February 18, 2009
This weekend's opening baseball series against Youngstown State will be a freshman showcase. The Diamond Dawgs signed a stellar recruiting class this past year and the opening day lineup will reflect that success. Coach David Perno said five freshmen should start Friday night in a recent interview with AM 960 The Ref. (Image: The Red & Black)
Colby May will start at third as expected. Levi Hyams gets the nod at second, although Perno said veterans Thoms and Starr will start the weekend's other two games. The outfield will start three freshmen: Johnathan Taylor in left, Zach Cone in center, and Chase Davidson in right. Wow. Perno raved about Zach Cone in the interview, but hinted that Matt Cerione will likely take over in center when he comes off suspension.
This is the most starting freshman in a Perno lineup. Some might argue that this lineup is cause for concern. After all, playing freshmen in a game where experience counts can be a losing proposition. Plus, a freshman is just physically weaker and less developed than a junior. I would counter that you need the type of youth and talent these freshmen represent, but it needs to be mixed with veterans like Holder, Poythress, and Massanari. LSU played a lot of talented freshmen last year and were on the brink of a mediocre season. But their young team woke up and won 23 straight games, including the SEC Tournament. So, is this cause for concern or celebration?
Also, for your bat connoisseurs, Anthony Dasher at UGASports.com reports that the Dawgs have been authorized to use Easton composite bats this year, defying their exclusive Nike contract. No more equipment excuses.