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Titans Hold Early Practice in Preparation for State Tournament Opener

May 8, 2014 - A loose and confident Eastern Florida baseball team worked out the kinks in its final practice before Friday's opening game in the Florida College System Activities Association/NJCAA Division I Region 8 tournament in Lakeland.

Austin Leeney
Catcher Austin Leeney

The Titans took to a practice field at the Detroit Tigers' spring facility at 8 a.m. for stretching, running, infield and outfield and batting practice.

"Just to get the body moving," is how Titans head coach Jeff Tam quantified the practice. "Just like any other day. It gets some of the jitters out. They get to play on a pristine field. They get to be close to the stadium.

"It will be different in the stadium. The nerves will be kicking. It lets them exert some energy, get over here and realize the field's the same, the game's the same. Just get a little work in."

Right fielder Francisco Cruz

The Titans open the tournament at 1 p.m. Friday at Joker Marchant Stadium against Gulf State College of Panama City.

Eastern Florida comes into the game with a 28-17 record while Gulf Coast is 37-12. The appearance in the tournament is the Titans first since 2001.

If the Titans beat Gulf Coast they will play St. Johns River State College of Palatka (37-12) at 10 a.m. Saturday. If they lose to Gulf Coast they will play either Polk State College (36-12) or Southern Conference foe Palm Beach State (28-21) for the seventh time this season. First pitch in that game would be 4 p.m. Saturday.

The tournament is double elimination format.

All games will be carried live at