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Story by Liz Alper

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February 13, 2018 (San Diego) - Spring is coming.  Soon, we’ll smell freshly cut grass, warm spring air...the smell of baseball.  It was a perfect time for SDSU baseball head coach Mark Martinez and senior outfielder Chase Calabuig to take the podium at today’s press conference.

“We’re coming off a 42-win season, fourth regional appearance in the last five years, we’ve won four conference championships in the last five years, we have a lot to build on,” Martinez opened with. “What I will say is that coming into this year we really feel like our talent level upgraded from years past. This group that came in this year is the 14th ranked recruiting class in the country, now it’s up to the coaching staff not to mess them up. We’re looking forward to opening weekend and the rest of the season. I think we really have a great schedule, some great non-conference games.  The that we have to be one of the top four teams, so that’s the goal, to be one of the top four teams in the conference and host a great baseball tournament at the end of the season.”

Coach scouted UC Santa Barbara for us. “Their pitching is going to be very, very good. I think they’ll be strong on the mound. They’re similar to us, they’re going to have a lot of new faces on the yard. Some kids that were hurt last year didn’t play when we were at Santa Barbara last year. They’re going to have some experience, some new guys, but they’re going to be very strong on the mound. It’s going to be a great test for us. They were in the College World Series a couple of years ago, and it’s a great way to open up the season and kind of get a barometer of where we are moving into our 2018 campaign.”

Martinez highlighted two main strengths of the program.  “We feel like the the strength of our program is two spots, our pitching staff is upgraded, we have some better arms on the weekends, our bullpen is exceptional, and the strength of our team is our outfield we have five very legitimate outfielders and only three can play, but we can mix and match and put some different guys in the lineup and kind of keep in the lineup consistent as well so we’re very excited about those two areas of our program.”

Calabuig talked about the difference between this year’s and last year’s team. “Like coach touched on a bit, I think the talent is definitely there, it’s definitely outshining a lot of the talent last year. Last year was a lot of older guys, a lot of experience, and I think we were able to grind out wins and just out tough teams. This year, we’re younger, but I think they’re learning and catching on very quickly and as soon as we get in the routine of the season I think they’re going to be ready to go and I think the talent’s going to shine and we’re going to win a lot of games.”

Calabuig is now a senior and talked about his role on the team. “As a senior, I kind of take it upon myself to take some of the guys to the side, and let them know and I’m sure as the season goes on and little things happen here and there, things that I’ve had to overcome or have had to experience through my time, I’ll be able to be there and give a lending hand and give them some advice on things that I would have changed or things I would have done back when I was a freshman had I know the little obstacles that they’ll be facing.”

lastly, he talked about opening weekend.  “I think everybody’s on board. Everybody’s excited and ready to get going. It’s been a long fall, a long start of the spring, a lot of baseball we’ve had playing against each other. We’ve had fun playing against each other but I think it’s time we start playing someone new and someone different. That way we can all pull from the same side of the rope and start having some fun playing the game as Aztecs.”

SDSU kicks off their season against UCSB on a weekend series Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

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