Feb. 12, 2004
Despite frigid temperatures outside and the calendar reading mid-February, the Lehigh baseball team is set to begin its 2004 campaign. Thankfully, the Mountain Hawks head south to open the season with a three game series at McNeese State in Lake Charles, Louisiana.
"We are excited to get out there and get some games in early on," said Lehigh head coach Sean Leary. "It's also exciting for our program to have this opportunity to take on some top competition so early in the season."
The February 13th opening day marks the earliest start date in the 119-year history of the Lehigh baseball program.
The Mountain Hawks are understandably optimistic as they head into the new season. Lehigh returns eight position players and several key pitchers from last year's squad. Offensively, Lehigh will look to all-league performers Jesse Novalis and Eric Hoffman to provide the spark. On the mound, former Patriot League Rookie of the Year Jack Muscalus - now a junior - will take the ball in the opener Friday night.
Lehigh was picked to finish fourth in the Patriot League this season in a preseason poll of the league's coaches and sports information directors. The Mountain Hawks have qualified for the league's postseason tournament in each of the last two seasons.
Meanwhile, the Cowboys kicked off the 2004 season by dropping two of three games last weekend at Louisiana Tech. McNeese is a traditional power within the Southland Conference, capturing the conference title a season ago.
The three game series gets underway Friday night from Cowboy Diamond in Lake Charles. First pitch is scheduled for 8:00 pm ET Friday night. The series continues with single games on Saturday and Sunday.