Nevada baseball coach Gary Powers has been chomping at the bit to get started, and that time has finally arrived.
The Wolf Pack, coming off a 26-28 season and third-place finish in the Western Athletic Conference post-season tournament, open the 2007 season with a three-game series in Moraga, Calif., against the Saint Mary's College Gaels.
All three games of the series start at 1 p.m. This is the start of a 12-game road trip for the Pack, who play UC Riverside, Cal-Poly San Luis Obispo and Paciific over the next four weekends.
That's a big undertaking when you consider Nevada has 21 new players on its 37-man roster.
"Every year (at this time) you look forward to getting it going," said Powers, who is starting his 26th season at the helm. "We've been at it since early September trying to get ready for what we're going to do.
"What I'm looking for in the first month of the season is to get everyone to understand the intensity level needed to play, and how to control their own environment."
Certainly Powers is a coach who likes to win, but he seems more concerned with getting the team ready for the long haul.
"We're going to do everything we can so we can be competitive by the time we get to the conference season in six or seven weeks," Powers said. "We just need to get them going full speed by that time.
"We're going to try and win every game, but we can't get caught up with what record we have to have after 18 games. The competitive spirit in these guys will take care of that."
This is a different group than last year. The team has more depth, and Powers has a group of 13 or 14 guys that can step into a starting role. That group is led by returnees Matt Bowman of Dayton (.376), Bake Krukow (.270) and Terry Walsh (.293).
"We're going to be platooning because of that," Powers said. "We want to get these guys as many at-bats as we can."
Senior Ryan Rodriguez gets the start today. Rodriguez went 7-7 with a 4.87 ERA last season, and Powers feels the right-hander is ready to take over the top spot in the rotation.
"I think he's going to have a real good year," Powers said. "He's developed a third pitch. He's worked hard on his change-up. He can throw it at any time."
Newcomers Rod Scurry, formerly of Galena High, and Mario Rivera, both JC transfers, have been tabbed to start the Saturday and Sunday games. Ben Colton and Kyle Howe are also battling for starting spots.
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NEVADA (0-0) at SAINT MARY'S (0-0)
When: Today through Sunday, 1 p.m. each day
Where: Lou Guisto Field
Pitching match-ups: Today - Ryan Rodriguez vs. SMC's Paul Gleason; Saturday - Rod Scurry vs. SMC's Brandon Bert; Sunday - Mario Rivera vs. Michael Nisco
Nevada starters: c Konrad Schmidt; 1b Dan Eastham (.228), Jacob Kaup or Shaun Kort; 2b - Dan Ciarlo (.222); SS - Chris Siewert; 3B - Tyson Jacquez or Matt Bowman (.376); LF - Mike Hale; CF - Nick Sansone; RF - Bowman or Terry Walsh (.293); DH - Bake Krukow (.270) or Walsh.