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The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Wildcat baseball still a conference-wide threat

Dave Taylor. Photo credit: Yoselin Calderon” height=”682

Unfortunately, there is no textbook, fool-proof way for a baseball club to bounce back after losing two-thirds of its starting lineup.

Luckily, Wildcat fans shouldn’t worry. To compensate for the loss of seasoned veterans, Chico State baseball coach Dave Taylor is prepared for the upcoming season.

Boasting a rap sheet that in eight seasons has seen five championship tournament appearances, one Division II College World Series berth and an overall 266-130 record, it’s no secret that he’s well-suited for the season ahead.

“The last three years have been the toughest it’s been in my 18 years in the conference,” Taylor said.

Despite having three difficult seasons, the Wildcats competed in the playoffs each time with one World Series appearance. Unfortunately, most of the participants have since graduated.

“You can’t substitute experience,” Taylor said. “People talk about rebuilding, we don’t like to rebuild. We like to reload.”

Taylor said he is providing the team with realistic goals, something that’s important for a successful spring.

“Our game is about trying to win innings,” Taylor said.

This season, the biggest threat Wildcat baseball players bring to the table is their pitching staff and defense.

“We have the guys to compete in our conference,” Taylor said. “We’ve always hung our hat on pitching and defense.”

Gold Glove winning shortstop Cody Slader flawlessly executes a backhanded play on a hard chopper to record the out at first on the practice field, clearly illustrating the importance of the team’s defense.

Between optimizing performance among newcomers and capitalizing on their ability to prevent opponents from scoring runs, the 2014 Wildcats baseball team possesses the means necessary to dominate within their conference.

The 2014 baseball season kicks off on Feb. 1 in Chico against Fresno Pacific.

Gregory Burns can be reached at [email protected] or @Gburns92 on Twitter.


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