Burns named to preseason All-WAC team; Texans picked ninth
STEPHENVILLE – Tarleton baseball is preparing for its debut Division I season in the Western Athletic Conference, as head coach Aaron Meade works towards proving their place this season after being picked tied for ninth in the WAC preseason poll.
"I think it's to be expected," Meade said of the preseason rankings. "Us coming in, as well as Dixie State, we are going to have to go in and prove ourselves. I think it's good for our guys and gives them a little bit of an edge and they know it's going to be tough but it's not an unbearable task. We are returning 11 seniors form the previous year and a lot of them have competed at the Division I level, so it is something they will see as a challenge but definitely not unexpected. There are a lot of good teams in the WAC from top to the bottom and we are going to have to go in there every night and fight to hopefully work our way up those standings come the end of the year."
Keeping up with the pace of a new conference and division is Blake Burns who was selected as preseason All-WAC as the team's first baseman.
"Blake is a really good player, and his numbers speak for themselves," Meade said. "His first year he hit over .300 and couldn't really lift his right shoulder and then finally got healthy last year and was one of the best players in the country at the Division II level. I don't see any reason why he can't be the same type of player at the Division I level. The one thing that Blake and I talk about is that Blake doesn't have to live up to anything or anybody's expectations. We just want Blake to go out and be himself and be free and play hard. He is a talented player, a great kid, and a captain for two years now. He is one of the guys that makes us go."
Burns is entering his senior campaign for the Texans after transferring from Weatherford College after two seasons, he played both his junior and senior season for the Texans. He is returning this season after last year's stellar senior campaign was cut short due to COVID-19.
Starting all 24 games in the 2020 season, he hit .452 with six doubles, one triple, and seven home runs while recording a .550 on-base percentage. The 6-4 first baseman from Keller, Texas has proven he can be dominant and is planning to continue that in Division I play.
The Texans were 14-10 in conference last season after it was cut short after just 24 games. Tarleton is opening their Division I season Friday, Feb. 19 against Abilene Christian in Stephenville for a two-game series against the Wildcats.