WILMINGTON – While the official start to spring might still be a couple of weeks away, the college baseball season is here and the Wilmington area has plenty of standouts representing on various rosters within the NCAA Division I, Division II and junior college ranks.
- Bryan Sammons, Western Carolina
Sammons made his 2017 debut at Springs Brooks Stadium against the defending College World Series National Champion Coastal Carolina Chanticleers.
Following pregame festivities, in which Coastal received its championship rings from its improbable run one year ago, Sammons helped spoil the celebration.
The big lefty tossed 7.1 innings for the Catamounts, allowing four runs on four hits with two walks and four strikeouts. Sammons scored his 20th career victory for the purple and gold. He moves into a tie with three former Catamount hurlers for ninth in program history for career wins. Saturday was his 43rd career start, tying him for sixth in school history.
- Joe O’Donnell , N.C. State
- Brad Pennington, N.C. Wesleyan
Pennington has started every game as a freshman for N.C. Wesleyan, batting second in the order in front of former Wilmington Post 10 teammate Trey Croom. He drove in the Battling Bishops first run of the season in the clubs opener, an 8-4 win over Virginia Wesleyan on Feb. 11.
- Brandon Boone, Brunswick Community College
Boone threw five scoreless innings in his first start of the season, a 6-0 win over USC-Lancaster. The righty let up one hit, walked three and struck out six.
- Julian Blackburn, Brunswick Community College
- Collin Thacker, Gardner Webb
Gardner Webb is 2-2 overall after the opening weekend.
Thacker went 6-for-16 at the plate in the four-game series against Canisius. He had two hits and two runs batted in on opening day, with five RBIs overall.
- Trey Croom, N.C. Wesleyan
Croom has been slotted in the three-hole of the Battling Bishops order after a breakout freshman season.
- Max Johnson, Phoenix College (Arizona)
Johnson is 4-for-26 with one double, three RBIs and seven walks in eight games played.
- Shane Shepard, N.C. State
The Wolfpack began the season with a three-game series at Hawaii and picked up two wins during its trip to the pacific island of Honolulu. Shepard started opening day batting seventh and playing first base. He hit his first home run of the season in game two of the series.
- Clark Cota, UNCW
After a two-year hiatus from pitching as a result of Tommy John surgery, Cota made his much anticipated college debut for UNC-Wilmington on day two of the regular season.
With a one-run lead, Cota-noticeably amped up-and rightfully so, the right handed fire baller recorded the final three outs to record the save during Saturday’s 4-3 win against VMI.
- Mason Berne, UNCW
Berne transferred from Spartanburg Methodist to UNC-Wilmington in the fall and batted clean up for the Seahawks as the designated hitter in a 3-0 weekend. He launched his first home run on his second-at bat of the season and sent the first-pitch of his first at-bat on Sunday over the wall in a 6-5 win over Appalachian State.
— UNCW Baseball (@UNCWBaseball) February 19, 2017
- Danny Wilson, UNC-Asheville
UNC-Asheville began the 2017 regular season with a trip to Birmingham, Alabama for a three-game series with Samford. Wilson hit in the top five of the Bulldogs order and started all three games at first base.
He drove in a run in UNC-Asheville’s first win of the season, a 6-4 victory on Sunday.
- Jake Madole, UNC-Asheville
- Trader Flora, Appalachian State
- Bryce Cota, Campbell
- Sam Luchansky, Belmont Abbey
Belmont Abbey has 13 games under their belt already this season. Luchansky has made five appearances out the bullpen, with five strikeouts in 4.1 innings pitched.
- Chase Riker, Barton College
Barton College has received Top-25 praise in the early season NCAA Division II Top-25 poll. The Bulldogs are off to a 14-0 start following an 11-8 walk-off win on Sunday.
Riker has played in seven games to start his freshman season. The left-handed hitting second baseman is 10-for-18 at the plate, with four doubles, five RBIs and five runs scored. He had three hits in Sunday’s victory.
BASE FINAL: Barton 11, Goldey-Beacom 8…BC 13-0…WP: Evans (1-0) SV: Maslowski (1)…Riker 3-5, 2B, 2 RBI; Pearre 2-4, 2R
— Barton College Athletics (@BartonAthletics) February 19, 2017
- Payton Rice, Louisburg College
In his college debut, Rice battled through five innings of work to get the win against Patrick Henry Community College. The freshman allowed six runs on nine hits and one walk, with five strikeouts.
On Sunday, his record fell to 1-1 after he allowed five runs on six hits and four walks in 4.1 innings as Louisburg fell 5-2 to Pitt Community College.
- Tyler Stanley, Elon
Elon opened the season with a three-game sweep over Longwood University. Stanley has had one at-bat as a freshman on a ball club selected to finish fifth in the preseason Colonial Athletic Association coaches poll.
- Hunter Ashburn, USC-Aiken
USC-Aiken opened the season with seven wins in a row before being swept by Mt. Olive College this past weekend, Feb. 17-19.
- Zach Johnson, Brunswick Community College
- Shelton Perkins, Pitt Community College
Perkins struck out six in three innings of relief against USC-Sumter on Feb. 11 in his first appearance of the season. On Sunday, he got the start for Pitt Community College and received a no-decision after four innings of work.
— P E R K (@shelton_perkins) February 13, 2017
- Chris Graham, Brunswick Community College
Graham is been slotted into the lead-off spot in his first season at BCC. He had three hits in his second debut and went 4-for-5 with a double, two runs and two RBIs in a Dolphins 6-0 on Feb. 12.