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NSU Baseball kicks off their season in a new conference

The Norfolk State University Baseball team has started the 2023 season in a new conference, the Northeast Conference (NEC) with a four game loss against The Morehead State Eagles. This past Saturday the team fell 7-6 in the first game and 3-2 in second. On Sunday, the Spartans fell 18-6 in the opener and 3-0  in the second.

However, this is just the beginning of their season. Last season, the Spartans finished (12-18) and 15-32 overall in their final Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) season.

 “We approach the NEC conference the same way we approached the MEAC conference,” Head Coach Keith Shumate said. “We still have to play baseball, baseball is our game it doesn’t matter where we play or whom we have the same approach, we put the best roster together and get everyone on the same page.” 

After finishing 12-18 in the MEAC last season, the Spartans look to improve on the defensive side of the diamond. “We want to pitch and defend better,” Coach Shumate said. “We want to get better each and every day, each and every week. We want to master our defensive fundamentals”. 

Coach Shumate says expectations for the season are very simple, “We want to play as hard as we can today. We don’t want to put crazy goals and expectations on a season. We’ll let everyone else count it up at the end of the year, rather than worrying about where we’re at, we want to be the number one competitive team today,” Shumate said.

 The Spartans start the season with a 10-game stretch at home. “Pitching is our momentum so if our pitchers hold down the fort and we make the basic plays we will have a good start to the season. Competition is really tough, but your pitching sets the tone and momentum,” Shumate said.

 The Spartans have many returning starters from last season. Dionte Brown being one of the power houses offensively batted .314 with 40 (RBIs) last season. For defense Shumate expects Nolan Manzer to be the force on the mound. Manzer finished last season with a 3.89 ERA, with 27 strikeouts. 

The NEC baseball preseason coaches poll ranked the Norfolk State University baseball team ninth. The Spartans are looking to come back in their next game this Friday at Marty L. Miller Field.