The MSJC baseball team is coming off of a season that saw them post a record of 29-12 and advance to the 3C2A Regional play-offs for the first time since 2016. The Eagles are hoping to build on that momentum when they open their 2024 season on Friday.
The Eagles will enter the season with a nice mix of new and returning players when they host Grossmont on Friday in a doubleheader beginning at 11 am.
In the outfield MSJC will see the return of two starters from a season ago in Christian Smith and Kyle Serna. Smith had a strong freshman season as he hit .301, blasted 5 homeruns, and drove in 25 runs. He also led the team in triples with 5. Serna was the team's leader in stolen bases in 2023 with 17. Juni Rodriguez is expected to be the third outfielder on opening day, he is a freshman from Paloma Valley HS.
On the infield the Eagles also will have a good amount of experience led by the return of Greg Luna. Luna hit .343 as a freshman while walking 23 times and nabbing 14 stolen bases. Adrian Vento and Dominick Lombardi will look to have bigger roles this season as both are slated as starters for Friday's opener. They will be joined by Cal State San Marcos transfer Tanner Aoki. Josh McAninch will be the opening day catcher after playing in 16 games a year ago. McAninch showed some real promise at the plate as he hit .405 in his first year and drove in 16 runs.
Joseph Romero, Pierce Sailer, and Julian Castro will be the Eagles starting rotation on the mound according to third year head coach Jake Hansen. Romero is a hard throwing right hander who played at Cal Baptist University his first year. Sailer, also a righty, made 14 appearances in 2023 and started 6 games for the Eagles. He pitched 51 and 1/3 innings with a 4.56 ERA. Castro a lefty rounds out the starting rotation. Trysten Eddy, Luis Ricardo Acevedo, and Evan Stratton will be three of the numerous arms counted on out of the bullpen. Last season Eddy had 6 saves for MSJC and struck out 17 hitters in 17 innings of work.
"We are excited to get the season going", said Hansen. "We like our experience level and have a nice group of freshmen and transfers." The Eagles last season finished second in the Inland Empire Athletic Conference with a league mark of 16-8, behind first place Chaffey and just ahead of Cerro Coso. "We have a very tough non-conference schedule this year", added Hansen "I think we will be very prepared by the time IEAC play comes around."
For a complete 2024 MSJC baseball schedule click on the link below.