The Diamond Dawgs were back in scrimmage action Tuesday at Dudy Noble Field. With weather that actually felt like baseball season was right around the corner. The game ended in a 4-4 tie, but it was the most well rounded scrimmage yet. Kendall Graveman and Trevor Fitts faced off against each other, and both had their ups and downs.
“Today was a good day, I think we swung the bats well, and some pitchers like Kendall Graveman were coming back from injury. For him coming back from a long break, it’s tough to get back into it, but he threw strikes and I think he did a good job. Overall, we swung the bats well,” said freshmen outfielder Jacob Robson.
Robson finished the day going 1-3 with an infield single off of the rear of Daryl Norris. As noted when he signed, Robson is a speedster. He will make an immediate impact on this baseball team, and he said at first it was a little difficult adapting to living in Mississippi coming from Canada.
“Kyle (Hann) and I are both from the city. He’s from a few hours away, but we both come from cities with high population and a lot of industry, business, and the economy is going up. So it is a lot different coming here, where there is not too many people around, but we both enjoy it.”
Robson added that, “It was tough to get use to at first, but we enjoy it. The biggest think I thought we like the most is that the people down here are really nice, and really supportive of the team, so we are happy about that.”
Along with speed, Robson believes he can bring energy to this ball club.
“I think the biggest thing is energy. Baseball is a game where you have to stay at one level. You can’t get too high; you can’t get too low, but at the same time you have to bring high energy. I think I can definitely bring that along with some speed for sure.”
With guys like Robson, Henderson, and Bradford, the Bulldogs will have a much stronger running game than in the past, and that fits perfect into Coach Cohen’s small ball approach.
Tuesday’s scrimmage did not start off the way Graveman hoped for on a rare warm January day. Coming off of offseason sports hernia surgery, Graveman was able to retire the first batter followed by a triple off the bat of CT Bradford, and an RBI double by Hunter Renfroe. An error by first baseman Wes Rea on a Trey Porter sharply hit ground ball would plate Renfroe, and make it 2-0 with only one out.
A third earned run would come in the fourth inning after Graveman was replaced on the mound by Preston Brown, who walked Alex Detz with the bases loaded. The runner on third was Graveman’s responsibility. Kendall finished the day allowing 3 runs (2 earned), 4 hits, and 2 strikeouts, over three and 1/3 innings pitched. His counterpart Tanner Fitts finished the day allowing 1 earned run, 3 hits, and 1 strikeout, over three solid innings of work.
Freshmen Myles Gentry had the roughest day on the mound allowing 3 earned runs, 2 hits, 2 walks, 1 strikeout, and also hit a batter over 2/3 of an inning. CT Bradford would relieve him and strikeout Adam Frazier on a nasty breaking ball.
The most consistent offensive player of the day was catcher Nick Ammirati. “Ammo” had two very sharply hit singles, both resulting in RBI’s. Tyler Fullerton also had a hit, stole two bases, walked, scored two runs, and reached on an error by Matthew Britton.
Overall the Bulldogs looked solid again. These freshmen and transfers are going to play a big role this season, and with the leadership of a mostly veteran team, the Bulldogs should be able to live up to their #5 preseason ranking. The Diamond Dawgs will scrimmage again this Friday and as always, it will be open to the public.
Tuesday Scrimmage Notes:
• Catcher Nick Ammirati continued to have a hot bat, while also still playing great defense. The Bulldogs will for sure have a reliable backup catcher if Slauter needs a day off.
• Infielder Matthew Britton had his fourth error in the last two days, but also dropped a perfect sacrifice bunt in the second inning.
• Center fielder CT Bradford hit a bullet into the gap for a triple, singled, scored two runs, stole a base, and struck out the only batter he faced.
• Third Baseman Daryl Norris had a solid day. He singled, stole a base, walked, and scored a run. On the mound, he gave up one hit and got the game ending double play ball.
• Redshirt Freshmen Infielder Nick Flair had a bases loaded two RBI single.