Saturday, July 20, 2024

College report: Local ballplayers continue to represent this spring

College baseball players from the area continue to represent Southeastern North Carolina in a big way this spring.

Below are updated stats and highlights from the last two weeks as Collin Thacker (New Hanover) is among the nation’s leaders in doubles while playing for Gardner Webb. Mason Berne (Topsail) launched his 19th round tripper of the season on Saturday to remain one of top home run hitters within the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA).

The Runnin’ Bulldogs took two of three games from High Point this past weekend as Thacker went 2-for-9 at the plate with three runs and one run batted in. The junior slugger has 19 doubles on the season, tied for first in the country, with a team-high .397 batting average.

Shane Shepard is hitting .250 for N.C. State this season. Photo courtesy- John Crouch.
Shane Shepard is hitting .250 for N.C. State this season. Photo courtesy- John Crouch.

In the Atlantic 10 Conference, Davidson College dropped two of three against Richmond in league play following an 8-7 setback on Sunday. Sam Foy (New Hanover) had three hits during the weekend series, with two runs and a pair of RBI’s. Foy recorded his 200th collegiate hit one week ago.

The UNCW baseball team extended its winning streak to eight straight games following a 16-11 victory over East Tennessee State on Sunday to earn the series sweep. The Seahawks are 23-9 overall and 18-2 at home this season.

Senior Steven Linkous (North Brunswick) had two hits in the series finale, going 2-for-4, with three runs and two RBI’s in the finale against East Tennessee State. Through 32 games, the lead-off man is leading UNCW with a .402 batting average. He also has a team-high 55 hits, 45 runs scored and 20 stolen bases, which is among the top 15 in all of NCAA Division I College Baseball.

N.C. State is ranked No. 8 in the country in the latest NCAA Top 25 poll. The Wolfpack are in position to host an NCAA Regional if they can continue to build off their success after grabbing a series win at Georgia Tech. Chance Shepard (Ashley) hit a grand slam home run, his 10th homer of the season, for N.C. State in a 16-7 setback on Sunday.

Shepard submitted the first multi-homer game of his college career during a mid-week against Elon on April 12, snapping a home run drought dating back to March 6. Earlier this season, the former Ashley High School slugger set the Wolfpack record for most consecutive games with a home run (6). He hit seven long balls during a stretch of seven straight home games. Shepard is batting .290 this year for the Pack, with nine doubles and 35 RBI’s.

In the western part of the state, junior left-handed pitcher Bryan Sammons (Hoggard) dropped to 5-2 on the mound for Western Carolina on Saturday. Sammons suffered the loss in a 13-7 setback to Samford, surrendering eight runs on 11 hits in the starting effort. He exited the game after 6.2 innings, with two walks and four strikeouts. The Hoggard grad worked through the first eight batters perfect on Saturday before issuing a walk in the top of the third, holding the Bulldogs hitless until the fourth inning.

Danny Wilson and his parents, Carmen, right, and Edward. Photo courtesy- Edward Wilson.
Danny Wilson and his parents, Carmen, right, and Edward. Photo courtesy- Edward Wilson.

UNC-Asheville took two of three from Charleston Southern over the weekend. Freshman Danny Wilson (Topsail) had at least one hit in all three games of the series. He smacked his sixth double of the year in a 2-for-5 effort on Friday. In 133 at-bats, Wilson is hitting .248 during his rookie campaign through 36 games.

On the mound, Wilson also earned his first collegiate win with three innings of one-hit baseball in a 3-2 win over North Carolina on April 6. His former teammate Sam Luchansky threw just two-thirds of an inning for Belmont Abbey this past weekend. Luchansky has appeared in 13 games out of the bullpen this spring, tossing 8.2 innings of relief. He’s allowed six runs – four earned – and 12 hits, with six walks and eight strikeouts.

In the junior college ranks, Mason Berne (Topsail) and Kevon Perkins (North Brunswick) continue to guide Spartanburg Methodist. Berne belted his 19th home run of the season in a 4-3 loss to USC-Sumter on Saturday. The sophomore right-handed power hitter is ranked fifth in round trippers among NJCAA Division I players. He also leads the team in hits (57), RBI’s (54) and batting average (.388).

The season came to an end for N.C. Wesleyan in the USA South Tournament following a 7-3 loss to LaGrange College on Saturday afternoon at Wilson’s Fleming Stadium. Trey Croom (New Hanover) ended his freshman season with a .297 batting average. He had three home runs, 34 RBI’s and 27 runs scored. Methodist University also fell in the USA South Tourney. Pete Wildeboer (Laney) hit .228 for the Monarchs.

In the leadoff spot, Perkins went 2-for-2 at the plate, with a run scored and run batted in during the setback to USC-Sumter. He added a double, two runs scored and an RBI during the series finale, a 9-5 victory for the Pioneers. In 118 at-bats, he’s hitting .331, with 42 runs scored, 19 stolen bases and 23 walks.

Freshman righty Brandon Boone (Hoggard) lasted just three innings on Saturday, allowing nine runs – six earned  – on nine hits, with three walks as Guilford Tech dropped a 22-10 contest to Pitt Community College. Boone has worked his way toward the top of the rotation during his rookie season. He leads the team with 14 appearances, with a 4-1 record.

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