday, the Troy basketball teams will play their final home games of the 2010-11 season in a double-header that will start at 5:15 p.m. It will be senior night as the Trojans take on Arkansas State.

BASEBALL PROMOTIONS

The Troy Athletics marketing department has put together some solid promotions for this season. All Friday games will Autograph Friday, with the first 30 kids under the age of 13 receiving a poster autographed by the Trojans' seven seniors. Saturday's are Daddy's Day Out with the purchase of one full price ticket for dad allowing him to buy up to four general admission tickets for the kids for just $2 each.

Sunday's will mark the return of "Slide Into Sunday" with all church bulletins presented from that morning's services getting one free ticket. If you bring a canned food item for donation you will receive a free box of popcorn. Also, kids can run the bases after the game.

Tuesday games during the year are All-American Night. Kids dressed in their own uniforms will have a chance to run onto the field to stand with a favorite Troy player for the national anthem.

Baseball on Television

The Troy baseball team will make as many as seven appearances on television during the 2011 season. The game against Auburn on April 5 will be televised regionally by IMG College. Information on affiliates for that game will be announced later.

That same week the Trojans will make their only scheduled appearance on the Sun Belt Game of the Week when they host FIU. The Saturday game will be televised on CSS and CST and will start at 7 p.m. instead of the normal 6 p.m.

Finally, the five other Tuesday games during the season are scheduled to be televised by Troy TV, which is available all over Southeast Alabama.

More Blogging

In addition to the occasional blogs from myself and assistant coach Mark Smartt during the 2011 season, four members of the Troy team will offer their insights and behind the scenes looks at the Trojans.

Seniors Adam Bryant and Todd McRae along with junior pitcher Tyler Ray and freshman hurler Jimmy Hodgskin will join the blog world for the season. If you have questions you'd like to see them answer, pass them along to me at the address above and I'll see what kind of responses we get.

If you want to get a preview of the 2011 season from and outside source, visit College Baseball Insider for their preview of the Sun Belt. Of course there are many other good college baseball web sites to keep you informed. Two that I check regularly are College Baseball Lineup and SEBaseball.com.

As a member of the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association, I have a vote each week in the top 30 poll. The preseason poll was announced a couple of weeks ago and the first regular season poll will come out early next week. I'll blog each week to let you know how I voted.

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