2001 Bulldog Baseball

Season Outlook

2001 NAIA Preseason Baseball Top 25 Poll

Union’s baseball program has some key roles to fill in the 2001 season after losing 12 seniors from last years TranSouth Championship squad. The Bulldogs have added five Junior College transfers and five freshmen to this year’s team to join the 12 returning players. Head coach, Andy Rushing believes this team is talented enough to compete in postseason play. Union will host this years TranSouth Conference Tournament. With a TranSouth regular season or tournament championship, they will earn a trip to the Region XI Tournament, which will be held in Birmingham, Alabama.

The Bulldogs will be tested early when they open their season February 1 in Montgomery, Alabama against tough NAIA competition. During the season, Union will not only battle in the always tough TranSouth Conference, but will also square off in nine games against NCAA II opponents, including powerhouse teams like North Alabama and Delta State. The Bulldogs will open their conference play on March 9 at home as they match up with Birmingham-Southern College, 2000’s Region XI Champion.

The battle for the No. 1 spot in the rotation is up for grabs with the two candidates being sophomores Blake Allen and transfer Ron Henson. Junior transfer from Jackson State Corey Lay will fill the third spot as a weekend starter. Junior Joseph Talley led the Bulldogs last season with eight saves and will occupy the closer role for Coach Fronabarger’s pitching staff. The lone senior pitcher, Rodney Deaton, junior Chuck Washburn, and freshman Nash Powell will be used as spot starters and middle relief. Junior transfer from the University of Memphis, Sam Neely, will serve as relief and some possible closing situations.

Senior catcher, Seth Bennett will start as the Bulldogs’ catcher. Senior Jamie Mosely and freshman Marc Glass will add some backup for Bennett during the season. Mosely will not only backup the catching position, but also be able to play some first base and right field for head coach Andy Rushing.

The Bulldog infield took the smallest hit from last season’s exodus of seniors, losing only Giles at second base and Davidson at first. Senior, Josh Fronabarger and sophomore, Roger Cook will split time at first base and the designated hitter spot. Both Fronabarger and Cook saw time at first last season. Blake Wilsford, a senior, will start at shortstop and the very capable freshman backup, Joey Price, will add depth to the position. Junior third baseman, Jeff Wyatt will again occupy the hot corner with hopes of regaining his the numbers from his freshman campaign after battling a hamstring injury for much of last season. Doug Taylor, a junior transfer from Neosho County Community College in Kansas will start at second base with junior Brad Taylor serving as backup. Brad Taylor will also be used as the Bulldogs’ leading pinch hitter in the 2001 season.

With all three outfielders from the 2000 conference championship team having graduated, Coach Rushing will send three new and very capable athletes to roam the spacious outfield at Union. Senior, Stephen Russell, who did see some time in the outfield last season, will get the nod. Freshman, Joel Hysmith will get the start in center field and assume the role of leadoff for the Bulldogs. Travis Moore, a junior transfer from Motlow State Community College will fill the final spot in the outfield. Freshman, Matt Glass has great speed and arm strength that will give him plenty of opportunities to contribute both offensively and defensively.

This team has a lot of new faces in the starting lineup. But at the same time will field enough talent to once again top the 40-win plateau and advance to NAIA post-season play.

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