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Auston Bousfield didn't end last season at the plate like he started it. He wasn't the same hitter he was during his freshman season the year before. He's been working on that ever since.

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During fall baseball he was one of the leaders on the team in quality at bats. The junior from Oakland, Fla., and West Orange High School said it's been a point of emphasis for him as the season begins in a week near his hometown.

"It's a new year. Anytime you get a fresh start, it's good," Bousfield said. "I don't want to say there's anything I've changed. It's just trying to go back to simplifying, and not trying to do too much. Just staying within myself and doing what got me here."

One bit of nudging to get back where he was came in the form of new strength and conditioning coach Ben Fleming. The last several months have made everyone on the team better, according to the Rebels' center fielder. Fleming has been a key to that.

"He's a tough guy," said Bousfield, who weighs in now at 185 pounds on his 5-foot-11 frame, some 20 pounds up from when he arrived in the summer of 2011. "He's made us all better mentally and physically as well. He's always pushing us as far as we can go. I think that will help us out all year and really help toward the end of the year."

Bousfield, like most who take a look, believes the outfield is one of the best anywhere.

"We have (Will) Jamison back. We have Braxton Lee, a junior college outfielder. J.B. Woodman is a freshman, and Cameron Dishon is back. All five of us, we can all run. Sub 6 60 guys. It's a pretty strong group out there."

Senquez Golson is another potential outfielder. He was obviously not out there during fall ball due to football season. He is currently trying to come back from a slight hamstring pull last week.

Bousfield tells us more about the players who were there in the fall.

Auston Bousfield
Bruce Newman

"Jamison and I have been here three years. We've played together for two seasons and through another fall. I feel we know each other pretty well out there. Braxton Lee and J.B. came in and jumped right in. They've added a lot to the outfield with talent and depth. Dishon played with us last year, and he's solid.

"I don't know if there's (an outfield) better than ours. We're pretty talented."

Heading into year three of his college career, which could be his last depending on the June draft, Bousfield believes in what this team can do. He's been a part of two NCAA Tournament teams that weren't able to finish a Regional and move on to a Super Regional.

But, like the approach he has taken with his bat, it's a fresh start for the Rebels.

"I like us," he said. "We have the talent. From what everyone (pollsters) is saying in the preseason, they don't think we're going to be special or anything like that.

"But there is an inner feeling in the locker room, everything that Ben's put us through, the coaches have been pushing us. Just mentally I know we're going to be ready to take the ups and downs of the season. We're going to roll with the punches this season better than any other year that I've been here."

Bousfield said starting the season Feb. 14 in Florida will also be nice. The Rebels play Stetson three games that weekend in Deland, Fla.

"I was talking to my parents the other day. It was like 80 degrees back home," he said. "I'm definitely looking forward to that."

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