Xavier enters third baseball season after program rebirth

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Perhaps Xavier University baseball coach Adrian Holloway is thinking his young program accomplished too much, too soon.

Two years ago, when Holloway was given the job of restarting the program after a six-decade hiatus, the Gold Rush turned in an outstanding 27-11 season.

The maiden voyage saw the Rush ranked at the top of the Black College Nines national rankings.  Xavier also reached the title game of the Black College World Series, falling to Bluefield State in the championship game.

“Yeah, it probably put a lot of pressure on us.  That first year was historic so after that people are looking for more.  They are looking for championships and we embrace that challenge.”

Despite a record of 19-25 in the second year of the program, Holloway, who was named Coach of the Year by blackcollegenines.com in 2021, knows his program is being held to the standard reached during the first season.

The Rush is armed for the job of meeting those expectations – literally.

Holloway says the strength of the club is the pitching staff, an aspect that always bodes well for a baseball team.

“We have a handful of guys who are sitting at over 90 mph.   They are good looking and they pass the eye test.”

Jaun Gonzalez, a 6-foot-7 righthander from the Dominican Republic, comes to Xavier from Coffeyville Community College.

Ryan Kinney is another live arm at 6-foot-5 upon whom the Gold Rush will depend.  The combination gives the baseball team the look of the Xavier basketball team.

“We are really excited about those two.  But we also have Nigel Mayfield, a solid righthander and a weekend starter who has been in the program three years.  He came to us from Nunez community College,” said Holloway.

Keep an eye on Joe Semien, a lefthander from the ultra-successful Barbe High School program in Lake Charles.

“Joe will be one of our top guys this year as he was as a freshman.”  Holloway continued, ”He’s a Xavier legacy student.  His father, who is a doctor, was a Xavier graduate.”

Courtland Posey, an outfielder, returns for his senior season after being named All-Red River Conference last year.  The Clinton, Mississippi native hit .340 with 41 rbi in 2022.

Coach Holloway feels outfielder/designated hitter D’Aires Davis has professional potential.

“He has the make-up. He has all the intangibles.  D’Aires runs a 6.3 60 and he can swing the stick a little bit.  We have guys like that in place, so we feel good about this season.”

Xavier will open the season Sunday with a doubleheader against Oakwood in Huntsville, Alabama.

The Gold Rush’s first action at home will be the weekend of February 5-6, a three-game, non-conference series against Tougaloo at Wesley Barrow Stadium.

Adrian Holloway has his sights set on reaching postseason at a national level.  Merely getting there won’t be enough.

“We’re just looking to put it all together to keep building this program so it can be a solid program for years to come.  The goal is to develop this thing into a national power.”

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