Auburn, Ala.--One of the keys to any good baseball team is being strong up the middle and that is something Coach Sunny Golloway said he believes could be a strength for the Auburn Tigers in 2015. A big reason why is junior college transfer Cody Nulph at shortstop.
With a good glove and a solid bat, Nulph stepped in right away for the Tigers when he arrived on campus in the fall and has taken on a leadership role for the team. Already with big-time college baseball experience after starting 36 games as a freshman for Pepperdine, Nulph transferred to Orange Coast College as a sophomore and earned California Juco MVP honors after hitting .414 with 42 runs scored.
Now getting ready to take the field as the starting shortstop for the Auburn Tigers as they play host Binghamton to open the 2015 season this weekend, Nulph said getting ready to play with his new team has been a process and he feels like everyone is ready to go.
“It has been a nice transition,” Nulph said. “I just finished playing last year at Orange Coast College. One thing I have appreciated most is the baseball environment. You know you are in a good place when a team or the guys want to be at the yard. That is something I found here.
"The guys are always eager to go in and get extra work," he added. "They really like being around each other. I think the team is really coming together in that sense as far as preparing for the season.”
With experience playing against teams such as Long Beach State, Cal-Poly, Cal-State Fullerton, USC, Oklahoma and other strong programs, Nulph is ready to see how his game translates to the Southeastern Conference. Already impressing his teammates and coaches with his hard work, Nulph should fit in just fine, according to Golloway, because of his attitude and desire to be the best.
“When you think about Cody Nulph and confidence, he could have two weeks of really bad play and he will still be really confident guy,” Golloway said. ‘That is mental toughness. When you go and get a junior college player who has played Division I baseball at Pepperdine and competed against really good teams...I had the fortune of watching him from the dugout when Pepperdine came to the University of Oklahoma. He is already mentally tough.”
Already a team lacking in true power at the plate, Auburn will be without projected starting first baseman Daniel Robert this weekend because of a suspension. Golloway confirmed that Robert will miss the first four games because of a violation of team policy. He has already completed some of his punishments prior to the season and will be eligible to get back on the field in game five against Alabama State on Wednesday.
Without Robert the Tigers will likely use five-foot-eight Kyler Deese at first base this weekend against Binghamton. Deese is the son of former Auburn softball coach Tina Deese and played last season at Central Alabama Community College. He’s also expected to see time at catcher this season.
Daniel Robert will miss the opening weekend.
Knowing The Opposition
*Binghamton has won back-to-back America East Conference tournament titles, becoming the first team to in that league win two-straight titles since Maine in 2005 and 2006.
*The Bearcats return 19 lettermen, including five position starters, anchored by two-time first team all-conference outfielder Jake Thomas (.270, 6 HR, 35 RBI). Also returning is sophomore catcher Eddie Posavec, who started 43 games behind the plate as a freshman and hit .309 with 18 RBI and 11 steals.
*It will be a family affair for Binghamton second baseman Reed Gamache as he returns to Plainsman Park. The junior, who hit .283 with 26 RBI as a sophomore, is the younger brother of former Tiger Dan Gamache.
*Game times for the weekend series against Binghamton are 3 p.m. CST on Friday and Saturday with a noon start on Sunday.
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