The CSU club baseball team is ready to win the World Series.
After defeating Clemson, Virginia, and Ohio State in the national tournament last May, they could not pull off the victory against Texas A&M, losing 16-3 in the national championship game.
“Two years ago we took third place in the nation and last year we took second. So you can only guess what we want to do this year,” junior pitcher Barry Cleveland said.
Cleveland helped contribute to a strong pitching staff last year, throwing in 12 games with a 7.75 earned-run average and 25 strikeouts. The Rams also had a very powerful offensive showing, setting two team records last spring for home runs (37) and most wins (32).
The Rams had four All-Americans last season who strongly contributed to their success. Junior first baseman Drew Trainor and senior catcher Paul Olmsted were selected first team All-American, while sophomore third baseman Brooks Purdy and senior outfielder Mike Corbett were selected to the third team.
“Paul (Olmsted) and Drew (Trainor) are two big returners for us,” said Frank Gonzales, CSU head coach. “They are big hitters who are going to have to fill the three, four and five spots in our lineup. We look to them to carry us this year.”
Olmsted had a standout year last year batting .383 with 33 RBIs. He is in the top six in five categories in CSU baseball history, including RBIs, hits, runs scored, doubles and home runs.
According to Bill Hill, CSU club sports director, the baseball club is one of the most successful club programs at CSU. They even have a banner hanging in the Student Recreation Center displaying their Western Championship in 2000.
Although baseball is played year-round, according to Cleveland, the fall season is mostly preparation for the spring season, when the team plays all of its league games.
“In the fall we see who our players are and try to put together the starting pitcher rotation,” Gonzales said. “We see how they perform in games and get a feel for what our team is going to be like.”
The fall schedule includes teams like the University of Northern Colorado, the University of Wyoming and a trip to Texas in October. CSU will kickoff the fall season when it plays Northwestern Colorado Community
College in Rangely on Sept. 7.
Anyone who wants to learn more about the team can attend the informational meeting Sept. 3 at 7 p.m. in the Student Recreation Center. The baseball website, at csurams.com, says the team is looking for players who want to have fun but still maintain their competitive edge. Players who have been out of the game for a while due to injury or for any other reason have a great opportunity at CSU because no scholarships are awarded and it is not as serious as a varsity sport. Tryouts are tentatively scheduled for Sept. 4 through Sept. 8 at 3:15 p.m. at Ram Field on campus.