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Big West establishes return to play protocols for spring sports

Jeremy Beard

CSUB baseball coach Jeremy Beard, left, makes a pitching change during the 2017 season. Beard and the Roadrunners may soon make a long-awaited return to the field after the Big West established return to play protocols for baseball and softball on Friday.

Spring sports at Cal State Bakersfield are one step closer towards making a return for the 2021 season.

On Friday, the Big West announced that it had established return to play protocols for four spring sports, including baseball and softball, the only sports on the list offered at CSUB.

In baseball, teams can play a four-game weekend series against conference opponents, with the league season running from March 19 to May 29. Teams can also schedule non-conference games prior to the conference season, but can play only one opponent per week once conference season begins. Midweek games are not allowed in Big West play.

The conference's softball season will run from March 19 to May 15, with teams allowed to play a three-game weekend series with the possibility of adding a fourth game, which would count as a non-conference tilt. Like in baseball, softball teams can only play on weekends against a single opponent.

“The Big West is excited to take the next step toward spring competition,” Big West Commissioner Dan Butterly said in a statement. “Our focus remains on the health, safety and well-being of our student-athletes and we will continue to evaluate the pandemic’s effect on our ability to provide a safe environment for competition.

"These schedule formats reflect the changes our Big West administrators, coaches and staff felt were necessary in the face of unprecedented challenges. I applaud their efforts to find solutions that move the Big West forward.”

CSUB is still awaiting word on when it can begin planning for seasons in men's and women's track and field, women's golf and beach volleyball, though the conference did state in its release that "Championships are planned for this spring" in those sports.

The Roadrunner baseball and softball teams haven't played since March 8 of last year. This spring will mark their first seasons in the Big West.

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