Armed with a deep and experienced roster, University of Mobile head baseball coach Jon Seymour said he sees good things ahead this season for his team.
The Rams, who posted a 25-20 overall record and an 11-13 mark in Southern States Athletic Conference play a year ago, are looking for more success this season. The Rams placed sixth in league play.
“Our expectations are pretty high,” said Seymour, who is entering his fourth season as the Rams’ head coach, having taken over following former head coach Mike Jacobs’ untimely death in December 2019. Seymour has produced a 65-43 record in his three previous seasons leading the program following several seasons as assistant coach to Jacobs.
“We’re returning a fairly seasoned offense, and we’ve added some pieces to that offense,” Seymour said. “But also, I told our kids, it’s the first time we’ve had this kind of depth offensively and on the mound. I’ve got 18 or 19 arms that I feel pretty comfortable in putting out on the mound this year. We’ve never had that kind of thing before.
We’ll probably manage our pitching staff a little differently to take advantage of that. We‘ve got a ton of depth and experience and we’re just looking forward to going out there and seeing what we get.”
The team will open its season on Tuesday, Jan. 31, at Mike Jacobs Field with a 5 p.m. game against LSU-Shreveport. The Rams return to Jacobs Field for a doubleheader on Friday, Feb. 3, against Montreat College of North Carolina, the first game beginning at noon, followed by another pair of games against Montreat on Saturday, Feb. 4, also starting at noon. The Feb. 3-4 games are billed as alumni weekend, with a baseball alumni dinner following Saturday’s games.
“This year is going to be different because this will be the first year that nobody [on the team] played for Coach Jacobs,” Seymour said. “It’s given me some freedom to make some adjustments and do some things, but at the same time, using the same value system and the guiding light that Coach Jacobs set forth. It’s really given some freedom to kind of bring some ideas and some different techniques and different ways of doing things that I think are really going to create some imagination and allow them to be their own team and do their own thing.”
Seymour noted some players he expects to play key roles for the Rams this season. The list includes outfielders-pitchers Tucker Musgrove, Trevor Andrews and Trevor Wells, as well as infielders-designated hitters Sam Plash and J.T. Lastorka, each of the players being local products. In fact, more than 25 players on the Mobile roster are from the Mobile-Baldwin area.
Musgrove will be the Rams’ starting center fielder but also will be used out of the bullpen. Last season he hit .406 with 10 home runs and 34 runs batted in. He was in the mix for conference player of the year.
“He’s a dynamic outfielder but he’s also been [throwing] 93-97 [miles per hour] on the mound this fall and has really grown in his pitching,” Seymour said. “We’ve had a ton of professional scouts in to look at him this fall. … He has gotten bigger, he’s gotten stronger and going into this year we were really going to focus on the offensive side and whatever we got pitching-wise was going to be a plus. Then we get into the fall and he’s touching 95, touching 97 and really developing some outstanding off-speed pitches.”
Andrews will play right field. He is a Jacksonville State transfer who played his prep career at Theodore.
“[He’s] going to be a 90-mile-an-hour arm out of the bullpen and he’s going to hit anywhere from [the No.] 3 to 5 [spot in the lineup] for us,” Seymour said. “He’s a big, strong kid who can really run as well.”
In left field will be Wells, who hit .319 with eight home runs and 36 RBI last season.
“He’s another kid who’s going to pitch out of the bullpen and he’s an 80-to-90-mile-an-hour arm with a really good changeup and breaking ball,” Seymour said.
Plash arrived last year from Ole Miss, where he played offensive guard on the football team.
“We really didn’t know what we were going to get,” Seymour said. What the Rams got was a .313 hitter with 13 homers and 43 RBI. Lastorka last season batted .245 with one home run.