After road trips to Nova Southeastern University, Valdosta State University and Shorter University, the Golden Rams baseball team will make their home opener on Friday, Feb. 17, in a doubleheader against the Selma University Bulldogs. Dr. Everette J. Freeman, president of ASU, and Dr. Richard H. Williams, athletics director, will throw the ceremonial first pitch at 1 p.m. at Golden Rams Park.
Although his Golden Rams are 1-6 on the season, second –year head coach Ken Conner looks forward to a great 2012 season.
“I’m excited about this season. We’ve got some great returning players and newcomers who have a ton of talent. The Rams have a winning tradition and this season is no different,” Conner said. “We want our fans to come out and support the team for our home debut.”
Friday’s game will be played as part of the Black History celebration, Conner said.
“The late great Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. marched in both Albany, Ga. and Selma, Ala., so we thought it would be fitting to play the game in celebration of Black History Month and in memory of all the great African-American athletes, especially Jackie Robinson, who paved the way for African-American athletes.”
Expected to give fans much baseball action are SIAC Baseball Preseason All-Conference team members, shortstop William Smalls and catcher Rickey Harris. Smalls, who was the 2011 SIAC Player of the Year, led the SIAC with nine home runs and 56 runs batted in last season.
Conner says with the help of Smalls and Harris, and other returning players, including Ken Nesbitt and Eddie Mathis, the Rams, who won the 2010 SIAC championship, should have no problems in the race for the 2012 SIAC championship. Ram newcomers Demonzio Stubbs, Uwen Udofia, Allen Hardy, Stephen Lightfoot will also help the Rams to the championship, Conner said.
“Our goal this year is to win back the SIAC championship and make an impressive showing the NCAA playoffs” Conner said. “We’ve got the talent, we’ve just got to go out and prove the championship and playoff appearance are ours for the taking.”
During the opening-day ceremonies, the Golden Rams Diamond Club will have dinner plates for sale and giveaways for fans.
“We invite our faculty, staff, students, alumni and fans to support our team and help us have a successful 2012 campaign,” Conner said.
Admission to the game is free of charge, but fans are asked to make donations to the program.