College spotlight: Local standouts on display in Carolina-State series

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It’s been two weeks since our last update on the dozen or so local ballplayers making strides at the college level.

A few of the area standouts had big weekends on the diamond as North Brunswick High School alum Steven Linkous smacked his first college home run on Friday night to guide UNCW in a three-game sweep over William & Mary.

Shane Shepard is congratulated by his brother Chance and the rest of the NC State ballclub after his first career home run. Photo courtesy- John Crouch
Shane Shepard is congratulated by his brother Chance and the rest of the NC State ballclub after his first career home run. Photo courtesy- John Crouch

In Chapel Hill, a pair of Ashley High School graduates faced off in the Carolina/N.C. State series when senior Trevor Kelley got freshman Shane Shepard to ground out to first in a tie game in the the top of the seventh.

Kelley ended up earning the victory on the mound for the Tar Heels with 3.2 innings of scoreless relief out of the Carolina bullpen in a 3-2 win in extra innings on Saturday.

Shepard cranked his first career homer to make it 2-1 in the top of the fifth before the Tar Heels tied the game and picked up the walk off victory in extra frames. Shepard went 1-for-4 at the plate.

With game tied at one in the opener on Friday, Joe O’Donnell surrendered a home run in the bottom of the seventh and was saddled with the loss in a 2-1 setback for the Wolfpack, but the freshman rebounded on Sunday as the right handed hurler from Hoggard pitched two shutout innings, fanning four, to help N.C. State capture a 6-3 victory over the Tar Heels to avoid the three-game sweep.

Below are 2015 statistics for each player through April 13.

Player, grade, position, college, high school

Trevor Kelley, senior, RHP, North Carolina, Ashley

Kelley continues to be the go-to guy out of the Carolina bullpen as the senior side winder has made a team-high 16 appearances. In 27 innings pitched, the Ashley alum has a 1-1 record with two saves and a 3.00 ERA. Kelly has allowed 10 runs-nine earned-with 27 strikeouts and just eight walks. Opposing hitters are batting .222 against the righty.

Trevor Kelley. Photo courtesy- Carolina Athletics
Trevor Kelley. Photo courtesy- Carolina Athletics

Jonathan Kelley, RHP, VMI, Ashley

Kelley has made three starts and 12 appearances for VMI this season. He has a 0-1 record with an 8.44 ERA in 21.1 innings pitched. Over the weekend, he allowed two runs on six hits in 4.2 innings as VMI pulled out a 5-4 win over East Tennessee State.

Bryan Sammons, sophomore, LHP, Western Carolina, Hoggard

Sophomore starter Bryan Sammons led a quartet of Catamount pitchers that combined to toss a five-hit shutout on Saturday as Western Carolina blanked the league-leading Mercer Bears 3-0. Sammons (3-3) scattered four hits through six scoreless innings, striking out five to work around seven walks to pick-up the victory for Western Carolina.

On the year, the lefty from Hoggard has a 3-3 record in eight starts with a 4.67 ERA. He has logged the most innings of any Catamount pitcher (44.1IP), with 36 strikeouts.

Sam Foy, junior, 2B, Davidson, New Hanover

Foy had two hits and two runs batted in during the weekend series at Fordham as the junior has a .296 batting average in 30 games played for the Wildcats. Foy is second on the team in total hits (37), third in doubles (7), and has a .951 fielding percentage.

Joe O’Donnell, sophomore, RHP, N.C. State, Hoggard

Joe O'Donnell. Photo courtesy- John Crouch
Joe O’Donnell. Photo courtesy- John Crouch

O’Donnell made two relief appearances over the weekend against North Carolina. The sophomore is tied for the team-high with 17 appearances and has a 4-2 record with a 2.12 earned run average. O’Donnell has fanned 35 hitters in 34 innings, with eight runs allowed and 11 walks. Opposing hitters are batting just .205 against the right-handed fireballer.

Steven Linkous, junior, OF, UNCW, North Brunswick

Linkous upped his batting average to .331 over the weekend as the Seahawks picked up a three-game sweep over William & Mary. The junior left-fielder smacked his first college home run on Friday and went a combined 5-for-15 over the weekend with four runs scored.

Steven Linkous. Photo courtesy- UNCW Athletics
Steven Linkous. Photo courtesy- UNCW Athletics

On the year, Linkous is second on the team with 33 runs scored, with eight doubles, 15 RBIs and 14 stolen bases.

Chance Shepard, junior, C, N.C. State, Ashley

Chance has seen action in 18 games for the Wolfpack with 10 starts. In 38 at-bats, Shepard has eight hits, two doubles, one home run and 6 RBIs.

Shane Shepard, freshman, INF, N.C. State, Ashley

Shane saw at-bats in a pair of games over the weekend against North Carolina. The freshman is 3-for-21 in his rookie season for the Wolfpack. He hit his first career home run  on Saturday, but the Pack fell to Carolina 3-2 in extra innings.

Pete Wildeboer, sophomore, Methodist, Laney

Wildeboer has played in all 33 games for Methodist this season. The sophomore is hitting .325 in 114 at-bats, with six doubles, two triples, 16 RBIs and 27 run scored. He had three hits over the weekend and three runs batted in as Monarchs improved to 26-8 overall with a pair of wins over Averett University.

Scott Johnson, senior, INF, Gardner Webb

Johnson is hitting .222 for Gardner Webb in 35 games played. He has 25 hits in 111 at-bats, with 12 runs scored, two doubles, one triple and six RBIs.

Colin Thacker, sophomore, C, OF, Gardner Webb, New Hanover

In 113 at-bats, the sophomore is hitting .248. Thacker has appeared in 32 of the 36 games played for Davidson. He has five doubles, one home run and 18 runs batted in.

Eric Eason, sophomore, UNC-Charlotte, Ashley

Eason has played in 11 games with six starts for UNC-Charlotte. The sophomore from Ashley has five hits in 20 at-bats, with a pair of doubles, two runs scored and five run batted in.

Coley Thompkins, P, Campbell, Hoggard

Thompkins has a team-high 19 appearances for Campbell this season. The righty has a 3-2 record with two saves in 32 innings pitched. He’s allowed 15 runs-10 earned-with five walks to 26 strikeouts and a 2.81 ERA.