Local standouts shining across all levels of college baseball

PortCityDaily.com is your source for free news and information in the Wilmington area.

With 30-some student-athletes competing across the country on various levels of college baseball this spring, here’s a quick look at some of their accomplishments and statistics heading through mid-March.

After breaking the school record for home runs in consecutive games, Chance Shepard (Ashley) continues to serve as a catalyst in the middle of the N.C. State lineup. His two-run double on Saturday proved to be the game-winner as the Wolfpack dropped two of three in their ACC opener against Boston College. Shepard went 3-for-12 over the weekend, and is now hitting .294 on the season. He’s tied for second in the nation with seven home runs, and has 20 RBI’s for the 13-4 Wolfpack.

Collin Thacker. Photo courtesy- Gardner Webb Athletics
Collin Thacker (Photo courtesy Gardner Webb Athletics)

Younger brother Shane Shepard (Ashley) played in just one of the three games for N.C. State during the weekend series at Doak Field. He went 1-for-3 in the finale on Sunday. Shane Shepard is 10-for-36 (.278) on the year, with three doubles, two triples and nine runs batted in.

N.C. State earned a 3-2 win on Saturday before dropping a 1-0 contest on Sunday. Joe O’Donnell (Hoggard) suffered his first loss of the season on Friday in a 7-0 setback. The righty fell to 2-1 after throwing six innings for the Wolfpack, allowing seven runs – two earned – on nine hits, with two walks and five strikeouts. O’Donnell has thrown the most innings of any N.C. State pitcher (21.2IP). He has a 3.32 ERA, with six total walks and 21 strikeouts.

The UNCW baseball team went on the road for just the second time this year over the weekend and the Seahawks were swept in all three games against North Florida. UNCW fell to 9-5 on the season and 0-4 on the road.

Senior Steven Linkous had three hits over the weekend with two runs scored. He did see his consecutive games on base streak snapped at 14 after going 0-for-4 on Saturday. For the season, the speedster from Leland is hitting .339. He has a .418 on base percentage as the Seahawks’ lead-off hitter and remains a perfect 14-for-14 in stolen base attempts.

Junior left-handed pitcher Bryan Sammons (2-1) tossed a career-long eight innings as Western Carolina pulled even in the best-of-three series at Indiana with a 4-1 victory in the front end of Saturday’s twin bill. Sammons (Hoggard) was superb on the mound, limiting the Hoosier hitters to one run, while scattering six base hits. The Wilmington native struck out nine batters – one shy of his career high – with just one walk.

Ward Coleman. Photo courtesy- Davidson College Athletics
Ward Coleman. Photo courtesy- Davidson College Athletics

Davidson College beat Campbell 7-4 in their weekend opener on Friday, but dropped games to Rhode Island and Indiana over the next two days to fall to 7-8 on the year. Freshman Ward Coleman (New Hanover) had three hits in seven at-bats for the Wildcats, while Sam Foy (New Hanover) went 2-for-5 in the opener against the Camels.

Coleman has seen increased time in his rookie year at Davidson, going 6-for-11 so far this season, with two starts and five games played. Foy is batting .245 over 49 at-bats. He has three doubles and one triple to go along with nine runs batted in.

Collin Thacker (New Hanover) hit his second home run of the season for Gardner-Webb this weekend as the Runnin’ Bulldogs earned a 5-4 win in the series finale to grab a three-game sweep over James Madison. Thacker went 2-for-4 with a home run, one double and two RBI. Gardner Webb is 17-1 overall this season. Thacker is hitting a team-high .439. In 66 at-bats, he has 29 hits, with 10 doubles, 21 RBI’s and 12 runs scored.

Trey Croom (New Hanover) is among one of the leading hitters for N.C. Wesleyan, batting .372.

With 14 home runs, Mason Berne (Topsail) is second in the nation in round-trippers among National Junior College Athletic Association Division I ball clubs. He’s hitting .466 for Spartanburg Methodist.

Freshman Danny Wilson (Topsail) collected three hits for UNC-Asheville this weekend, but the Bulldogs were swept by Iona. Wilson his hitting .302 in his rookie season.

Other players contributing to their college programs this season include: Pete Wildeboer (Methodist), Kevon Perkins (Spartanburg Methodist), Jake Madole (UNC-Asheville), Max Johnson, (Phoenix College – Arizona); Jon Kuebler (Guilford Tech), Brandon Boone (Guilford Tech), Chris Graham (UNC-Greensboro), Jake Shumate (Francis Marion), Josh Larson (Guilford Tech), Chandler Taylor (Pitt Community College), Markel Jones (Brunswick Community College) and Erick Hill (Guilford Tech).