Alcorn ready to tackle baseball season with new coach

Published 1:03 am Saturday, March 6, 2010

LORMAN — Three things are on Alcorn State baseball coach Barret Rey’s mind, and those three things are the key to a championship season, he said.

“It’s what I tell them every year,” Rey said. “All we need is defense, situational pitching and situational hitting. If we have those three things, we’ll be alright.”

And Rey said he’s not satisfied with simply making the SWAC championship game. The Braves did last year, only to lose 11-7 against Southern University.

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“We want to make it back, without a doubt,” Rey said. “But we don’t want to just be content with just getting there this year. We want to win, and we won’t be satisfied until we win.

“This is a mature team, with a lot of juniors that were in the championship game last year. If we do things right — if we don’t beat ourselves — we’re going to be awfully tough to beat.”

Rey singled out hitting as his team’s biggest strength, and said his players’ athleticism has allowed him the flexibility to move them around to different positions.

“We can swing the bat,” Rey said. “We’re a pretty athletic team, too, and our success is going to come from our hitting and athleticism.

“We moved guys like Brandon Hollis to shortstop from the outfield, and Edgar Alvarez from second to third base. For Brandon, that transition is tough, because he’s never played shortstop at the D-1 level. But he’s very athletic, and I think that athletic ability will allow him to (transition easily).”

As far as things to improve, Rey said his team’s defense would have to get better, and that his fielders would have to cut down on errors.

“Our biggest problem is mostly errors and giving away runs, and not making three outs when needed. We can’t be giving away extra outs. It’s frustrating, especially from a pitching standpoint, because they know they should be out of the inning, but they’re being forced to make extra pitches.

“It doesn’t just affect the (starting pitcher), though, it affects the whole team. You’re out there longer, and the pitch count is going up. That makes us have to go deeper into the bullpen than we would like to.”

Rey said ace Collin Arnold is someone that will be key to setting the tone for every three-game series Alcorn plays in this year.

“He’s a left-handed pitcher that pounds the strike zone and uses his changeup,” Rey said. “We’re a tough team with him going on that first day.”

Rey also pointed out several players on offense whom he expects to step up as leaders.

“Our catcher, David Reed, he’s been here for five years, and has started four. He’s our backbone, the heart and soul of our team.

“Left fielder and starting pitcher Joshua Brumfield, and center fielder Ken Rowan are also guys I expect to step up. Our first baseman, Eduardo Gonzalez, he’s the ultimate baseball player and competitor. He’s batting in the three-hole, and has protection in the four-hole with Kilby Perdomo, who’s a junior college transfer.”

Alcorn sits at 4-4 so far this season, and will travel to the University of North Florida today for a weekend series.