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Friendly confines of Husky Ballpark await UW

After playing seven of its first eight games on the road, the Washington baseball team finally returns to Husky Ballpark for a four-game series with St. Josephs (1-5). But just because the team is home doesn’t mean distractions aren’t abound.

Head coach Lindsay Meggs knows there are still many challenges for his team to overcome while playing an opponent with a less-than-stellar record at home, and he is anxious not to let this be a “trap game” for his team.

“We have talked about that,” Meggs said. “We’ve talked about it yesterday as a staff, and the weather’s going to be a challenge. The fact that St. Joseph’s hasn’t gotten off to a real good start is a challenge in terms of our guys being as excited to play in below-average weather against a team that’s not in the top 25. But where we are as a program is we have to take advantage of every opportunity to play and get better.”

Despite a superb road trip in which the Huskies (5-3) took two of three games from No. 26 UC Irvine and won their single game against Cal State, Northridge, Meggs knows the team hasn’t proven anything yet.

“We need to improve in every aspect of the game, so we’ve made sure that our guys understand, that regardless of who we’re playing, it’s about us, it’s not about them, and it’s about trying to get better,” Meggs said.

The players seem to know the importance of not taking this series too lightly. For as good as the Huskies start has been, one bad series could easily knock the train off its tracks.

“You’ve got to treat every team as the same,” pitcher Zach Wright said. “Every team has the ability to beat you on any given day, so we’ve got to just stick with the plan and play to the best of our abilities.”

That being said, Meggs and the Huskies know this series is an opportunity. The Huskies are looking to get back into the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2004 and will need every win they can get before starting a tough Pac-12 schedule, which includes four teams in the top 25 and six in the top 30.

“This series is important — not like any other series wouldn’t be — but, when you get into the Pac-12, it’s not exactly like you’re going to be playing a team like this every week,” junior Michael Camporeale said. “So it’s important to beat these teams because, when you’re playing a UCLA, Stanford, or ASU, it’s going to be harder to beat those teams.”

This early in the season it’s tough to know where any team stands, and just because St. Josephs’ record doesn’t inspire fear, there’s no way of knowing what that record will be at the end of the season.

“I don’t think any team is as good as their record indicates or as bad as their record indicates,” Meggs said. “They’re dealing with some weather issues like a lot of people from over the country. They’re well-coached, so we expect those guys to come in here and play us as hard as anybody’s played us, and we expect nothing less.”

The series will begin at Husky Ballpark today at 5 p.m. when right-hander Aaron West will take the mound for the UW. Saturday the teams will play a double-header with the first pitch at 1 p.m., and the series will wrap up with the final game Sunday at 1 p.m.

Reach reporter Jacob Thorpe at sports@dailyuw.com or on Twitter @Jacob_B_Thorpe.

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