The Richmond Spiders baseball team is going into its season with quiet confidence after a disappointing 20-31-2 season in 2008, coach Mark McQueen said at Virginia Commonwealth University's Siegel Center on Wednesday.
VCU hosted a college baseball forum for local college baseball players and coaches to answer questions from the media.
"We didn't do so well last year, in terms of wins and losses," McQueen said. "Last year we came into the season thinking we were going to be pretty good. But then we got some injuries and things started to go a little sour. We started losing some confidence, and we struggled the rest of the season."
Injuries plagued the Spiders early last season. During its first 12 games of the season, the team lost a shortstop, third baseman, two pitchers and its dominant closer, Brian Alas, who holds the Spiders' single-season record for saves.
McQueen said the team had done a good job preparing itself for the new season.
"I think that they are confident, maybe they have a bit of a chip on their shoulder," he said. "They are eager to prove that last year was a fluke."
Pitching could be an area of concern for the Spiders this season because the staff is composed of seven juniors, who, because of injuries or other reasons, have not had much playing time.
"They've got talent," McQueen said. "So if they can take that to the field and give us a chance, then we could do quite well. I feel good about our offense. We swung the bats pretty good last year and we didn't lose a lot there in the off-season."
VCU's head coach Paul Keyes told the crowd at the Siegel Center that his team, which had a disappointing last season as well, was going to forget about last year completely.
"We didn't have a season last year," he said. "I was on sabbatical and we didn't win any games so that's what I told my team. We didn't have a season. We're going to forget about it and we are not going to draw any lessons from it. It didn't happen."
Spiders captain Ryan Metzroth said that he was going to remember last season.
"I'm not going to lie," he said. "I'm thinking about it because I was there. I was part of it."
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Metzroth said the team wanted to get off to a good start so that they could make a run at the Atlantic 10 conference playoffs. Having the players who were injured early last season would add the depth the team needed to stay competitive late into the season.
Contact staff writer David Larter at firstname.lastname@example.org
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