Opening Day Is Here!

Feb. 16, 2012

UNLV Game Notes l Loyola Marymount Game Notes l Game 1 Gametracker

– Opening Day for the 2012 NCAA Division I baseball season is set to kick off across the country tomorrow, February 17th. UNLV will open up the season on the road for the first time since the 2007 season Friday afternoon at Loyola Marymount.

The Rebels, led by second-year head coach Tim Chambers, are coming off their first winning season since 2005, posting a 33-25 mark that included the best start in program history through 21 games at 17-4.

"We are ready to get out there finally," said Chambers. "We have had some of our best practices this year within the last 10 days and you can see it in our guys' eyes they are ready to get this thing started. The grind starts now for us and it's something we have been counting down since last May."

Chambers and company, picked to finish second in the annual Mountain West Preseason Coaches Poll behind front-runner TCU, returns the nucleus of last year’s squad and boasts the nation’s 32nd-ranked freshmen class. In addition to a strong recruiting class, UNLV features a roster with 19 players born and raised in the Las Vegas area and a total of 23 players with ties to Las Vegas.

Preseason accolades have not escaped the Rebels as several key offensive players have been recognized as tops in the conference. Junior outfielder and 2011 First Team All-Mountain West selection Brandon Bayardi was named one of the top three pure hitters, power hitters and the batter conference coaches would least want to face in a College Baseball Insider preseason poll. The Phoenix, Ariz. native also picked up honorable mention All-America honors from CBI last week.

Senior first baseman Trent Cook is the MW’s leading returning hitter, posting a .368 average with 85 hits a year ago. Cook, a Second Team All-MW pick a year ago was voted the conference’s toughest batter to strike out in the annual CBI preseason poll.

UNLV will kickoff opening weekend with a three-game set at Loyola Marymount, Feb. 17-19, before traveling to UC Irvine for a single game on Monday, Feb. 20.