After a 6-16 finish to the 2018 club baseball season, senior president Chris Giaccardi has one word for the upcoming season.
“Underdogs,” Giaccardi said. “Usually we are always down a little bit, either numbers, talent, it’s something. So we have to come out playing better baseball, with more confidence and swagger.”
The UNT baseball club is not an NCAA-sanctioned program and runs under the UNT Recreational Sports. The UNT athletic department has included a baseball stadium for a potential program in the athletics Master Plan, according to lightthetower.com. The athletic department noted in an interview with the Daily that they didn’t want to entertain the idea of a baseball program until all of the existing programs were well funded.
The baseball program sits in a four-team conference that consists of Baylor, Texas Tech and SMU. The other three programs in the conference all have NCAA-sanctioned teams, they have the ability to grab players that didn’t make the cut. The program’s overall record, dating back to the 2012-13 season, is 49-62, a win percentage of 44.4 percent. UNT’s main struggle in competition has been the lack of a full team, despite recruitment efforts being made by tabling at orientation and special events.
“Last year, we lost a lot of people,” Giaccardi said, “We were left with like six or seven people, which is not a full time.”
Heading into this season, Giaccardi and others were able to recruit 19 players, the highest roster size since Giaccardi has joined the team. One of these newcomers is junior Spencer Pellegrini, who is coming off ulnar collateral ligament and rotator cuff injuries after spending a season in California.
, Pellegrini received an offer to play baseball at Arlington Baptist University but turned it downed because the school didn’t have his major. UNT’s proximity to Boyd, Texas also contributed to his decision to attend UNT and study criminal justice.
Pellegrini is using this opportunity with the club team to find his way to a collegiate program.
“[I want to] get a couple wins with these guys, go out and win the conference and really just get the fundamentals down so I can play ball next semester,” Pellegrini said.
Every year, the club participates in the Wood Wars Tournament in Euless, Texas. Two years ago, the team won it all and that’s their main goal this year and every year. However, they want to go beyond that tournament and conquer the conference, their regional opponents and winning nationals in North Carolina.
“We try to go all the way and take it one step at a time,” Giaccardi said.
The club plays six regular season series in their fall season, five of which are at home. Their matchups include Oklahoma State, Southern Methodist, Texas Tech, Texas and Lamar. Texas is the only series that won’t be played at their home park.
Following their under .500 performance in 2018, the team is looking for 2019 to be a comeback season. Their year begins on Sept. 21 against Oklahoma State.
“I definitely think there will be a bounce-back year,” Giaccardi said. “We have had a talk with all the returners from last year about mentality, we have a lot of talent but just didn’t get the job done.”
Featured Image: Chris Giaccardi throws the ball towards an outfielder on Sept. 12, 2019. Image by Zachary Thomas