Courtesy of MTAthletics :

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. – Heading into the 2016 baseball season, catcher will be an interesting position to watch for the Blue Raiders. While there are a couple of returners on the roster at the position, it stands as one of, if not the, least experienced groups on the field.

Middle Tennessee returns junior Will Schnure, who played in 19 games last season while handling most of the Saturday catching duties. As the only returner who has caught a game at Middle Tennessee, Schnure figures to enter the season with a slight edge for the starting job.

“Schnure is really familiar with (Nate) Hoffmann, which is going to be important as one of our top starting pitchers,” head coach Jim McGuire said. “He is coming off of an injury so there is a question mark there about his durability, but as far as handling the staff, knowing the staff and having experience, he does have somewhat of an inside track.”

Schnure hit just .170 last season in a small sample size of only 53 at-bats, but will prove to be a solid defensive option behind the plate.

Senior Austin Norrell is also back for the Blue Raiders after taking part in 12 contests in 2015. Norrell was unable to catch all of last season due to injuries, but will provide depth at catcher in 2016 and figure heavily into the designated hitter role.

“Norrell caught a lot of games in junior college and has the tools to go back,” McGuire stated. “He’ll be counted on as a DH and possibly play some first base, too, but there is always the possibility that he can get behind the plate and help us there.”

At the plate in 2015, Norrell hit .179 in just 39 at-bats, but could prove to be a valuable power bat for the Raiders if he stays healthy.

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