Spring is right around the corner and so is the 2019-20 EKU baseball season. The Colonels open up the season on Feb. 15 against Grambling State in New Orleans at the Andre Dawson Classic.
While playing in the Andre Dawson Classic, EKU will be on MLB Network when they face Florida A&M at 8 p.m. on Feb. 16.
Head coach Edwin Thompson said that being in the national spotlight will be a great chance to showcase the baseball program and the university.
Thompson is in his fourth season leading the Colonels and is pleased with the progress his team has made in the fall and off-season. He said that fans should expect a lot of excitement and unpredictable games.
“Our team offensively has been traditionally really strong,” Thompson said. “We’ve had some really good players come through the last few years. A lot of All-Americans and some draft picks, but I think our style of play is exciting. It’s fun to watch. You never know what’s going to happen, whether it be a 14 inning ball game or a quick 2-1 ball game.”
Thompson’s message to his players is that every game is important. “It comes down to who executes. Who does their job better, who’s more efficient and who’s more competitive,” Thompson said.
With the non-conference schedule including highly ranked teams like University of Louisville, University of Kentucky, Western Kentucky University and Boston College, the Colonels are welcoming the competition to showcase their program. The Colonels will travel to Lexington to face the University of Kentucky on Feb. 26 and host the Louisville Cardinals on March 19.
“We play a really good non-conference schedule to prepare us for conference play,” Thompson said.
Experience is a key part to this year’s baseball team which includes five seniors, 11 juniors, four sophomores and 14 freshmen.
“I think our team is really balanced,” Thompson said. “We have good experience on the mound, and we have some young guys.”
Some players are already being honored and recognized before the season. Junior Nick Howie was chosen to the 2019 Perfect Game Preseason All-Ohio Valley Conference baseball team. Howie and redshirt senior Aaron Ochsenbein was selected to the 2019 Preseason All-Ohio Valley Conference baseball team.
Thompson and the Colonels are not concerned that they were picked to finish sixth in the conference by the OVC head coaches and communication directors. Thompson said he will use the rankings as a starting point and the only way to change that is to perform.
The Colonels will hit the field as they face Maryland Eastern Shore at 4 p.m. on Feb. 22.