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Jaguars open tournament against Gwinnett

By MIKE FORMAN
May 1, 2014 at 12:01 a.m.


Association of Independent Institutions Baseball Championships

(Central Daylight Time)

• UHV vs. Georgia Gwinnett, 9 a.m.

• (UHV wins) vs. loser of Cal State San Marcos vs. Fisher College, noon

• (UHV loses) vs. loser of LSU-Alexandria vs. Lindenwood, 9 a.m.

Cory Carter got a chance to attend a couple of games at Fenway Park when his family took a vacation in Boston.

The UHV senior also recalls visiting another site in the city.

"We just so happened to be walking around the city," Carter said. "We rounded the corner, and there was Fisher College, right there in the middle of downtown Boston. We took pictures right there in front of it."

Carter and his UHV teammates have returned to Boston for the Association of Independent Institutions Baseball Championship, which is being hosted by Fisher College.

The sixth-seed Jaguars (20-29) will open against top-seed Georgia Gwinnett (44-9) Friday at 9 a.m. CDT at Fraser Field in Lynn, Mass.

"It's a big rush especially in the tournament because you know which game you're going to pitch," Carter said. "You're waiting to get out there and compete and lay it out for your team."

Carter was the only UHV pitcher to get a win in last year's tournament at Riverside Stadium.

He knows the Jaguars will face a different challenge this season playing on the road.

"There's a lot of stuff going on with travel," he said. "All the guys are just having such a good time being away together. You have such a good time on the road; one of the toughest things is getting back in your set routine before the game.

"You just wake up at the hotel and try to take it like you're playing ball at LSU-Alexandria or in Austin or anywhere else we play."

The difference is the tournament is a double-elimination affair with a berth in the NAIA national tournament at stake.

UHV coach Terry Puhl knows the key to winning a tournament is pitching.

Puhl plans to go with a rotation of Orlando Quiroga, Nathan Falkenstine and Carter.

"I don't even want to see my bullpen out there other than (Andre) Del Bosque in a closing situation," Puhl said. "In order for us to win, our starters have to be very sharp early so that they're getting a lot of balls put in play early in the count.

"I don't want to see a lot of 3-2 counts. In order for us to move on, our starters are going to have to pitch deep, and they're going to have to pitch often."

Puhl also wants the Jaguars to play better defense and hit more consistently than they did in losing two out of three in their final regular-season series against LSU-Alexandria, which will be the tournament's second seed.

"We're the type of team that can beat a good team on a given day," he said. "It's all a matter of our pitchers going out there and doing well. Any one of these guys can do it."

NOTES

• Cal State San Marcos is the third seed, Fisher College the fourth seed and Lindenwood the fifth seed.

• UHV will be shorthanded. Pitcher/infielder Cory Hulsey will not play in the tournament. He was suspended four games for making contact with an umpire during Saturday's regular-season finale against LSU-Alexandria.

• Catcher Blake Diver was also suspended one for one game for being ejected.

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