College Baseball Report: Locals leave the yard; former teammates, opponents reunite

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WILMINGTON – The UNC-Wilmington baseball team snapped an eight-game skid over the weekend and took two-of-three games in its series with Longwood. At 5-9 overall, the Seahawks head into back-to-back games with defending College World Series National Champion Coastal Carolina.

The two ball clubs will play a home-at-home, with game one set for Tuesday at Brooks Field on campus. On Wednesday, UNCW heads to nearby Conway, S.C., for a date with the Chanticleers. Coastal defeated the Seahawks 4-1 earlier this season.

Bryan Sammons. Photo courtesy- Western Carolina Athletics.
Bryan Sammons. Photo courtesy- Western Carolina Athletics.

Several local players hit home runs over the weekend, while former Topsail teammates Sam Luchansky and Chase Riker took the field in the opposite dugout for a matchup between a pair of NCAA Division II clubs when Belmont Abbey squared off against Barton College.

At the junior college level, there were a half dozen standouts from the area in uniform during a three-game series between Brunswick Community College and Guilford Tech.

Hoggard

  • Bryan Sammons, Western Carolina

Sammons was solid once again for the Catamounts on Friday. The senior struck out eight and limited the home-standing Cornhuskers to two runs as Western Carolina rode a three-run third inning to a 5-2 series-opening victory over Nebraska.

Sammons (3-0) scattered seven hits over seven innings on the mound, battling both the Husker hitters and the elements to remain perfect on the season, while also tallying his 22nd career victory. The Wilmington, product moved into a tie for eighth all-time in program history matching Jerry Reed (1974-75) with 22 career wins.

On Monday, the southpaw was named Southern Conference’s Pitcher of the Week for his performance in games held from March 6-12.

  • Joe O’Donnell , N.C. State 

    Joe O'Donnell. Photo courtesy- NC State Athletics.
    Joe O’Donnell. (Photo courtesy of NC State Athletics)

O’Donnell had a chance to throw in front of family and friends last Wednesday when N.C. State visited UNC-Wilmington for a midweek tilt. The senior righty threw 1.2 innings of scoreless baseball to pick up the win as the Wolfpack defeated UNCW, 8-5.

In game one of Saturday’s double header with Wake Forest, O’Donnell was tremendous out of the bullpen for N.C. State with 3.1 innings pitched, allowing just two hits to earn his second win of the season.

In five appearances, the Hoggard alum has a 1.93 ERA in 9.1 innings. He’s allowed two runs on seven hits with four walks and four strikeouts.

  • Brad Pennington, N.C. Wesleyan

After going 0-for-3 in the series opener on Friday against Convenant College, Pennington slugged a pair of doubles, hit his third home run and finished with four runs scored during Saturday’s double header.

In 82 at-bats this season, the freshman is hitting .378. He’s hit 10 doubles with 17 RBI.

Brad Pennington, in his freshman year is hitting .378. He’s hit 10 doubles with 17 RBI. (Photo courtesy of NC Wesleyan Athletics)
Brad Pennington, in his freshman year is hitting .378. He’s hit 10 doubles with 17 RBI. (Photo courtesy of NC Wesleyan Athletics)
  • Brandon Boone, Brunswick Community College

Brunswick Community College is 11-6 overall and 1-1 in league play. Boone’s last outing came on March 4 against USC-Sumter. For the season, the sophomore has a 1-0 record in two starts and four appearances. He’s tossed 17.1 innings, with a 0.52 ERA.

  • Julian Blackburn, Brunswick Community College

 

New Hanover

  • Collin Thacker, Gardner Webb

Thacker smacked his first long ball of the season and finished 2-for-4 at the plate with 2 RBI in Saturday’s 5-1 win over East Tennessee State. Gardner Webb is 6-11 overall.

Thacker is hitting a team-high .323. With a .403 on-base percentage, the reigning Big South Player of the Year has five doubles and 12 runs batted in.

  • Trey Croom, N.C. Wesleyan

Croom has raised his average to .325 for the Battling Bishops. N.C. Wesleyan is off to a 15-6 start and 7-2 mark in conference play. The Bishops swept Covenant College over the weekend. He had two hits, two runs batted in and two runs scored in the series finale.

  • Max Johnson, Phoenix College (Arizona)

In 25 games, Johnson has a .253 average, 19 runs scored and 13 runs batted in. Hitting mainly in the two spot within the Phoenix College lineup, Johnson saw a five-game hitting streak come to an end on March 11.

Phoenix College has a 22-6 record and 14-4 mark in league play.

  • Cory Everett, Guilford Tech

Everett has emerged has one of the team’s leading hitters. In stats updated through March 11, Everett has a nine-game hitting streak. He has six multi-hit games on the season, batting .349 on the year.

 

Ashley

  • Shane Shepard, N.C. State

N.C. State came into the weekend as a nationally-ranked ball club, but dropped two-of-three on the road against ACC foe Wake Forest. Shepard had four in the series, including a monster three-run home run during Friday’s contest.

Shepard was 4-for-10 over the weekend with four runs batted in and one run scored. He’s hitting .217 on the year with three round trippers and seven RBI.

Topsail

  • Clark Cota, UNCW

Cota saw action in left field for the first time as a college ball player during the weekend series against Longwood. He served as UNCW’s designated hitter in the series finale on Saturday.

Primarily a back end reliever for the Seahawks, Cota had 3 RBI in an 11-1 win during game two of Saturday’s double header. He also hit his first college home run in game one of the twin bill.

On Friday, Cota struck out the side in the ninth as UNCW defeated Longwood, 7-3. In six appearances on the mound, the righty has a 0.00 ERA in six hitless innings out of the bullpen. He’s struck out 10 versus six walks.

  • Mason Berne, UNCW

Berne launched his third home run of the season, a two-run shot, during Friday’s win. He had three hits in the effort and multi-hit games in each of his last outings. Berne is tied for the team lead in home runs and second on the club with 10 RBI.

  • Danny Wilson, UNC-Asheville

During Saturday’s double header with UMBC, Wilson drove in four runs as UNC-Asheville took two-of-three in the series. The Bulldogs are 7-7 overall.

Wilson is batting .224 this season, second on the team with 13 RBI.

  • Jake Madole, UNC-Asheville

Madole hit his first college home run on Friday as part of back-to-back round trippers guiding UNC-Asheville to an 11-5 win. Madole went 2-for-4 in the ball game. In 23 at-bats, the Topsail alum has a .348 batting average and .516 on-base percentage.

  • Trader Flora, Appalachian State
  • Bryce Cota, Campbell

Cota made his college debut over the weekend for Campbell. The lefty tossed 1.2 innings of scoreless baseball with two walks and two strikeouts.

The appearance on Friday marked a long time coming for the freshman after rehabbing from a shoulder injury that cut short his senior season in high school.

  • Sam Luchansky, Belmont Abbey 

    Chase Riker, left, and Sam Luchansky, were teammates at Topsail High School. Photo courtesy- Amy Wons Riker.
    Chase Riker, left, and Sam Luchansky, were teammates at Topsail High School. (Photo courtesy of Amy Wons Riker)

Luchansky record the final two out of a slugfest on Saturday to pick up his first save of the season. The side winder has thrown nine innings out of the Belmont Abbey bull pen this season. In 11 appearances, he has an 0-2 record and 7.00 ERA.

Belmont Abbey is 14-11 overall and 7-5 in conference.

  • Chase Riker, Barton College

Riker went 4-for-8 with three runs scored during Saturday’s double header. The Bulldogs fell to 14-10 overall with a 1-8 record in Conference Carolinas play following the three-game sweep.

Riker is hitting .357 in his freshman season. He has six multi-hit games, with six doubles, six runs and 14 RBI.

  • Payton Rice, Louisburg College

In his last outing on March 5, Rice last just 3.1 innings. He allowed four earned runs in 3.1 innings, with four walks and seven strikeouts as Louisburg College fell 8-7 to Guilford Tech.

Rice has four starts under his belt. In 18.2 innings, the righty has a 1-2 record. He has 20 strikeouts compared to nine walks.

 

Laney

  • Pete Wildeboer, Methodist

Wildeboer tripled in a run for Methodist on Saturday, but the Monarchs fell 4-2 to Greensboro. Methodist is 11-9 overall and 3-3 in league play. Wildeboer had two hits in the effort.

Pete Wildeboer. Photo courtesy- Methodist University Athletics.
Pete Wildeboer. (Photo courtesy of Methodist University Athletics)

On the year, Wildeboer is second on the team with a .321 average. He’s hit safely in five of  last six games. Wildeboer has six multi-hit games and 13 RBI.

  • Kennedy Hardy, Guilford Tech

Hardy has a .269 batting average, with four home runs, 10 run scored and 14 RBI. 

  • Jonathan Kuebler, Guilford Tech

Kuebler has a .212 batting average. He went 1-for-3 with one run scored on Saturday as Guilford Tech defeated Brunswick Community College, 8-4.

 

West Brunswick

  • Tyler Stanley, Elon

Stanley recorded his first base hit as a college baseball player over the weekend. The West Brunswick alum singled during a pinch-hit at-bat on Saturday. Serving primarily as a pinch runner during the early part of his freshman year, Stanley is 1-for-5 with two runs scored.

  • Hunter Ashburn, USC-Aiken
  • Zach Johnson, Brunswick Community College

 

North Brunswick

  • Shelton Perkins, Pitt Community College

Perkins allowed just one run on four hits in five innings pitched during his last outing on March 12. On the year, the righty has a 2-0 record in five appearances with one save. In 24 innings pitched, Perkins has a 1.50 ERA and 19 strikeouts.

  • Chris Graham, Brunswick Community College

Graham is hitting .346 for the Dolphins in the leadoff spot. He went 1-for-4 with two runs scored in a 6-2 win against Guilford Tech on Saturday. Graham has reached base safely in each of his last three games. He has 10 RBI and 13 runs scored this season.