UHV back on the field for fall workouts
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What: Fall baseball practice
When: 3 p.m. Monday
Where: Riverside Stadium
The UHV baseball team will be back at Riverside Stadium on Monday for the first time since ending the 2012 season with a 15-6 win over LSU-Alexandria in April.
The Jaguars finished with 20-29 and failed to earn a berth in the Association of Independent Institutions tournament.
Coach Terry Puhl expects to have 29 players, including 10 freshmen, on hand for the first fall workout.
UHV will practice every week, with the exception of Thanksgiving week, until the end of November.
The Jaguars begin regular-season workouts the second week in January.
Following are five things to watch from the Jaguars this fall.
Putting together a pitching staff
Puhl and pitching coach Doug Heinold welcome back juniors Cory Carter and Nathan Falkenstine and sophomore Brayden Blanton, a St. Joseph graduate. A key could be senior Nick Huff's ability to make the transition from closer to starter. Puhl said he and Heinold have some candidates in mind for a closer and they will take a look at the incoming freshmen for the rotation and bullpen.
Finding team leaders
Puhl said he's not sure what position senior Chad Kruse will play, but he will find a place for him on the field. Kruse transferred to UHV from Sam Houston State last season and played for the Victoria Generals over the summer. Puhl appreciates Kruse's role in the locker room as much as the energy he brings to the field. Puhl will also look to seniors Corti Wilson and Tyler Steiner to help guide the younger players.
Learning to compete
The Jaguars have played scrimmages against Alvin Community College during past fall practices. UHV will take a different course this season and play a number of intrasquad scrimmages. Puhl said the scrimmages should begin about two weeks into practice. "We get a lot more out of it," Puhl said. "It gives us a chance to see what they can do in game situations."
Looking for players
Once the rotation and bullpen is set, Puhl will configure a lineup to go into the spring. "I want to see if there are any surprises from our young talent," Puhl said. "I want to get to know these guys. I'll be watching them every day. The first week we'll be getting into the flow. But most of these guys have been throwing and should be ready."
Getting back to the postseason
Puhl said returning to the postseason won't be easy. Competing as a NAIA independent, UHV has difficulty scheduling games and plays NCAA Division I and II teams. "Not being in the Red River Conference, we're really at a disadvantage with our schedule. They don't recognize the strength of the teams on our schedule. We have to come out of the gate better than we have. We don't have many soft games. We've got to do well."