GCU Club Baseball 2019 Season Preview: No Longer New Kids on the Block
By David Carter/GCU Staff
“They were telling their friends in the tournament, ‘Don’t sleep on GCU. These guys are good, and they could make a run.’”
According to Grand Canyon University Club Baseball’s first baseman, Zach Broussely, prospective National Club Baseball Association (NCBA) World Series teams that DIDN’T make the trip to North Carolina were saying that about Grand Canyon University Club Baseball before the coveted event began last May. It took a full week of convincing the teams actually IN the field to earn respect, and land the Lopes’ Division I team a 3rd-place finish in the nation.
The Lopes’ Division 1 team was not the only team that stood out last year, though. The Division II team also competed at a high level, and reached the Southern Pacific Regionals in Lancaster, California, last April as well.
GCU Division 1 Team
The Lopes’ D1 Team will take the momentum from winning their first-ever SoPac Region title last May into a 2019 schedule that features strong teams from Arizona, California and Colorado.
Before that, the team will fine-tune things with games against community colleges in January, February and March.
“It gives our hitters a chance to see 14-18 at bats before seeing club teams,” said Lopes Head Club Baseball Coach Rich Warnol. “Pitchers get to face live hitters prior to any club play as well.”
The first sevem matchups between January 26 and February 12 are against community colleges before the Lopes begin collegiate club baseball play against Colorado Mesa University in a three-game series February 16 and 17.
Following Colorado Mesa University, the Lopes travel to Tucson for a three-game matchup with University of Arizona to begin SoPac play.
When GCU returns home, they’ll get a ‘big-league feel’ when they host conference rival University of California, San Diego (UCSD) at Brazell Field, home of the Lopes’ NCAA DI Baseball team on the GCU campus.
“It is definitely a privilege that we get to play there,” said Warnol. “We are different than most schools in that we get to play in our Division I baseball facility.”
After a few more community college tuneups, the Lopes will complete conference play against Arizona State University, defending NCBA D2 Champion San Diego State University, and one last series at Brazell Field against Northern Arizona University.
The Lopes officially have targets on their backs as well, since the 2019 Rawlings NCBA D1 Preseason Top 20 released earlier this week placed GCU No. 3. Only No. 1 East Carolina University and No. 2 (and defending national champion) Penn State University were ahead of them.
The D1 team begins play on Saturday, January 26 at Glendale Community College in Glendale at noon.
Division II Team
“Last year, the Division II team went 3-3 against the Division II World Series Champion San Diego State.”
That statement from Warnol puts into perspective how good the Lopes’ Division II team could be, since San Diego State moved up since winning the NCBA Division II World Series to Division 1, and are now in the Division I Southern Pacific South Conference with the Lopes’ DI squad.
“They are looking to get back to Lancaster for the 2nd year in the row,” said Warnol. “They also have a tough schedule with Cal State San Marcos and UCSD.”
The D2 team, unlike the D1 team, competes only in matchups against collegiate club teams during the season. In fact, the first game of their season is against the Arizona Christian University (ACU) JV team on Saturday, February 2 at 11:00 am at ACU.
The goals for both teams, you ask? Very simple.
“To be competitive,” said Warnol, “and hopefully be at the regional to qualify for the world series.”
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