ELKINS - The Davis & Elkins College baseball team is set to open the 2014 campaign with a doubleheader slated to start at 1 p.m. today against Fairmont State University in King, N.C.
Initially, the Senators were scheduled to open the season with a trip to Myrtle Beach, S.C., Feb. 14, but the trip was canceled due to concerns of the facility owner regarding the amount of precipitation dropped this winter.
D&E joined the Great Midwest Athletic Conference this year and has been voted fourth in the conference preseason poll by league coaches.
The Senators return six position players and a pair of starting pitchers from last season's team which finished 27-20 and 21-14 in the WVIAC.
"It's going to be interesting going into the unknown," D&E coach Ronnie Palmer said. "We're in a new conference and there are a lot of different teams on the schedule. We want to go out and compete hard every day and try to win a conference championship."
The Senator offense will be paced by the juniors Lance VanNoy, an Elkins High School product, Matt Moceri and senior Treavor Dubiel. The trio batted 2-3-4 in the order last year.
VanNoy will bat second and play left field. Last season, VanNoy batted .345 with six home runs and 10 doubles.
"He's on base all the time," Palmer said of VanNoy. "He does a great job of keeping his eye on the ball and selecting the right pitch. He's also got good speed, so we expect him to generate a lot of runs."
Moceri and Dubiel will split time between first base and designated hitter. Moceri is penciled in the three spot while Dubiel will bat clean-up.
Moceri finished last season with a .345 average, nine home runs, 12 doubles and 45 RBIs.
"He's a good solid hitter with a good eye at the plate," Palmer said. "Anytime he's up to bat, there's a chance he's going to hit the long ball. He's got natural power and developed it well during the off season.
"He's been hitting to all fields. We expect a lot out of him."
Dubiel batted .420 last season, driving in 45 runs and belting out 10 doubles and eight home runs.
'They all complement each other very well," Palmer said. "Treavor is real consistent.
"He doesn't get fooled a lot. He got a good balance of plate coverage and power."
Pitching remains a concern for Palmer. The team's top returners, Marcus Warner and Michael Paratore, threw a combined 78.1 innings over 37 games and made 13 starts out of 47 games played by the Senators.
"We graduated 200 innings off the mound," Palmer said. "We need our pitching to mature quick to get us to where we want to be.
"We're hoping our offense can carry us until the pitching catches up."