Bronco Baseball Opens 2013 Season at Pepperdine This Weekend
KALAMAZOO, Mich.- The Western Michigan baseball team kicks off its 2013 campaign this weekend, traveling to sunny Malibu, Calif., for a four-game series against Pepperdine, Feb. 15-17. Friday's game one begins at 5 p.m. ET, followed by a 1 p.m. doubleheader Saturday and game four Sunday at 3 p.m.
PREDICTED STARTERS (2012 stats)
Fri.: LHP Steve Laudicina (7-4, 3.51) vs. RHP Scott Frazier (7-5, 3.93)
Sat. G1: LHP Mike Moyer (0-3, 7.07) vs. RHP Corey Miller (8-3, 3.38)
Sat. G2: TBA vs. RHP Jackson McClelland (0-0, 0.00 ERA)
Sun.: RHP Will Nimke (4-4, 3.71) vs. LHP Aaron Brown (2-1, 4.64)
FEELS LIKE THE FIRST TIME
This will be the first ever meeting between Western Michigan and Pepperdine.
SCOUTING WESTERN MICHIGAN
• The Broncos return 14 lettermen, six position players, 10 pitchers (including two of three from weekend conference rotation) and welcome 10 newcomers.
• WMU posted a 26-29 record last year, going 14-12 in the Mid-American Conference. WMU finished third in the MAC West and was the No. 5 seed overall in the conference tournament.
• Last year in non-conference play, Western Michigan notched wins over Notre Dame and Big Ten opponents Northwestern, Ohio State and Michigan.
• WMU had a .292 batting average in 2012, its highest in four years and a 4.81 ERA. Defensively, WMU led the MAC, turning 54 double plays, ranking No. 29 in the nation for double plays per game.
• The Waves are ranked No. 40 in the Collegiate Baseball poll and are receiving votes in the USA Today and NCBWA polls.
• Pepperdine had a 36-23 record last year, going 23-11 at home and 16-8 in the West Coast Conference, winning the WCC regular season title. The Waves defeated Michigan State, 6-2, in the NCAA Regional and also posted a regional win over Fresno State before bowing out with losses to Stanford.
• Pepperdine had a .282 batting average in 2012, and a 3.66 ERA. The team returns 21 letterwinners and five position starters, as well as two of three starting pitchers from its rotation.
WHAT LIES AHEAD
Western Michigan travels to Minnesota for a four-game set next weekend, Feb. 22-24. The Broncos then head South for the annual Spring trip to Florida, playing five games at the Snow Bird Classic in Port Charlotte, an exhibition game against the Detroit Tigers prospect team in Lakeland, and traveling to Fort Myers for a three-game series against Florida Gulf Coast.
The Broncos are scheduled for a total of 54 regular-season games, the first 24 (including exhibition vs. Detroit prospects) of those to be played on the road or at neutral sites. Western Michigan's first home game is not until March 29, hosting conference opponent Buffalo that weekend in a three-game MAC series.
CAPTAIN, OH MY CAPTAIN
For the first time under third-year head coach Billy Gernon, Western Michigan has named captains for the season - senior infielder Patrick Duncan, junior outfielder Vinnie Booker and sophomore outfielder Jared Kujawa.
Senior INF Patrick Duncan and junior LHP Steve Laudicina were named Preseason Second Team All-MAC by College Sports Madness. Laudicina was also voted as one of the top three starting arms in the MAC in a coaches poll by CollegeBaseballInsider.com.
OUTSIDE THE LINES
Western Michigan has been getting the job done off the field as well. WMU had a team GPA of 3.25 this past fall, the highest for the baseball program on school record.