Fellow former Redskin Noah Blackhurst and former Nitro player Andrew Pickering (.358 each last year) will provide some lineup support for Smith.
The veteran Jackets will open the season Monday with a home doubleheader against Pitt Johnstown. First pitch is scheduled for noon.
"The big thing is last year we had no depth," Bailey said. "The guys who played all the time didn't have anybody pushing them. It's a little different situation this year. If some of these young guys step up when someone falters, they'll get a chance to do the job."
Both Bailey and Bradley spoke briefly about the conference and in particular the last season of WVC baseball that is about to get under way. Both UC and State will be charter members when the 12-team Mountain East Conference begins play in 16 sports starting in the fall.
Bradley admitted that the final season of the WVC is something he has used for motivation already this year.
"We've thrown that out there," Bradley said. "The simple fact is that whoever gets the hardware last can keep it. I think it's a reasonable expectation for us. The biggest thing at our level is everybody around us is real comparable, the side that makes the difference is the mental aspect. We still have a bit of a chip on our shoulder and we feel like we have something to prove and I like that."
While Bailey is also hopeful his team, which has won the conference crown 13 times since 1959, can raise the trophy at the end of the year, he stopped well short of guaranteeing anything.
"I always approach every season like we're not going to win a game," Bailey said. "I don't understand coaches who can predict what they're going to do. I try to approach it in a way like our backs are against the wall if we don't come through."
While UC and State are gearing up to begin their seasons, WVU Tech is already underway and off to a rough start after dropping its first three games, all to NAIA No. 1 Tennessee Wesleyan.
The Golden Bears finished 22-29 last year and will look to improve on that this year as the team continues its season today at Laurinburg, N.C., with a game against St. Andrews University.
The next chance to check out Tech at home will be on Feb. 23 when it plays a noon game against Ohio Valley and follows with a tilt against Cincinnati Clermont at 3 p.m.
Reach Ryan Pritt at 304-348-7948, ryan.pr...@wvgazette.com, or follow him at twitter.com/RPritt.