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Blue Raiders Begin Baseball Practice

September 4, 2003 · MT Media Relations
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - The defending Sun Belt Conference Tournament champion Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders began baseball practice this week with intrasquad scrimmages and practices with almost 60 players participating in the drills, including 41 in uniform.

Steve Peterson begins his 17th season at the helm of the program after taking the Blue Raiders to their 11th NCAA Regional and seventh during his tenure in 2003. Middle Tennessee returns 22 letterwinners from last season's 33-win club, including nine position players with at least 30 starts and all but one pitcher from the 2003 staff. Thirteen juniors and six seniors compose almost half of the 41-man roster.

"We have a lot of returning players, and hopefully we won't have a false sense of security during the fall because of all the experience," Peterson said. "We have to find out if they are a year better and if they can take advantage of opportunities.

"We have a large number of walk-ons and I'm always encouraged by that. They will get an opportunity to show what they can do, but with so many returning players, this will be a difficult club to make."

A long list of injuries has sidelined several players, with more than 15 on the daily injury report. But all but sophomore Marcus Taylor, senior Derek Phillips and freshman Adam Warren are expected to participate during the five-week practice period. Sophomore Shay Horseman is questionable after being diagnosed this week with mononucleosis.

Middle Tennessee will practice for five weeks, concluding with the Blue & White World Series the weekend of October 3-5. Practices and scrimmages are open to the public at Reese Smith Field, with all action beginning at approximately 2:30 p.m. each day.

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