Boise State baseball splits fall exhibition

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After a long, 40-year dormancy, men’s baseball has officially returned to Boise State University. 

On Oct. 4 and 5, Boise State debuted their new baseball team in back-to-back home scrimmages against the Northwest Nazarene University Nighthawks and the Montana State University (MSU) Billings. 

Neither exhibition game counted toward Boise State’s official record or number of games.

The Broncos’ 11-9 win against the Nighthawks and the 26-8 loss against the Billings revealed the strengths and weaknesses of Boise State baseball and what to possibly expect in the spring 2020 season.

Pitching

The Broncos often struggled to keep momentum on the pitcher’s mound. Against both teams, the pitching position underwent several substitutions as a result of numerous walks and hit by pitches.

On Friday, however, true freshman pitcher Stu Flesland pitched six shut-out innings against Northwest Nazarene. During those innings, he struck out eight batters and only allowed one hit.

Flesland expressed that each Boise State pitcher, including himself, can improve before spring season by taking advantage of their coaching, specifically pitching coach Brock Huntzinger. 

“If we just listen to Brock, then we’ll all get better,” Flesland said.

Defense

The Broncos’ defense responded slowly to the fast momentum of their opponents’ offense. For example, in both the seventh and ninth innings against MSU, Boise State allowed the Billings to score seven runs.

From his view behind home plate, redshirt senior catcher Corey Meyer attributed the high number of opposing runs to the infancy of the team. 

“As a whole, we’re going to have to start communicating and getting a little bit better feel for each other and our team chemistry and how we’re putting stuff together on the field,” Meyer said.

Hitting

Boise State’s run game was dominant in multiple innings, although was ultimately inconsistent. The Broncos that gained five runs in the bottom of the second inning versus Northwest Nazarene played like a separate team from the Broncos that were scoreless for the last five innings against MSU.

Despite the variable success of the offense, true freshman shortstop Cole Posey made a name for himself by hitting three home runs this weekend. Posey’s strong performance marked the beginning of his college career and established him as a key member of the Boise State offense.

“It’s awesome, you know? It’s really exciting and it felt really great,” Posey said.

Overall

The Boise State men’s baseball team has a lot of maturing to do before the 2020 season. However, this is expected of a team with little to no history, and each athlete knew there would be a learning curve.

Head coach Gary Van Tol remains optimistic about the road ahead, and he described this weekend’s failures as an opportunity for growth. 

“Every day having an opportunity to be out here with our guys is just another step in the right direction,” Van Tol said.

Despite the difficulty of starting a program, Posey explained how grateful he is to take part in the legacy. 

“Into the future, looking back on it, this is going to be something we can all tell our kids about —being in a first year program and hopefully building a dynasty here,” Posey said. “That’s something really exciting.” 

Until a stadium is constructed closer to campus, all Boise State baseball home games will occur at Memorial Stadium in Garden City. 

The spring 2020 season officially starts for the Broncos on Feb. 28 at home in a faceoff against the University of Northern Colorado. 

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