After finishing last season with 21 wins and 29 losses, the Eastern baseball team will look to build off of last year’s sub-par season, starting with the coaching staff.
The Colonels hired Head Coach Edwin Thompson, who spent the last three seasons at Georgia State University. In 2013 and 2014, Thompson was the pitching coach for Georgia State before being promoted to Defensive Coordinator and Recruiting Coordinator.
Over the last five seasons, Thompson has coached 11 All-Americans and sent 26 players to play professionally. He also spent the last two years working for USA baseball.
Thompson brings intensity, enthusiasm and a new philosophy to the Eastern baseball team that includes improving defense and pitching.
“We’ve worked a lot defensively, and on pitching in the offseason,” Thompson said. “This has always been a program that hit the ball. Now we’re just trying to improve on pitching and defense.”
The Colonels are led by seniors Kyle Nowlin and TJ Alas. Both Nowlin and Alas have been named preseason All-OVC players. The duo makes up two of only four outfielders selected to the All-OVC team. Perfect Game USA named Nowlin as the fifth best senior in college baseball, and Nowlin shares the honor of preseason player of the year with Logan Gray of Austin Peay.
“He [Nowlin] was my biggest recruit this season,” Thompson said. “I was trying to get him to come back. He’s such a team player. He’s lived up to all of the hype around him, and I think he’ll be very humble and professional.”
Other than Nowlin and Alas, the Colonels have seven seniors returning who Thompson thinks will “contribute in a number of ways.”
“When you have a core group of seniors, their experience plays a big role in games,” Thompson said. “Typically the seniors embrace their roles.”
Although Thompson’s biggest change to this year’s Colonel team has been focused on improving defense and pitching, he also looks for more support from Eastern’s student body. Thompson said he hopes more students will attend home games and support their fellow classmates.
“Be aware of student activities throughout the season,” Thompson said. “We’re trying to include a lot of things that will make students want to come out and support us.”
The Colonels kick off its season Friday, Feb. 19, in Nashville against Lipscomb University. For more information follow the team on Twitter @ekubaseball.