The CSU Bakersfield baseball team is hoping to rebound after a tumultuous offseason which saw its head coach be relieved of his duties and replaced with interim head coach Jeremy Beard.
Former head coach Bob Macaluso was relieved of his duties on Dec. 16, 2016.
Beard will be the third head coach in as many seasons for the Roadrunners.
After winning the Western Athletic Conference tournament and clinching a spot in the Division I Regionals in 2015, the Roadrunners finished with a record of 19-37 last season.
“The thing that were doing right now is working on moving forward and taking each day one day at a time,” said Beard. “We just want to worry about the things we can control.”
The offense will be sparked by senior infielder David Metzgar, who was the WAC tournament MVP in 2015. Metzgar led the team with 47 runs batted in last season and also ranked second on the team with a .305 batting average.
Metzgar, along with senior pitcher and infielder Max Carter, have been named to the preseason all-conference team by the coaches of the WAC.
However, the area of concern for the Roadrunners is not with the offense, but with the pitching staff.
CSUB struggled on the mound with a 5.79 earned run average. The Roadrunners also didn’t win a game in which they failed to score at least four runs.
“We’re asking our guys to do a lot,” said Beard. “Most programs have a deeper pitching staff than us; however, we’re going to work hard to develop the guys that we do have that are healthy and ready to go.”
CSUB will be tested throughout the season with a tough nonconference schedule.
The Roadrunners will open their season at home against the reigning Pacific-12 Conference Champion University of Utah.
The home portion of the schedule also includes a series against Brigham Young University, against UC Santa Barbara, University of Nebraska, CSU Northridge and UC Irvine.
The nonconference road schedule for CSUB is also not very forgiving. These matchups include series against the University of Creighton, UC Riverside and Arizona State University.
“Our schedule is one of the better schedules in the country,” said Beard. “We’re at Creighton, and that’ll be a great experience for our guys, to play where the College World Series is at, and hopefully we get to play there again in June.”
The Roadrunners were slated to begin their season on Friday, Feb. 17 against Utah. However, rain forced the game to be postponed. The two teams will now play a doubleheader on Saturday, Feb. 18. The first game will begin at 2 p.m. with the second game starting approximately 45 minutes after the conclusion of the first contest.