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Baseball team looks to improve with young team

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Baseball team looks to improve with young team

The 2019 baseball team practices at Segnette Field at the Alario Center. Photo credit: Andrew Wellmann

The 2019 baseball team practices at Segnette Field at the Alario Center. Photo credit: Andrew Wellmann

The 2019 baseball team practices at Segnette Field at the Alario Center. Photo credit: Andrew Wellmann

The 2019 baseball team practices at Segnette Field at the Alario Center. Photo credit: Andrew Wellmann

Andrew Wellmann

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Of the nearly 40 members of Loyola’s 2019 baseball team, only two will step onto the diamond as seniors.

The majority of the team, therefore, are young up-and-comers. While they adjust to a program with few veterans, Head Coach Doug Faust hopes more players will develop into leaders.

“Despite only having two seniors on the team, this year’s squad has more depth and experience compared to teams of the past,” Faust said.

The baseball team has welcomed 11 new players this year and brought back 26, compared to last season’s 14 freshmen and 20 returnees.

As the Wolf Pack team gears up for its 2019 season, they expect a tough road ahead. Four teams in Loyola’s conference ranked top 30 nationally last season, hindering the Pack’s chance at a Southern States Athletic Conference Championship.

“What makes our league so difficult is that every team in our league is good, very capable of beating anyone on a given day,” Faust said. “You need to be ready to play every day. There are no easy games.”

With menacing opponents on the horizon, Faust hopes his younger players step up to the plate and his veterans stick to their intuition.

“We have enough returning talent and experience to have a good season,” he said. “I expect us to have really good overall pitching. … We have really good hitters that had good seasons last year. Our biggest question mark will be infield defense. We have very capable infielders. It’s just a matter of putting them in the right place to be successful.”

For his final year on the team, economics senior Jesse Jordan believes Loyola is capable of more than just a conference championship.

“I want the team to come together and play as one,” Jordan said. “After that, the goal is to be nationally ranked in the top 25.”

Jordan believes he can bring much more than his talent to the team. He hopes to contribute his guidance, as well.

“What stands out the most this year is how much of a mentor I can be to the young guys,” he said. “It makes me feel old. … I have realized I can help guide younger guys so they can make the most out of college.”

The team is hoping to band together and improve on its 2018 season. Loyola went 26-31 and was knocked out by Faulkner University as the No. 8 seed in the conference championship.

For Jordan, a looming graduation date does not dominate his mindset. Instead, he’s preoccupied with ensuring a winning momentum for the Wolf Pack.

“It feels like any other season,” Jordan said. “I try not to think about how my playing time is running out, but I want to make every day a productive one. And I think that’s helped my focus.”

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Baseball team looks to improve with young team