UCF Knights baseball held media day this past Tuesday as the season kicks off this weekend, February 14th.
Coach Rooney is excited about joining the American Athletic Conference and looks forward to the new competition. Rooney stated that there are some outstanding teams in this conference, but the Knights are ready for the competition.
The Knights will be entering this season with 24 newcomers on the roster, and only 11 returning players. When both coach Rooney and junior pitcher Eric Skoglund were asked about the team chemistry, they both stated that it is great. Skoglund said that the players would get together over the fall for cookouts, where they would play volleyball, chat and just get to know each other.
Rooney made sure that he established some guidelines with the newcomers in the fall and told them it will take time for him to understand their tendencies but when the season starts, they are playing to win. The difference between this year and others for the team is the rotation of position players. “There will be a lot of players playing different positions,” Rooney said. “We are 13-15 positions deep of players that can play at this level.”
As far as this weekend goes for the opening series, the Knights will be starting junior pitcher Eric Skoglund on Friday, junior Spencer Davis on Saturday, and freshman Robby Howell Sunday. Rooney came to this conclusion over the past few practices.
Skoglund, who had a rough outing last year against Siena, is excited to get some revenge. He is confident that this year will be different and he does feel more secure on the mound.
For this opening series, it will be a game of change for the Knights. Rooney will have multiple new faces on the field, but as he shuffles the lineup, believes there are still some good position battles going on. It will take time to find a consistent lineup that can be used game in and game out.
With 24 newcomers and a new season, there is only hope for this year’s baseball team. Coach Rooney has a major goal this year and that is to lead his team to Omaha to play in the College World Series.
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