COLUMBUS – The third-ranked Columbus State University baseball team will open the 2019 season Friday hosting West Alabama at Ragsdale Field at Burger King Stadium. Friday's game will begin at 4:00 p.m. while the two teams will conclude the three-game set on Saturday with a doubleheader starting a 1:00 p.m.
2018 in Review
Columbus State posted a 48-15 overall record last season falling one game short of the program's second national championship. It was the fourth World Series appearance for the Cougars under 22 nd -year head coach Greg Appleton and the eighth overall for CSU. The 48 wins for the Cougars were also tied for the second most in program history.
Appleton on the Matchup
"I think we're all excited to finally get the season started," said head coach Greg Appleton . "We've put last year behind us and we're ready to find our identity with this new team. West Alabama is a tough opponent but hopefully being at home we can get the season started off on the right foot."
Columbus State and West Alabama are opening up the season against each other for the second consecutive season, and for the fifth time in the past nine years. Dating back to 2010, CSU is 9-6 against the Tigers including a 5-1 mark in Columbus.
The Cougars took the opening two games against UWA last season outscoring the Tigers 12-3 in the wins. West Alabama salvaged the series with a 6-3 victory in the series finale.
About West Alabama
West Alabama reached the Gulf South Conference Tournament in 2018 after posting a 21-27 record. The Tigers are led by head coach Gary Rundles, who is in his 19 th season. Rundles is just two wins shy from 600 wins at UWA.
UWA was selected eighth in the preseason GSC poll. Ben Dalke is the top returning hitter for the Tigers after posting a .302 average in 2018 with five homers and 32 RBIs. Cole Waites started 11 games last season on the hill for West Alabama going 4-5 with a 4.23 ERA.
Columbus State was selected third in the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association preseason poll. The Cougars were also tabbed as the Peach Belt Conference favorites to begin the season.
The Cougars returns six of its nine everyday starters from last season including 2018 All-PBC selections Grant Berry and Frank Wager . Berry hit .298 last year with 10 homers while Wager was second on the team with 15 long balls.
On the hill, CSU brings back 2018 All-American Kolton Ingram . Ingram had one of the best season in program history a year ago leading the nation in wins (14), strikeouts (150) while his 2.18 ERA was among the nation's best.
Already the all-time winningest coach in program history, Greg Appleton enters the season with a 772-410 (.653) record at CSU. Appleton was named the Southeast Region Coach of the Year by the American Baseball Coaches Association.
****CSU Sports Information Department****