‘Runners return to the diamond

Michael Canelo, Sports Reporter

  The CSU Bakersfield baseball team will take the diamond after nearly a year since their last game. Due to COVID-19, their 2020 season was cut short.  

  CSUB will open up its 2021 campaign with a three-game weekend series at Fresno State’s Pete Beiden Field at the Bob Bennett Stadium starting Feb. 26.  

  To keep their bodies in shape, CSUB players prepared for the season mostly via Zoom. It has not been easy for CSUB baseball, but they are determined to have a season this year. 

  “I know a lot of guys were in quarantine because they are here in California. But for me, I was actually able to play summer ball in Florida, so I was able to face other competitors. For me, I had it a bit easier and was able to stay on my stuff,” CSUB senior pitcher Aaron Charles said.  

  CSUB welcomed back a well-rounded pitching staff with upperclassmen leading the way.  

  “Since we got back, I could see a difference in our pitching staff. I could tell that they been working hard during the quarantine and I think we are going to hit the ground running,” Charles said. 

  Not only are they starting a new season, but they are now part of the Big West,  one of the best baseball conferences in Division I. The Big West is known for being a conference of strong pitchers, but the bats of the `Runners will be ready. 

  “I think the biggest thing this year is that our guys know how to play with their strengths. In the past, we have lacked power, but this year we are balanced. The coaches did a great job in recruit some guys and filling those holes on offense. We have a lot of guys that could run and hit for power,” senior first baseman James Terrazas said. 

  Starting a new conference without creating chemistry between players, the upcoming season will present many different challenges for the CSUB baseball team. This season will be like no other, but players said they are ready to begin and excited to compete in the Big West.  

  “It is going to come down to who executes and who does not. All coaches in this conference are good. We need to be detail-oriented. That is one thing that I am proud of my guys of. They are picking up things fast,” CSUB head coach Jeremy Beard said.  

  Going up against some of the best teams in the country, being a part of the Big West will help the CSUB baseball team find new ways to grow and learn from their teammates, and their competition.  

  “I would not count this group of people out of anything. I think the sky is the limit. We are playing for Omaha. Our message is to take this one pitch at a time, but do not give those teams much credit, this is about playing the game the right way,” Beard said.  

  The `Runners will play two non-conference series before opening Big West, playing against UC Riverside on March 19 at Hardt Field. The first pitch is scheduled for 3 p.m.