Much like spring practice for college football, fall practice in college baseball is a two-month self-examination of what a team needs to work on before the start of the regular season.
For College of Charleston coach Monte Lee, it was a chance to get an informal look at some of his young pitchers.
The Cougars lost nearly 70 percent of their pitching from the 2012-13 staff and will have to rely on young, untested arms as they venture into the Colonial Athletic Association for the first time this season.
“We’ve got so many newcomers on the mound and this really gave us a chance to see what they could do and hopefully define some roles for some guys before we start the regular season,” Lee said. “I think we accomplished everything that we needed to accomplish during the fall. We just won’t know for sure how some of these young guys are going to do on the mound until we they play in a game that really matters.”
Lee figures three freshman — Tyler Thornton, Hayden McCutcheon and Bailey Ober — will throw significant innings for the Cougars once their season begins on Valentine’s Day against North Carolina.
“The biggest question mark for us is how they respond with pretty meaningful roles once the season starts,” Lee said. “Tyler had a very good outing in our Fall World Series. He’s a big, physical guy that can throw 90 miles per hour.
“Hayden had a really good fall. He’s going to be a real solid guy for us. I could see both of those guys starting for us on Sunday and during a mid-week game as freshmen. Bailey is 6-8 and could log some significant innings for us this season.”
Sophomore pitcher Eric Bauer, a junior college transfer from the College of Central Florida, also will be counted on this season.
“He had to sit out last season due to an injury, but Eric should help us out,” Lee said.
Lee said the Cougar position players had a strong fall. The Cougars had three players bat better than .340 during the fall. Ben Boykin, Alex Pastorious and Carl Wise all stood out.
“We hit the ball extremely well,” Lee said. “Alex Pastorious might have been the player of the fall for us. We’ve got a lot of depth and we’ve got some options because of that. We can put a guy in the field at every position that has been a starter for us. We’ve got a lot of experience that I think will serve us well this spring.”
Freshmen Nick Pappas and Bradley Jones also turned some heads during the fall. Pappas hit .345 and was second in runs batted in.