The 3rd Man In

Milwaukee opens season in California

Baseball is back! While it might be snowing in Milwaukee, the Panthers will begin their season with a three game set against CSU Bakersfield in sunny California. This will mark the 50th baseball season for the Panthers as they try to capture another Horizon League crown.

Milwaukee has not had great success in home openers in the past only going 4-19 at the D-I level. This will also be the first time the Panthers and Roadrunners have ever played each other.

Bakersfield went 37-22 overall last season, while going a solid 18-9 in the Western Athletic Conference. This success along with some solid players returning from a year ago has put them as the favorite to win the WAC in 2014.

Senior infielder, Oscar Sanay is the Roadrunners top offensive player returning as he hit .362 with a .446 on-base percentage. He has been selected as a preseason National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association All-American.

The Panthers were selected as the Horizon League favorite with All-American Mike Porcaro returning, but this will not be an easy test for them. Senior lefty Tyler Thicke will be getting the Opening Day start for the Panthers, and his performance will be key as they try to get off on the right foot.

Milwaukee of course has not been able to practice outside at all this season, so it should be interesting to see how they perform getting their first taste of playing ball outdoors. Panther pitchers will need to set the tone early, getting ahead of the batters and making them earn every at-bat. If they can do this, Milwaukee will have a chance to win this series.

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