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Hyder's Highlights: MT Baseball returns to campus

Blue Raiders set to scrimmage this week

September 9, 2013 · @MTAthletics

Middle Tennessee baseball student asssistant Aaron Hyder will be writing a blog throughout the season that highlights what the Raiders are doing to prep for the 2014 season.

In this first installment, Hyder recaps the Raiders return to campus and previews what the team is working on this offseason. MT begins its' fall scrimmage season on Thursday, Sept. 12. 

Hyder's Highlights - MT Baseball returns to campus 

The end of August is typically associated to classes beginning and college football starting back up around the country.

It also means the Blue Raider baseball team reconvenes and starts back up for the fall practice period.

During the players first two weeks on campus, they have gone through 4-on-1 instruction periods. These are 30 minute periods where four players are allowed to work and craft their position with coaches. Players usually go in groups pertaining to their positions. The four kinds of groups are infielders, outfielders, pitchers, and catchers.

INFIELDERS

The infielders receive most of their instruction from Head Coach Jim McGuire. The Blue Raiders lost both middle infielders from last year due to graduation. This opens up the middle of the diamond for competition. This year's squad returns four infielders to the team and also welcomes four new candidates.

The infielders alternate their days between hitting and defense. The defensive periods are pretty intense. They receive fungos hit by the coaches for ten to twelve minutes straight. Many of these guys have not seen live ground balls off the bat for at least a month. This helps them get back in the feel of things and prepares them for intrasquads when team practice starts up.

OUTFIELDERS

The outfielders are coached by Scott Hall, who is also in his second year with Middle Tennessee. The Blue Raiders return five outfielders and welcome two newcomers. Many of the drills performed in the outfield relate to their footwork and how to properly track down fly balls. They also work on throws from the outfield to third and second base.

PITCHERS

The pitchers are under the tutelage of Skylar Meade, who is in his second year as MT's pitching coach. The pitching staff returns eight members from last year's squad. The staff will also welcome eight newcomers that will be looking to fill some spots due to last year's large graduating class.

During the first week, pitchers tossed only three days. It was nothing too exhausting, as they were just trying to get their arms back in shape and ready to go. In week two, the pitchers began throwing bullpens. Just like the infielders, this was most of the guys first time throwing off the mound since late July or early August. Meade limited the bullpens to a 30 pitch limit. Plenty of positives came from the bullpens. The pitching staff will look to progress even more throughout the fall.

CATCHERS

The catchers do most of their work with Volunteer Assistant Brandon Nolen, who is in his fourth year. Michael Adkins is the only returning catcher from last year's team. He welcomes three newcomers to the crew. The catchers work on handling pitches via a pitching machine. They also work on blocking pitches that are out of the zone. A lot of the work they do may seem tedious and tiring. It will pay its dividends though, hopefully coming up with a key block in a late game situation.

RETURN TO CAMPUS

The first two weeks on campus, as you can imagine, are very busy for these student athletes. They attend meetings concerning academics, NCAA rules, and social media etiquette. They also attend University Convocation, which takes place the Sunday before classes officially start up.

The first week of school was capped off by Middle Tennessee's first home football game. The Blue Raiders hosted the Western Carolina Catamounts. MT won the game, 45-24, to record their first win of the year. During halftime, the baseball team was honored, with all the other athletes, for being a part of MT's inaugural year in Conference USA.

The baseball staff also welcomed a number of prospective student athletes to take in the game and get a glimpse of what Murfreesboro is all about. During their visits, the prospective athletes take tours of the campus, watch some of the 4-on-1 workouts, and interact with some of the current athletes.

The players also have workout sessions in the weight room with Head Strength Coach Matt Riley. The players do some general testing drills the first week, i.e. broad jump, body fat percentage, and verticals. At the end of the fall, the players will be tested again to see what kind of improvements they have made.

All of these events will lead to the Blue Raiders being prepared for fall practice. The Raiders start team practice Sept. 12, which is open to the public. 

2013 FALL SCRIMMAGE SCHEDULE

Sept. 12 - 3 p.m. 
Sept. 13 - 3 p.m.
Sept. 18 - 3 p.m.
Sept. 19 - 3 p.m.
Sept. 23 - 3 p.m.
Sept. 26 - 3 p.m.
Sept. 27 - 3 p.m.
Sept. 28 - Noon
Oct. 1 - 3 p.m.
Oct. 3 - 3 p.m.
Oct. 4 - 3 p.m.
Oct. 6 - 1 p.m.
Oct. 7 - 3 p.m.
Oct. 8 - 3 p.m.
Oct. 10 - 3 p.m.
Oct. 11 - 3 p.m.
Oct. 16 - 3 p.m. 

2013 BLUE-WHITE WORLD SERIES SCHEDULE

Oct. 19 - Noon
Oct. 20 - 1 p.m.
Oct. 23 - 3 p.m.
Oct. 25 - 3 p.m.
 Oct. 26 - Noon  

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