Hornets Picked Fourth in ODAC Baseball Poll

Bridgewater Leads ODAC Baseball Preseason Poll
Shenandoah, Randolph-Macon Earn Top Consideration in Second and Third

FOREST, Va. ---
Bridgewater College received eight first place votes as part of 98 total poll points as the Eagles sit atop the 2014 ODAC Baseball Preseason Poll.  Shenandoah University picked up one top nod towards 88 tallies, just three points clear of Randolph-Macon College in third.  The Yellow Jackets secured the remaining two first place votes in the annual coach's survey.

Inclement weather extended the 2013 ODAC Baseball Tournament by a day, and also forced a change of location to Lewis-Gale Field at Salem Memorial Ballpark in Salem, Va.  Bridgewater entered the rare Monday finish having won its previous two tournament games, but it was Randolph-Macon who came away with the title by defeating the Eagles twice to capture its fifth overall and second ODAC title in three years.

Both schools participated in the NCAA Division III Tournament, with BC earning an at-large selection.  R-MC was eliminated from postseason play with losses to Salisbury University (3-2) and Huntingdon College (5-0).  After an opening loss to Millsaps College (7-0), Bridgewater recovered with a 10-7 triumph over Methodist University.  In its next contest, the Eagles were eliminated by Huntingdon (6-2).

Nineteen all-conference selections return to diamonds across the league in 2014, and four of those wear Bridgewater (34-13 overall, 19-1 in ODAC play) uniforms and play for 2013 ODAC Coach of the Year, Curt Kendall.  Reigning ODAC Player of the Year, Nick Fulk (.371 BA, 14 2B, 33 RBI, 20 SB), highlights the Eagles' roster as an honorable mention preseason All-American by D3baseball.com.  He's joined by All-ODAC First Team right-hander Robert Gallet (6-5, 4.67 ERA, 71.1 IP, 49 K).  Southpaw starter Corey Armentrout (7-1, 2 SV, 4.01 ERA, 74.0 IP, 62 K) is back after earning a spot on the All-ODAC Second Team, a distinction that is shared by second baseman Bryan Sanderson (.311, 20 2B, 37 RBI).  BC's pitching corps is further bolstered by the return of four hurlers that threw at least 24 innings, including Kyle Henshaw (4-0, 2 SV, 3.19 ERA, 53.2 IP, 30 K), Justin Petock (4-2, 3.49 ERA, 38.2 IP, 24 K), Tyler Slavonec (1-0, 1 SV, 2.77 ERA, 26.0 IP, 23 K), and Nick Corbin (2-0, 4 SV, 0.74 ERA, 24.1 IP, 19 K).  The Eagles enter the season ranked 24th in the D3baseball.com preseason poll.

Shenandoah (27-12, 13-7) is loaded with returning offensive talent, with seven of its top eight hitters back in the fold to a squad that received votes towards the D3baseball.com preseason poll.  Outfielder Corbin Lucas (.370, 16 2B, 3 HR, 35 RBI) earned a spot on the All-ODAC Third Team.  The Hornets welcome back their full infield as well as their designated hitter, all collecting at least 39 hits and batting no lower than .324.  That group includes Michael Paul (.324, 17 2B, 5 HR, 32 RBI), J.J. McDaniel (.331, 13 2B, 6 HR, 33 RBI), Andrew Creamer (.336, 14 2B, 4 HR, 32 RBI), John Wilt (.341, 11 2B, 27 RBI), Dan Powers (.341, 11 2B, 5 HR, 23 RBI), and Daniel Freshley (.371, 11 2B, 3 HR, 23 RBI).  Third team reliever Michael Scimanico (5-1, 3 SV, 3.98 ERA, 31.2 IP, 35 K) is back in Winchester, and SU looks forward to the return of starter Vince Claudio (7-1, 3.66 ERA, 76.1 IP, 62 K in 2012) after missing all of 2013 due to injury.

Randolph-Macon (23-19-1, 10-9-1) returns one all-conference performer from its title winning squad in reigning ODAC Rookie of the Year and third teamer designated hitter Mitchell Keeler (.350, 10 2B, 5 HR, 25 RBI).  The Yellow Jackets feature plenty of returning talent including outfielder Michael Trentham (.300, 6 2B, 29 RBI) and catcher Tim Benjamin (.325, 12 2B, 35 RBI).  The pitching staff looks to starters Matt Fischgrund (4-1, 1 SV, 3.41 ERA, 60.2 IP, 55 K) and Jake Bram (3-4, 5.97 ERA, 60.1 IP, 27 K), as well as reliever Will Jennings (1-1, 8 SV, 1.21 ERA, 22.1 IP, 26 K).  R-MC also anticipates the return of left-handed starter Jamie Hendrick (4-4, 3.96 ERA, 84.0 IP, 37 K in 2012), who did not play in 2013.

Lynchburg College (18-18-1, 8-11-1) features two all-conference returners, both top-end starters.  Martin Henderlite (8-2, 1.12 ERA, 72.0 IP, 55 K) is back on the bump after earning ODAC Pitcher of the Year honors in 2013.  He enters the season as a second team preseason All-American by D3baseball.com.  Third team righty Brandon Miller (5-3, 4 CG, 3.06 ERA, 79.1 IP, 43 K) gives LC a tandem that combined to complete five games and gave up just 36 earned runs in 151.1 innings pitched.  Offensively, centerfielder Lincoln Evans (.318, 9 2B, 11 RBI) and catcher Jay Kenyon (.329, 6 2B, 18 RBI) lead a line-up that graduated three standouts from the top of the order.

Hampden-Sydney College (23-17-1, 13-7) is led by first baseman Jeff Gray (.372, 19 2B, 3 HR, 30 RBI), who picked up second team honors last season.  Outfielders Christian Hamlett (.316, 11 2B, 3 HR, 22 RBI) and Andrew Tucker (.344, 16 2B, 25 RBI) combined for 27 doubles in 2013.  The Tigers pitching staff will look to right-handers Teddy West (2-2, 4.69 ERA, 55.2 IP, 30 K) and Hunter Lewis (4-1, 3.11 ERA, 37.2 IP, 33 K) to lead the starters, with Billy Nixon (3-0, 2.53 ERA, 32.0 IP, 17 K) back after a solid campaign in relief.  Lewis (.288, 4 2B, 19 RBI) will man third base when he's not pitching.

Roanoke College (18-21, 10-10) made the ODAC Tournament for the first since 2004 under new head coach Matt McGuire in 2013.  The Maroons welcome back one all-conference selection from that squad in second team reliever Austin Gregory (3-1, 2 SV, 2.96 ERA, 45.2 IP, 39 K).  Starters Cameron Holshouser (4-5, 1 SV, 4.50 ERA, 56.0 IP, 50 K) and Jacob McMillan (2-2, 1 SV, 3.20 ERA, 45.0 IP, 29 K) return to the hill.  Middle infielders Cam Cassady (.303, 6 2B, 16 RBI) and Bradley Mattox (.273, 6 2B, 2 HR, 16 RBI, 17 SB) are joined by first baseman Jacob Clifton (.262, 3 HR, 14 RBI) and catcher Clark Crutchfield (.301, 4 2B, 13 RBI) in leading the offense.

Guilford College (20-18, 10-10) and Washington and Lee University (19-17, 11-9) combine to return five all-conference players.  The Quakers have two first teamers back in tow in outfielder John Macon Smith (.392, 8 2B, 4 HR, 33 RBI, 13 SB) and second baseman Corey Wallace (.389, 8 2B, 7 HR, 31 RBI).  Smith was the ODAC/Farm Bureau Insurance Scholar-Athlete last year, while Wallace is a 2014 honorable mention preseason All-American by D3baseball.com.  Designated hitter Nathan Fulbright (.414, 4 2B, 21 RBI) was a third team selection in 2013.  Borja Jones-Berasaluce (3-2, 3.69 ERA, 46.1 IP, 24 K) heads up the GC pitching staff.  The Generals welcome back a pair of second team standouts in southpaw starter Nate Plein (5-1, 1 SV, 3.71 ERA, 63.0 IP, 54 K) and outfielder Drew Weprinsky (.420, 8 2B, 14 RBI).  Outfielder Keegan Dolan (.331, 14 2B, 7 HR, 33 RBI, 16 SB) adds to W&L's offense, while righties Cory Smith (1-2, 1 SV, 5.18 ERA, 40.0 IP, 28 K) and Jake Rudolph (1-1, 4 SV, 6.00 ERA, 24.0 IP, 16 K) look to break into the rotation.

Virginia Wesleyan College (11-26, 8-12), Eastern Mennonite University (15-24, 4-16) and Emory & Henry College (9-27, 3-17) feature strong returning talent.  The Marlins pitching staff includes lefty starter Alex Tucci (5-5, 6 CG, 4.14 ERA, 82.2 IP, 64 K) and right-handers Reid Hoffler (0-3, 4.25 ERA, 53.0 IP, 36 K) and Brooks Kirby (1-1, 2 SV, 2.97 ERA, 33.1 IP, 22 K).  Infielder Brett Sutryk (.276, 14 RBI) and outfielder Jordan Miller (.245, 11 2B, 16 RBI) feature in the line-up.  EMU welcomes back a pair of third team choices in catcher Jonathan Estrada (.333, 17 2B, 2 HR, 34 RBI) and first baseman Adam Posey (.367, 8 2B, 21 RBI, 10 SB), who also is the Royals top returning starting pitcher (4-3, 3 CG, 2.81 ERA, 73.2 IP, 51 K).  Infielder Ryan McAlister (.293, 6 2B, 24 RBI, 13 SB) and outfielder Kyle Armstrong (.322, 8 2B, 23 RBI) add to the offense.  Emory & Henry is led by second team catcher Connor Wise (.311, 9 2B, 6 HR, 29 RBI).  He's joined in the batting order by infielder Bransen Christopher (.353, 7 2B, 3 HR, 18 RBI).  Matthew McInaw (2-5, 1 SV, 2 CG, 5.86 ERA, 50.2 IP, 28 K) and Ty Hill (2-4, 6.70 ERA, 43.0 IP, 12 K) head up the Wasps pitching staff.

The 2014 baseball season begins on Saturday, February 1.  For more information on ODAC baseball, visit any of the participating schools' websites or go to the ODAC's home on the Internet at www.odaconline.com.  Don't forget to become a fan of the ODAC on Facebook and follow @odacathletics on Twitter.

2014 ODAC BASEBALL PRESEASON POLL
(#) Denotes first place votes

1. Bridgewater (8)

98 pts.

2. Shenandoah (1)

88 pts.

3. Randolph-Macon (2)

85 pts.

4. Lynchburg

65 pts.

5. Hampden-Sydney

62 pts.

6. Roanoke

49 pts.

7. Guilford

46 pts.

7. Washington and Lee

46 pts.

9. Virginia Wesleyan

33 pts.

10. Eastern Mennonite

23 pts.

11. Emory & Henry

10 pts.