NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - As the Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks are gearing up for their Opening Day Friday against Washington State, they will be debuting a new roster with several East Texas ties.
There are eight familiar names East Texans may recognize that will be wearing purple this year, and head coach Johnny Cardenas said he's expecting some big plays from the locals.
Cardenas said Diboll freshmen Eric DeJesus will be a force in the infield and will definitely be competing for some playing time this year.
There will now be three Nacogdoches Dragons on the team with Will Boozer coming in as a freshmen. He joins sophomore first basemen Patrick Ledet, and right handed pitcher Josh Keith who is a redshirt senior.
Cardenas said East Texas has been good to SFA baseball with previous additions including Kilgore's Matthew Dickey who starts in center field and Carthage native Brandon Smith in the outfield.
After going 28-29 last season, Cardenas said he is expecting a much better team than last years.
"We've had some really good players out of Lufkin, we've had some good players out of Carthage, and I think East Texas is kind of known as a football area, but baseball is getting better," said Cardenas. "You kind of have to pick and choose your athletes, but at the same time, I think those guys are just as good as anyone in the nation."
Also on the Lumberjacks' roster from East Texas is outfielder Garrett McMullen from Longview, and left handed pitcher Pat Day from Tyler.
Friday night's game starts at 6 o'clock at Jaycees Baseball Field.