College Sports

First year in A-10 a learning experience for Wildcats baseball

Davidson right fielder Lee Miller drives a double into right field during the second inning of the Wildcats’ game against Winthrop on April 21. Miller, a junior, leads the team in batting (.359), hits (46), doubles (12), RBIs (32), slugging percentage (.539) and on-base percentage (.440).
Davidson right fielder Lee Miller drives a double into right field during the second inning of the Wildcats’ game against Winthrop on April 21. Miller, a junior, leads the team in batting (.359), hits (46), doubles (12), RBIs (32), slugging percentage (.539) and on-base percentage (.440). BILL KISER

The 2015 season has been one big learning experience for Davidson baseball coach Dick Cooke and his players.

Not necessarily from the competition aspect – the Wildcats have found their first season in the Atlantic 10 an education in travel arrangements.

“It’s been some different logistics,” Cooke said. “We’re certainly learning some things there. Once you get on the field, it’s nine innings, three outs – the same drill. But it’s a different level of planning and expectations in getting from Point A to Point B.”

After decades of playing, and winning, in the Southern Conference, Davidson’s athletic program made the step up to the Atlantic 10 beginning with the 2014-2015 athletic calendar.

Not only has that meant a step up in competition, it’s also meant longer road trips for the Wildcats.

Gone are the days where they had two-hour bus rides to play at Appalachian State, Western Carolina or Elon. Now they have two-hour or longer plane rides to face Rhode Island, St. Bonaventure, Massachusetts or La Salle.

“We’ve flew to Rhode Island two weeks ago, we flew to New York City last week and we’re flying to Buffalo this week,” Cooke said. “We’ve been learning from what some of the other teams have done.

“We’ve been having to leave on Thursdays, which we never had to do in the Southern Conference except when we played Samford. We’re away from campus longer, and a lot of the A-10 teams’ fields don’t have lights. That means most of our Friday games are at 3 p.m. instead of 6 or 7 p.m. for a lot of our Southern Conference games. That’s meant, because of the distance, we’ve got to leave on Thursdays.

“Knock on wood, but the few times we’ve flown, it’s gone without a hitch. Once we get out on the baseball field, it’s the same kind of game.”

The other difference in Davidson’s move to the Atlantic 10 is the competition level. The Wildcats are 18-16 overall and 8-7 in conference play through games of April 21, good for sixth place in the 12-team league.

Compare that to Davidson’s final season in the Southern Conference – last year, the Wildcats posted a school-record 29-19 mark overall, and finished second in the league behind Western Carolina.

“I’ve been impressed with the level of play,” Cooke said. “I’ve been really impressed with the pitching we’ve seen, and I’ve been really impressed with the way the teams have played defense. I’ve been impressed with everybody we’ve played.”

Nichols realigns coaching staff

After hiring two assistant coaches, Davidson football coach Paul Nichols has realigned the duties of his assistants for the 2015 season.

Offensive line coach Derham Cato will take over as the Wildcats’ offensive coordinator, running backs coach Diauntae Morrow will also handle special teams and tight ends, and defensive backs coach David Parrott will add duties as the team’s recruiting coordinator.

Davidson added Jarrail Jackson as quarterbacks coach and Will Windham as defensive line coach over the offseason.

Returning to the Wildcats’ coaching staff will be linebackers coach and defensive coordinator Chad Creamer, and wide receivers coach Cody Ladutko.

Isaac receives Goldwater Scholarship

Jenni Isaac, a junior midfielder on Davidson’s women’s soccer team, has been named a Barry Goldwater Scholar and will receive a scholarship for the 2015-2016 school year.

Isaac was one of two Davidson students to earn the nationally-awarded scholarship for science majors. The Bridgeport, Conn., native is majoring and neuroscience.

“I feel incredibly blessed to go to a school like Davidson, where not only can I compete as a Division I athlete, but I can also pursue my academic interests and conduct hands-on, graduate-level research,” Isaac said in a prepared release.

Bill Kiser is a freelance writer. Have a story idea for Bill? Email him at bkisercltobs@gmail.com.

Upcoming events

Friday, May 1

▪ Women’s lacrosse: at Atlantic 10 tournament, Washington, D.C.

▪ Baseball: at George Mason, Fairfax, Va., 3 p.m.

Saturday, May 2

▪ Women’s lacrosse: at Atlantic 10 tournament, Washington, D.C.

▪ Men’s track and field: at Atlantic 10 Championships, Fairfax, Va.

▪ Women’s track and field: at Atlantic 10 Championships, Fairfax, Va.

▪ Baseball: at George Mason, Fairfax, Va., 2 p.m.

Sunday, May 3

▪ Women’s lacrosse: at Atlantic 10 tournament, Washington, D.C.

▪ Men’s track and field: at Atlantic 10 Championships, Fairfax, Va.

▪ Women’s track and field: at Atlantic 10 Championships, Fairfax, Va.

▪ Baseball: at George Mason, Fairfax, Va., 1 p.m.

Tuesday, May 5

▪ Baseball: vs. Duke, Wilson Field, 6 p.m.

Wednesday, May 6

▪ Baseball: vs. High Point, Wilson Field, 6 p.m.

Source: www.davidsonwildcats.com

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