FORT SMITH (KFSM)- University of Fort Smith baseball opened their season today with a four-game series against Northwestern Oklahoma State. The Diamond Lions are coming off of an impressive first season under head coach Todd Holland. They finished last season 28-21 overall and 15-10 in Heartland Conference play. And this year they don't expect the outcome of the season to be the same as last year, but better than last season.
The Diamond Lions are starting this season with high expectations after making a conference tournament appearance last season and being tabbed to finish third in the conference this year in a preseason poll.
"I think that's the highest they have ever been ranked," said Holland. "Going into this year third in the conference which you know it is what it is, so you just run with it. I hope we don't finish third I hop we do better than that and you know just not set our goals to low get out and compete and win some baseball games."
A major difference the Lions are facing this year is that there are more new faces in the dugout, with 18 newcomers and only 14 returning players. But, team chemistry is not an issue they feel like they will encounter this season.
"We have quite a few new guys in here," said Holland on the new additions to the roster. "So early on you never know what you are going to get so you are trying to figure out who can play well where and what they can do."
Today at their season-opener the Diamond Lions won their first game 9-3 against Northwestern Oklahoma State. An they are hoping that today's success will carry over into the rest of the season.
"We came out there did our job," said junior college transfer Trevor Crone. "Pitchers came and shut it down and hitters came in there and did what they needed to do so I think we just need to do that for the rest of the year and we will be solid."
The Diamond Lions continue their four-game series at home Saturday with a double-header starting at 12 p.m.