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BASEBALL NOTEBOOK: Blue Raiders wrap up first week of practice

Groundhog Luncheon set for Thursday at 11:30 a.m. at Murphy Center

February 1, 2012 · Athletic Communications
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - After opening up last Friday, the Middle Tennessee baseball team is beginning to settle in for another season of America's Pastime at Reese Smith Jr. Field.

"We've been very blessed that the weather has been on our side so far," head coach Steve Peterson said. "Hopefully that will continue because the only way to get better is to play. I'm very encouraged by our play this spring, especially in the defense, but we still have room to improve. The guys are working hard, and we just need to get our reps in and get better and better."

Fans will have plenty of chances to see the Blue Raiders in action this spring as Middle Tennessee begins the season with 11 straight games within the state of Tennessee, including 18 of the first 23 in Murfreesboro.

MT PUTS ON CLINIC

Last month, the Blue Raiders welcomed in nearly 125 aspiring baseball players for a free clinic as a part of the mentoring program between Middle Tennessee athletic department and Murfreesboro city schools.

"I think this is one of the best things that we've done since I've been here," associate head coach Jim McGuire said. "We're trying to get more involved with the community, and I think our players had fun and enjoyed it. We really had a great turnout, and I think it was a benefit for both the kids and the players."

The mini-camp, which took place at Murphy Center, focused on hitting, fielding and base-running.

"We had variety of kids at varying levels of experience," McGuire said. "Some kids were just learning to play the sport, and others had been playing for a while. We tried to work on everything, and we just wanted to introduce them to another game that they can have fun with."

GROUNDHOG LUNCHEON THURSDAY

The 39th annual Groundhog Luncheon is set to take place on Thursday at Murphy Center at 11:30 a.m. The event, which serves as a fundraiser for the Blue Raider baseball program, is marked by a unique speech from head coach Steve Peterson.

Tickets are $25 at the door, and the meal will be the traditional ham hocks, white beans, tomato salad, green onions, cornbread, chocolate cake and ice cream.

GUIDRY EXCITED FOR FINAL SEASON

Senior Justin Guidry is amid his fourth and final season with the Middle Tennessee baseball program, and as a former All-Sun Belt First Team selection, he's ready to go out in style.

We sat down with Guidry following practice on Wednesday.

You're going into your final preseason, what do you think of the first week of practice?

"I really like how our defense is this year. Everybody's got another year under the belt, and I think we've really improved. We've also been having really strong at bats so far. I think we''l be good."

What are your team and individual goals this year?

"We went to a regional my first year here, so I've really had high expectations for every year. I go into every season with a championship as my goal. For myself, I want to have a lot better season than I did last year. This season, I want to be able to come up to bat in clutch situations and provide for my team when they need it."

You are part of a pretty small senior class, how has that been?

"In the past we've had more seniors, so all three of us really have to step up and take on leadership roles. We're really going to try and go out and make the best of our last year here."

What is your favorite aspect of this year's team?

I really like our team chemistry. Everybody gets along off the field, and we have fun together. That's huge because it's a long season.

TICKETS NOW ON SALE

Season and single game tickets are also now on sale through the ticket office at Floyd Stadium. Ticket prices are as follows:

Season Tickets
Family Bleacher Pass: $60 (up to four people for each game)
Single Bleacher Pass: $45
Chairback seats: $45 plus donation requirement (contact the BRAA at 615-898-2210)

Single Game Tickets
Individual (excluding Vanderbilt and Tennessee): $6
Vanderbilt/Tennessee: $8

Follow the Blue Raiders on Twitter @MTAthletics for continued updates.