South Regional Preview

Can Shenandoah run the table?  They are just one of a half dozen teams that are on top of the favorites list for a regional crown.
Shenandoah athletics photo

by Ryan Mossman

The South region has seen a drought and not just with rain, but with championships. Roanoke represented the South in the Division III World Series in Appleton, but fell late in the tournament to Washington & Jefferson. Since 1999 when NC Wesleyan hoisted the National Championship trophy, 21 teams from the South region have made the trip to Appleton but have come home empty handed.

The 2018 season, more than any other year, seems as wide open as ever with more questions than answers about returning teams. Can this season be the year that ODAC contender Shenandoah returns to Appleton after losing in the regional championship in two consecutive years? Can Birmingham Southern with its experienced young core push for their first ever trip to Appleton? Can the USA South favorite, LaGrange, build on consecutive 30 win seasons with as much turnover they are facing in their lineup and pitching staff? Or will Salisbury, Randolph Macon or Piedmont emerge champions in their conference and fight to reach Appleton.

New Faces

Drew Bailey, Averett: ​The third coach ever in the Averett Baseball program history is Drew Bailey. Bailey comes to Danville after working as the pitching coach and recruiting coordinator for NAIA Bluefield College. Bailey takes over a program that has over 400 wins in their 22 year history. A native of Christiansburg, Va, Bailey graduated from Concord University where he went on to be drafted in the 35th round by the Oakland Athletics in 2010. ​"I'd like to thank Averett President Dr. Tiffany Franks, Meg Stevens and the Averett community for their trust in me to lead their baseball program, my family and I are very thankful for this opportunity to be a part of the Averett family."

Jordan Stampler, Pfeiffer: ​Jordan Stampler becomes the seventh coach in Pfeiffer baseball history and takes over a program in the first year as a provisional D III member. For the last two and a half years Stampler has been the assistant coach and recruiting coordinator. Previously, Stampler spent a season as the assistant coach and recruiting coordinator for Adrian in 2014 where they finished 33-15. Following his stint at Adrian, Stampler began as a volunteer coach at USC Upstate before being promoted to assistant coach and recruiting coordinator. ​"I am extremely fortunate and grateful for the opportunity to take over the baseball program here at Pfeiffer," said Stampler. "I know the rich history of the program and I have been privileged to be a part of it for the last few years. It is truly an honor to be mentioned in the same sentence as some of the great head coaches our program has seen. As our Head Coach, I plan to continue to build on the past successes and drive this program to reach its full potential both on and off the field."

Lucas Jones, Lynchburg: ​After 20 seasons, Percy Abell retired as head coach and his replacement is former Lynchburg standout Lucas Jones. In 2005, while playing for the Hornets Jones was named ODAC Player of the Year and scholar athlete of the year as well as was named VaSID Player of the Year. For the past two seasons, Jones was the Head Coach of 2017 ODAC runner-up Washington & Lee and previously was the head coach of Patrick Henry Community College. Jones’ assistant coaching experience includes fellow ODAC opponent Randolph Macon as well as VCU, George Mason. "My time at Lynchburg playing for Coach Abell were some of the greatest times in my life. This place changed my life and shaped my core values. It is humbling and my honor to give back to a school and program that has done so much for me. Coach Abell built a program that centered around student-athletes with high character and great intent. It is my responsibility to continue building on that brand so that our campus community and alumni are proud."

Ted White earned a promotion when Lucas Jones
took the head coaching job at Lynchburg.

Washington and Lee athletics photo

Ted White, Washington & Lee: ​After Lucas Jones resigned to take a head coaching position at Lynchburg College, Director of Athletics Jan Hathorn promoted Ted White to head coach. White had been an assistant coach under Jones the previous two seasons in Lexington. Prior to coming to W&L, White spent eight seasons as an assistant coach at James Madison University including his final two seasons as the top assistant. Before becoming an assistant at JMU, White was an assistant at McNeese State, Gulf Coast Community College and an administrative assistant with LSU. "I am honored to be the head coach of Washington and Lee baseball and I would like thank Ms. Hathorn, Dr. Keen, Provost Connor, and the search committee for this opportunity," said White. “It is my goal to use the foundation of character and integrity that every student embodies to expand the reach of the Washington and Lee baseball team in the community and campus.”

Games to Watch in 2018

February 20, March 6​: Birmingham-Southern vs. LaGrange - The USA South favorite faces off versus the SAA favorite in a home and home series.
March 4: ​Oswego St. at Salisbury - The Seagulls take on one of the best in the New York region.
March 12: ​Johns Hopkins at Salisbury - An out of region matchup that could be a World Series preview.
March 30-31​: Piedmont at LaGrange - The top two teams picked by the USA South coaches face off in an early series that could sway the standings for the season.
April 21​: Randolph Macon at Shenandoah - The two favorites for the ODAC championship face off in a late season series for potentially the regular season championship.
March 21, April 12: ​Salisbury and CNU face off in a home and home series that could determine the regular season champion in the CAC.

Conference Previews

Salisbury will be looking to make their sixth
appearance in the D-III World Series.

Salisbury athletics photo

Capital Athletic Conference​: No. 18 ​Salisbury ​(35-11), the favorite to win the CAC in 2018, opens up with a tough test against perennial powerhouse Cortland State. The Seagulls return eight players who appeared in at least 30 games and none more important than Jr. 3B Jack Barry (.333/.486/.618, 23 XBH). The South region pick will look to build on a season in which he took a big step forward and played for top summer team the Charlottesville TomSox in the Valley Baseball league. So. Justin Meekins (.329/.542/.454, 12 XBH, 27 HBP) and Jr. Jay Perry (.358/.441/.585, 10 XBH) are returning first team CAC selections and will provide the depth Salisbury needs along with second team pick Sr. Scott Ardoin (.341/.401/.453, 13 XBH, 13 SB). While the Gulls do bring back ten pitchers from 2017 only four pitchers threw over 10 innings and only one pitcher threw over 30 innings leaving a big question mark on who will bear the workload in 2018. Look for Sr. Connor Reeves (62 IP, 51K, 4.06 ERA) to take a step forward in the rotation as Salisbury looks to make it three straight CAC titles.

Christopher Newport​ (25-15) return all but two offensive players from the 2017 season including all conference selection Sr. DH Brandon Ginch (.326/.394/.526, 14 XBH). CNU also returns leadoff hitter Jr. Jordan Mason (.286/.370/.371, 13 XBH, 10 SB) and middle of the lineup hitter Sr. Craig Johnson (.363/.458/.524, 12 XBH). Look for Old Dominion University transfer Jr. Seth Woodward to be an impact player in the lineup for the next two seasons. The Captain’s pitching only lost two pitchers with over 20 innings in 2017 and returns CAC Rookie of the Year R-So. Thomas Packard (61 IP, 64K, 2.95 ERA) as well as arguably top reliever in D III Sr. Joe Burris (24 ⅓ IP, 34K, 1.11 ERA). Look for Jr. Logan Harrelson (57 ⅔ IP, 58K, 4.68 ERA) to be a key part of the rotation and Jr. Austin Slough (19 IP, 17K, 3.79 ERA) to provide bullpen depth.

Vying for the CAC title will also be ​Marymount​ (20-21) who returns top hitters Jr. Luke Tyree (.317/.356/.545 20 XBH, 10 SB) and Jr. two-way Connor Hall (.300/.403/.446, 13 XBH, 18 ⅔ IP, 19K, 2.41 ERA). While the Saints lost a bulk of their lineup they return depth on the mound including Sr. Colin Bazemore (57 ⅓ IP, 66K, 5.18 ERA). ​Frostburg​ (17-19) returns one of the top pitchers in D III in Sr. Greg Schneider (73 ⅔ IP, 103K,2.93 ERA) who looks to lead a staff who only lost two pitchers to graduation. Schneider also has a chance to become one of the few D III pitchers with 400+ Ks in his career. The Panthers lineup returns five hitters with at least 100 at bats including all conference selections Sr. Matt Bougourd (.345/.424/.572/24 XBH) and Sr. Kyle Burger (.359/.404/.519/15 XBH/12 SB). Also look for Sr. Colton Sivic (.281/.354/.523/17 XBH) to provide depth in the Frostburg lineup.

Looking to take a step forward after only losing two pitchers and three bats from the lineup is Mary Washington​ (20-19). The Eagles look will to Jr. Stephen Johnston (.353/.432/.532/15 XBH) and So. Christian Hague (.303/.362/.508/19 XBH). Someone who could take a step forward would be former all South region selection Sr. David Slupek (.328/.397/.557/4 HR). The pitching staff returns ace Jr. Hank Biggs (67 ⅓ IP, 72K, 3.88 ERA) and top reliever Sr. Bryant White (29 ⅓ IP, 34K, 5.83 ERA). R-Jr. Cole Jarvis (11 ⅔ IP, 17K, 3.09 ERA) as someone who could emerge on the back end for the Eagles. ​Wesley​ (19-15) will rely on their two top returning hitters in Sr. SS Chris Seibert (.411/.466/.716, 24 XBH) and Sr. C/OF Cody Dmiterchik (.304/.394/.420, 14 XBH) as well as top pitcher Sr. Alex Marrs (69 ⅔ IP/78K/2.97 ERA).

York​ (18-23), ​Penn St. Harrisburg​ (16-23), ​St. Mary’s​ (9-22), ​Southern Virginia ​(12-28) will all be fighting to take one of the playoff spots from the projected top six. York returns seven players to the lineup with at least 110 ABs including standout Sr. OF Seth Brosius (.341/.407/.541, 22 XBH) who was an ABCA all region selection. Penn St. Harrisburg will look to ride So. 2B Bret Williams (.366/.437/.662, 22 XBH) and the return of their entire pitching staff. Southern Virginia hopes to compete with the duo of Sr. OF Ryan Sanders (.338/.444/.490, 16 XBH) and So. Riley Daniels (.317/.353/.545, 17 XBH). St Mary’s will look for R-So. Jay Hammett (.345/.402/.536, 14 XBH) to be the focal point of the offense.

TEAM TO BEAT: Salisbury

The Roanoke Maroons were a surprise team
in the 2017 D-III World Series and will be in
the mix in 2018. photo by Kylie Bridenhagen

Old Dominion Athletic Conference: In 2017, the ODAC provided D III fans with a cinderella team they could root for in No.17 Roanoke​ (35-19). The Maroons (6th seed in ODAC tournament) fell on day one of the ODAC tournament, but stormed back to win four straight games including two on championship day to secure an automatic bid. Then Roanoke proceed to win the south regional and clinch their first trip to Appleton in school history. They will have their hands full in 2018 as they defend their ODAC title, but return 2nd team ABCA Sr. OF Sean Guida (.344/.420/.482, 19 XBH, 17 SB) and Jr. Dean Hermanson (.343/.408/.431, 14XBH, 32 RBI) to their lineup. On the mound they return seven pitchers who logged at least 20 IP in 2017 including Jr. Steven Looney (66 ⅓ IP, 38K, 4.34 ERA) and So. Sal Trancucci (59 ⅔ IP, 30K, 3.92 ERA) who both registered over 20 appearances last season.

No. 12 ​Shenandoah ​(41-10)​ ​is coming off of back to back seasons ending with a lose in the regional championship. The Hornets, who were picked by the ODAC coaches to win the conference, return one of D III baseball’s top prospects and 2017 ODAC Pitcher of the Year in Colin Morse (92 ⅔ IP, 96K, 2.43 ERA). Rounding out the trio of talented starters for the Hornets are So. Gerard DePhillips ( 89 ⅔ IP, 50K, 2.31 ERA) and Sr. Michael Bugonowicz (59 ⅓ IP, 49K, 2.58 ERA). The Hornets lineup returns 4 starters including Jr. 1B Luke Nussman (.411/.463/.532, 12XBH) who battled back from illness to finish the year as a South region selection for both and ABCA. Skipper Kevin Anderson will also look to Jr. 2B Tristan Baker (.329/.416/.381, 11XBH, 30BB), Sr. OF Nick Goode (.325/.426/.438, 17 XBH) as well as Wake Tech transfer Keegan Woolford for offensive production.

Randolph Macon ​(26-15), who only trailed Shenandoah by 1 point in the ODAC coaches poll, returns the bulk of their roster after only losing six to graduation. Sr. OF Cole Migliorini (.399/.484/.712, 26 XBH, 45 RBI) is the reigning ODAC Player of the Year and leads a Jackets offense that returns 6 hitters who had at least 85 At Bats in 2017. Migliorini will be challenged by his own teammate Sr. two-way player Rick Spiers who has a career .370/.418/.512 slash line and has a 2.68 ERA, 150K in 174 ⅔ IP. Spiers shined in the Valley league this summer for the top ranked collegiate summer team the Charlottesville Tom Sox where he had a .41 ERA and 27K in 22 IP as well as hit .311/.378/.393. Expect Jr. Jeff Butler (.371/.447/.523, 15 XBH, 18 SB) and So. Ryan Duphorn (.340/.447/.380, 24 BB,17 SB) to bolster the top of the Jackets lineup. Head Coach Ray Hendrick will look for Spiers and Jr. Nick Roth III (57 ⅔ IP, 45K, 3.28 ERA) to provide a 1-2 punch that can backed with Sr. sidearmer Christian Cok (33 ⅔ IP, 31K, 2.94 ERA) who has taken strides in his games to become a shutdown backend pitcher. Look for Jr. Colin Selby (74 IP, 66K, 3.41 ERA) to take a big step forward after having a good 1st season before dealing with injury in 2017.

Hampden Sydney ​(21-19)​ ​comes into the 2018 season returning to their lineup all six players who appeared in over 30 games as well as eight players who had at least 70 at bats in 2017. Highlighting the Tigers lineup will be Sr. Brian Goodwyn who looks poised to contend for ODAC player of the year. The 2016 ODAC Rookie of the Year has a career .335/.394/.476 triple slash along with stealing 42 bases in 52 attempts and increasing his walk rate by 5%. 2nd team ODAC two-way selection Sr. Jayson Maitland (.309/.380/.330, 15 ⅔ IP, 3SV, 17K) and ODAC 3rd team catcher Sr. Devin Daughtry (.333/.398/.473, 9XBH) will provide depth in an experienced lineup. Head Coach Jeff Kinne will see his entire starting rotation return which is lead by ODAC 3rd team selection So. Chase Mayberry (60 ⅔ IP, 48K, 2.82 ERA) and will also feature ODAC 2nd Team pick Sr. Zack Perkins ( 49 ⅔ IP, 50K).So. Jonathan Triesler (52 IP, 47K, 3.12 ERA) and Maitland will provide bullpen depth for the Hampden Sydney staff.

Washington & Lee ​(28-14)​ ​looks to compete for another ODAC tournament appearance following a loss in the 2017 ODAC tournament. 1st year Head Coach Ted White will look to standout pitcher Jr. Danny Devereux ( 58 IP, 46K, 2.33 ERA) who was a ODAC 1st Team selection, D3baseball 1st Team South region selection and ABCA 3rd team South region selection. The Generals return four players to their lineup including 1st team ODAC SS Chadwick Feeley (.371/.457/.444, 13XBH) and 3rd team ODAC OF Kyle Ruedisilli (.294/.411/.475, 16XBH). So Ryan Monson (.294/.380/.380, 12 XBH) will provide further depth to the lineup in 2018.

The Marlins of Virginia Wesleyan ​(21-20)​ ​will look to a trio of seniors who return to the lineup in 2018 including two time ODAC selection SS Brandon Kussmaul (.311/.418/.476, 20XBH). Along with Kussmaul look for OF Dean Hammond (.333/.389/.434, 12XBH) and OF Randy Niesz (.355/.428/.523, 16XBH). Head Coach Chris Francis will look to Sr. Nick Bay (63 ⅔ IP, 42K, 4.95 ERA) and Sr. Chance Pauley (58 ⅓ IP, 27K, 3.39 ERA) with the departure of Freshman of the Year Pat Monteverde during the offseason to D II Seton Hill.


Mitchell Stumpo finished with the second most
RBIs for the Quakers in 2017 and early in this
season is Guilford's RBI leader.

Guilford athleics photo

Guilford​ (22-17)​ ​will be fighting for their first ODAC tournament bid since the 2013 season and are led by 2017 1st Team ODAC 2B Trevor Denton (.366/.397/.543, 23 XBH). Look for Sr SS Josh Shepherd (.351/.465/.446 12 XBH), Jr. OF Mitchell Stumpo (.364/.429/.503, 16 XBH), and R-Sr. Rocco Wilcox (.392/.478/.477, 10 XBH) to provide great depth for the offense. So. Ty Walser (36 IP, 25K, 3.75 ERA) returns after making 7 starts in 2017 and will be counted on to take on more innings in the rotation this season.

Fighting for the last playoff spot is ​Emory & Henry ​(17-23) who will look to their trio of 2017 ODAC 3rd team selections Sr. Josh Macek (.376/.424/.486, 7 XBH), Jr. Ben Sexton (.363/.411/.513, 11 XBH), and Jr. Logan Forster (.295/.368/.311). ​Lynchburg​ (17-21) now led by experienced ODAC coach Lucas Jones will be led by senior duo Luke Rodgers (.303/.353/.492, 13 XBH) and Will Harris (.361/.417/.515, 10 XBH). ​Bridgewater ​(14-25) looks to move back toward their past success as an ODAC powerhouse. Sr. Chris King (.362/.416/.428, 7 XBH) and ODAC 3rd team SS selection Sr. Jacob Talley (.367/.438/.438, 7 XBH) will lead the Eagles fight for a tournament spot. The Royals of ​ Eastern Mennonite ​return ODAC 1st team UTIL G.-Sr. Damon Frazier (.352/.382/.492, 67 ⅔ IP, 50K, 4.92 ERA) and 16 other upperclassmen as they fight for a spot in the ODAC tournament.

TEAM TO BEAT: Shenandoah

Southern Athletic Association: No. 7 ​Birmingham Southern ​(39-10) continues to be one of the most consistent top 25 teams in D III baseball as they have averaged the second most wins (32.9) over the last decade in the region. The Panthers will look to make it their 8th 30 win season in the last 11 years and win the SAA tournament for the 3rd time since 2014. Coach Jan Weisberg will turn to his young core that offensively returns four starters with 130 or more at bats in 2017 including Jr. standout Richie Misischia (.346/.459/.371, 27 ⅓ IP, 32K, 2.96 ERA). Also, key returning pieces are d3baseball South region 1B selection Jr. Tyler Wise (.288/.407/.506, 19 XBH) as well as SAA Honorable Mention catcher Jr. AJ Hunt (.255/.293/.352, 31% CS). Jr. John Michael Shirley (45 IP, 40K, 4.20 ERA) will anchor a young staff that saw their top two starters and relievers depart. Jr. Jake Cook (37 IP, 27K, 2.92 ERA) will be counted on to handle the bulk of the bullpens workload.

Rhodes ​(27-21) will try to defend the SAA title, but will have a slew of upperclassmen who will be looked upon to lead the Lynx. So. Paul Giacomazzi (.315/.380/.400, 11XBH, 13SB) is a returning Gold Glove award winner and SAA Honorable Mention who will be counted on to lead the offense with SAA 2nd team pick Jr. Jacob Telli (.317/.485/.500, 14 XBH) and ABCA South 3rd team OF pick Sr. Levi Greensberg (.272/.346/.337, 5 XBH). On the pitching side, the Lynx return ABCA South 3rd team selection Sr. Nick Ferngren ( 39 ⅔ IP, 44K, 2.27 ERA) who will be counted on along with So. Jacob Dubs (35 ⅔ IP, 40K, 3.03 ERA).

The Vikings of ​Berry ​(23-21) looks to use their experience to compete for the SAA title as they return 6 players who have at least 100 career plate appearances. Returning are five SAA selections offensively including first team 2B Jr. Slade Dale (.322/.341/.444, 17 XBH) along with second team picks Sr. OF Casey Whitaker (.383/.432/.494, 15 XBH, 16 SB), So. two-way Tyler Cavert (.325/.404/.386, 7IP, 9K, 2.57 ERA). On the mound the Vikings return every single pitcher from 2017 including SAA second team picks Sr. Trey Rampy (68 ⅓ IP, 37K, 2.90 ERA) and So. Dylan Beasley (66 IP, 42K, 4.77 ERA).

Oglethorpe is also coming off a season in which
they won the NCAA Division III statistical
championship in home runs per game, cracking
1.18 long balls per contest over the season.

Oglethorpe athletics photo

Hendrix ​(20-22) will look to break the school record for wins (23) with their trio of all region returners led by Sr. OF Drew Judson (.395/.449/.581, 19 XBH, 10 SB) who is a a two time and ABCA selection South region selection. Providing more fire power to the Warriors lineup is Jr. 3B Jorge Leon (.383/.488/.543, 20 XBH, 33BB) and Sr. OF Matthew Lillard (.357/.422/.597, 20 XBH). Head Coach Neil Groat will certainly be able to hand the ball off to an experienced staff that returns its entire starting rotation and only graduated two pitchers who threw more than 10 innings in 2017.

Rounding out the standings from 2017 were ​Millsaps​ (19-23), ​Ogelthorpe​ (18-22), ​Sewanee (19-23) and ​Centre​ (18-22). Millsaps will count on Sr. Jacob Mardick (70 ⅓ IP, 61K, 3.33 ERA) as well as seniors Andy Page (.387/.457/.427, 6 XBH) and Wes Lassere (.284/.388/.432, 12 XBH). The stormy petrels return 4 SAA selections including 2016 ABCA 2nd Team All American catcher Sr. C Adrian Celata (.298/.347/.596, 23 XBH). Look for Sr. Matt Davis (69 ⅔ IP, 72K) to lead the staff and Sr. OF Jarvis Miller (.315/.377/.503, 16 XBH) to help lead the Petrels. Sewanee returns ABCA all region selection Jr. Trey Akins (.386/.409/.530 18 XBH) and Sr. two-way player Drew Mancuso (.307/.357/.451 16 XBH, 79 ⅔ IP, 58K, 3.62 ERA) who look to lead the Tigers to their first winning season.

TEAM TO BEAT: Birmingham-Southern

USA South Athletic Conference: No. 10 ​LaGrange ​(40-6) comes off a program high for wins that lead to their first ever #1 ranking in school history. The Panthers dominated the USA South that lead to both a regular season and tournament championship. For head coach David Kelton the team will have to replace a lineup that loses seven seniors with regular playing time. LaGrange will look to Sr. OF James Poropatic (.373/.459/.551, 21 XBH) to be the an important piece this season. Look for Fr. Jack Layrisson, who was a top 70 3B for the class of 2016 according to Perfect Game, to provide a big middle of the lineup bat the Panthers need. So. Richie Post (38 ⅓ IP, 42K, 3.05 ERA) ,who was the USA South Rookie Pitcher of the Year, will be the ace going into the 2018 season. Look for Lureen B. Wallace transfer Austin Fain (36 IP, 25K, 3.50 ERA) and Fr. Gibson Bittner to make significant contributions to the pitching staff.

Coming in second in the USA South coaches poll are the ​Piedmont Lions​ (24-20) who came into the USA South tournament in 2017 as the #8 seed, but fell in the championship to league favorite LaGrange. The Lions return all but two hitters from their 2017 lineup including 1st team all conference OF and ABCA South region selection Jr. OF Brady Ballstadt (.346/.418/.530, 24 XBH, 24 SB). Providing depth to the lineup will be Jr. Andrew Burden (.395/.462/.645, 12 XBH) and Sr. Caleb Norton (.304/.406/.345, 14 SB). Returning to Piedmont’s pitching staff are all but one, including ace Jr. Max Bening (76 ⅔ IP, 44K, 3.87 ERA) and top back end pitcher Sr. Buddy Green (28 ⅔ IP, 28K, 3.14 ERA).

The Scots will have a ton of experience on the
field in 2018 with 12 seniors on the roster.

Maryville athletics photo

Ferrum ​(22-18) will look to challenge LaGrange for the USA South championship, but will have their hands full as they lose their top two hitters to graduation and star pitcher Hunter Peck who transferred in the offseason. The Panthers top two returning hitters are all conference selections So. Tim Ortega (.318/.417/.533, 15 XBH) and So. Dominick Claxton (.318/.399/.395, 22 XBH). Look for Jr. Joey Pride (41 IP, 30K, 5.05 ERA) and Sr. Jacob Holland (23 ⅔ IP, 17K, 3.42 ERA) to take on larger roles as weekend starters for the Ferrum this spring.

Maryville ​(19-20) will look to make big strides toward winning the USA South’s automatic bid as they return their entire lineup and all but two pitchers with 20 IP or more. All conference selections Sr. Andrew Henry (.343/.451/.448, 11 XBH, 12 SB) and Sr. Bryce Redaja (.266/.431/.570, 18 XBH, 10 SB) will provide depth in a veteran lineup. Look for So. Hayden Hollingsworth (.324/.405/.456, 6 XBH, 15 SB) and So. Drew Johnson (.311/.387/.417, 7 XBH) to build on great freshman campaigns. Look for transfer Jr. Jake Peterson to contribute in the middle of the order after being an all conference selection for College of Lake County. So Anthony Rodriguez (53 ⅓ IP, 43K, 3.71 ERA and Jr. Christian Poulsen who transferred in from Harper College look to be the 1-2 punch the Scots will use in their rotation.

N.C. Wesleyan​ (24-16) will look to use their their lineup depth to make a run for the conference title. Their lineup will revolve around So. Brad Pennington (.390/.472/.643, 27 XBH) who was South region Rookie of the Year and first team selection. Two-way player Jr. Nate Gardner (.333/.359/.465, 50 ⅔ IP, 32K, 2.49 ERA) who was a 2017 all conference selection as well as 2016 USA South Rookie of the Year Jr. Trey Croom (.317/.412/.432, 10 XBH) will provide experience for the Battling Bishops. Along with Gardner, J.D. Makauskas (19 ⅔ IP, 10K, 4.12 ERA) and Fr. Drew Tubb will work as the weekend rotation.

Fighting for the last spots in the conference tournament will be ​Greensboro​ (23-20). The Pride return ABCA 3rd team selection Sr. Piero Amador (76 ⅓ IP, 46K, 2.48 ERA) and top hitters So. Hunter Curtis (.331/.393/.380) and Sr. Jimmy Short (.303/.381/.471, 12 XBH. ​Huntington ​(13-24) returns their top two hitters in all conference selections Sr. Taylor Fought (.340/.385/.520, 15 XBH) and So. Wes Powell (.340/.443/.402, 6 XBH). ​Methodist ​(17-21) will roll out a lineup with seven returners from 2017 including all conference selection So. Matthias Carter (.343/.461/.503, 16 XBH, 12 SB) and Jr. Brennan Brown (.351/.447/.478, 12 XBH, 12 SB).

Richard Brereton is batting .483 through the
first eight games of the 2018 season. photo by Dave Hilbert

William Peace​ (17-21) will serve as host of the South regional in 2018. The Pacer all conference selection Sr. 1B Alec Allerd (.287/.393/.393, 12 XBH) and Wake Tech transfer Jr. Derek Jackson will be key in getting a tournament berth. ​Covenant​ (14-24) returns all region selection Caleb Bloye (.353/.449/.568, 22 XBH, 11 SB) as well as four starters from the 2017 lineup and their entire starting rotation led by Jr. Matt Reitz (59 ⅔ IP, 42K, 3.77 ERA) and Jr. Drew Bradley (56 IP, 44K, 3.38 ERA). ​Averett ​(9-26) led by first year coach Drew Bailey return top pitcher Jr. Matt Tuggle (54 ⅓ IP, 53K, 3.81 ERA). ​Berea ​(7-16) is competing in the USA South for the first time and will look for Jr. Griffin Norris (35 ⅔ IP, 22K, 2.78 ERA) to lead their rotation.

Joining the USA South as provisional members, but are not eligible for tournament play are Pfeiffer​ (24-25)​ ​and ​Brevard ​(10-37). Pfeiffer returns four hitters with over 100 ABs including Sr. Jordan Eckerd (.362/.410/.577, 21 XBH, 9 SB) and Sr. Derek Perry (.294/.368/.460, 21 XBH, 8 SB). The Falcons also return top pitcher Jr. Jordan Toney (96 IP, 61K, 5.53 ERA)​. ​Brevard only returns 5 upperclassmen , but look for So. Joseph Nelms (.281/.324/.438, 11 XBH) to be an impact player.


Independents: Emory ​(27-14) looks to make it five straight regional appearances, but will have their hands full after graduating many key pieces from their three straight D III World Series appearances in 2014-16. The Eagles lose top pitcher Jr. Billy Dimlow (74 IP, 83K, 1.09 ERA) who is the only pitcher ever to be a D3 South region Rookie and Pitcher of the Year to injury for the season. The Eagles will look to So. Rich Brereton (11H, 3XBH, .382 OBP, 32 ⅔ IP, 23K, 2.48 ERA) who was the UAA Rookie of the Year and had a stellar summer campaign with the U-23 Great Britain national team to take on a larger role. Emory also returns top offensive performers R-Jr. Bubby Terp (.318/.399/.439 11 XBH 31 RBI) who was 1st team UAA 1B and Sr. Nick Chambers who was second team UAA SS (.317/.404/.388, 9 XBH, 12SB).