Rock Hill, S.C. - The Brevard College baseball team was picked ninth in the 2009 South Atlantic Conference Baseball preseason poll, the league announced Wednesday. The Tornados are coming off a 10-38 season as provisional members of the SAC and NCAA Division II. Brevard went 3-18 against SAC foes.
Todd Anderson's team is highlighted by a strong starting pitching rotation, including ace southpaw Shane Galloway. Galloway went 4-7 in ten starts last season, with a 3.50 ERA. Seniors Ryan Toney (2-6, 4.67 ERA) and Seth Laughter (0-6, 5.94 ERA) round out the weekend rotation for a club that will lean heavily on its pitching.
Brevard's top returning hitter is 1B/3B Stephen Mullis, who hit .321 last season. RF Adam Arrowood is back after leading the '08 team with 23 RBI, and CF Brice Warner will lead off in the batting order after swiping seven bases a year ago.
The Tornado line-up will rely on a group of transfers to provide some much-needed power in the middle of the order. 2B Matthew Pruitt, a transfer from Western Carolina, 1B Jackie Corn, Pruitt's teammate at WCU and 3B William Scholer, from Kirkwood Community College, are expected to bring some pop to an offense that hit just 11 HR and slugged .312 last season.
Tusculum College is the favorite to win the 2009 South Atlantic Conference baseball championship. The Pioneers received six first-place votes and 76 total points in the SAC pre-season baseball poll. The preseason All-Conference team was also announced, with the Pioneers placing three players on the first team, and one more on the second team.
The Pioneers baseball team is listed No. 22 in the country according to the 2009 Collegiate Baseball Magazine NCAA Division II Preseason Poll. Tusculum returns its top three pitchers, along with four starting field players from last season’s 41-15 squad that won the 2008 Food Lion SAC Tournament title and advanced to the NCAA Tournament for a second straight year and fourth time in six seasons.
Four Pioneers players were selected on the preseason All-Conference team. Pitcher Raymond Ruggles, who finished last season with a 1.62 ERA, pitcher Boo Morrow, who had a 7-0 pitching record with a 2.00 ERA in the 2008 season and outfielder Ricky Feliz were named to the first team. Pitcher C.J. Hillyer was named to the second team.
Catawba College is picked to finish second. The Indians won the 2008 regular season SAC championship and received three first place votes and 70 total points.
The Indians have the most preseason All-Conference selections with seven selections. Pitcher Blake Ketner, who finished with a 3.34 ERA last year, pitcher Tim Holmes, shortstop Chris Ahearn, third baseman Craig Lyerly, who batted .390 last season, and designated hitter Brett Hatley were selected to the first team All-Conference team. Catcher Ryan Query and pitcher Alex Fairweather were named to the second team.
Carson-Newman College is picked to finish third. The Eagles received 63 points.
Carson-Newman had the second most players selected to the preseason All-Conference with five honorees. First baseman Derek Long and outfielder Tyler Wynn, were named first team. Pitcher Wes McIntyre, who finished the 2008 season with a 6-2 record, relief pitcher Corbin Ariail and shortstop Mills Rogers were selected to the second team.
Wingate University was picked to finish fourth after receiving 49 points. The Bulldogs are heading into their second season with head coach Allen Osborn. Designated hitter Kevin Childs was named preseason second team All-Conference.
Newberry College is sixth in the preseason poll with 34 points. They return pitching ace Josh McElwee, who led the league in strikeouts last year with 104 and a 4.00 ERA. Also returning for Newberry is second team outfielder Phillip Bartz.
Lincoln Memorial University is picked to finish seventh. The Railsplitters received 30 points. They return pitchers Mitch Kramer, who finished tenth in the league with 51 strikeouts and a 4.80 ERA, and Steven Starbird who finished last year with a 6-3 record.
Mars Hill College was picked to finish eighth in the preseason poll after receiving 27 points. Catcher Mike Dobre and second baseman Brian Williams were named first team. Third baseman Corry DiBiase and outfielder Brandon Savoca were named second team.
Brevard rounds out the preseason poll receiving ten points.
The 2009 baseball season begins February 1 with a number of games – Tusculum at Barton; Carson-Newman at Augusta State; Limestone at Newberry; Wingate at USC Aiken; Mars Hill at Belmont Abbey; LMU at Lander and Pfeiffer at Lenior-Rhyne.
The 2009 Food Lion SAC Baseball Tournament will be April 23-26 at Wingate University. The tournament winner will receive an automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament.
2009 SAC BASEBALL COACHES POLL
Poll 1st Total
1. Tusculum 6 76
2. Catawba 3 70
3. Carson-Newman 63
4. Wingate 49
5. Lenoir-Rhyne 46
6. Newberry 34
7. Lincoln Memorial 30
9. Mars Hill 27
9. Brevard 10
2009 PRESEASON SAC BASEBALL ALL CONFERENCE TEAM
Catcher – Mike Dobre, Mars Hill
Pitcher – Raymond Ruggles, Tusculum
Pitcher– Blake Ketner, Catawba
Pitcher – Boo Morrow, Tusculum
Relief Pitcher – Tim Holmes, Catawba
First Base – Derek Long, Carson-Newman
Second Base – Brian Williams, Mars Hill
Shortstop – Chris Ahearn, Catawba
Third Base – Craige Lyerly, Catawba
Outfielder – Nick Siega-Riz, Wingate
Outfielder – Tyler Wynn, Carson-Newman
Outfielder – Ricky Feliz, Tusculum
Designated Hitter – Brett Hatley, Catawba
Catcher – Ryan Query, Catawba
Pitcher – Alex Fairweather, Catawba
Pitcher – C.J. Hillyer, Tusculum
Pitcher – Wes McIntyre, Carson-Newman
Relief Pitcher – Corbin Ariail, Carson-Newman
First Base – Zach Glass, Lenoir-Rhyne
Second Base – Hank Wofford, Lenoir-Rhyne
Shortstop – Mills Rogers, Carson-Newman
Third Base – Corry DiBiase, Mars Hill
Outfielder – Phillip Bartz, Newberry
Outfielder – Brandon Savoca, Mars Hill
Outfielder – Evan Taylor, Lenoir-Rhyne
Designated Hitter – Kevin Childs, Wingate