Baseball

 

Bridgewater Tops ODAC Baseball Poll

Eagles Get Seven Top Votes, Randolph-Macon Earns Three

FOREST, Va. --- Bridgewater College garnered top billing in the first ODAC preseason poll of the spring as the league’s coaches tabbed the Eagles atop the annual baseball survey.  Bridgewater received 79 total poll points and seven first place tallies.  Randolph-Macon College and Lynchburg College sit in second and third with 69 and 64 points, respectively.  The Yellow Jackets received three first place nods.

The 2011 campaign saw yet another competitive ODAC Tournament with Randolph-Macon securing its second title in four years.  The Yellow Jackets, winners of the ODAC's automatic bid into the NCAA Division III Tournament, traveled to New Jersey for regional play.  R-MC dropped a pair of 8-5 decisions to Rowan and Johns Hopkins, signaling the Jackets' exit from the tourney.

Bridgewater (26-18 overall, 15-3 ODAC) is under the direction of 2011 ODAC Coach of the Year Curt Kendall.  He welcomes back three all-conference players to his roster this season.  Jonathan Mason, an All-ODAC First team selection a year ago, returns to the outfield.  Mason batted a .300 and finished tied for second in the league with five home runs and second in the conference with 42 runs batted in.  Lefty Joseph Lucas finished the season with a 3.13 earned run average, posting a 5-4 record in an ODAC-best 86.1 innings pitched.  Lucas also finished eighth in the conference with 44 strikeouts.  Kevin Chandler will join Lucas on the Eagles' staff.  Chandler posted a 3.60 ERA in 75 innings of work.  He struck out 63 batters, good enough for second in the conference.

Randolph-Macon (24-20 overall, 11-7 ODAC) welcomes back several key components as it begins its defense of the ODAC crown.  A 2012 Preseason First Team All-American by D3baseball.com, Jordan Walton returns for his senior campaign.  The first baseman shattered the NCAA single season doubles record with 31 last year.  He led the nation with 84 hits that also broke the ODAC single season record, which was previously set at 77.  Walton drove in a conference best 57 runs and ranked second in the ODAC with a .452 batting average.  His 131 total bases were also a conference-best mark.  Also back in the fold is All-ODAC First Team outfielder Jeb Weymouth (.333, 12 2B, 31 RBI) and second team outfielder Brian Jordan (.339, 4HR, 26 RBI).

Lynchburg (24-15, 14-4) welcomes back two of its five all-conference performers from a season ago.  Shortstop Richie Palase (.302, 21 RBI, 15 SB) looks to anchor the middle of the infield after a first team selection in 2011.  Reigning ODAC Rookie of the Year, James Womack, made 13 appearances in his first season, posting a 6-4 record with a 2.62 earned run average.  Closer Jared Millner is back in the pen after leading the ODAC with nine saves in 2011.

Washington and Lee (15-16, 12-6) welcomes back four of the 20 all-conference players returning to ODAC diamonds.  Will Salley (11 2B, .511 OBP, .537 SLG) was a first team choice after finishing third in batting with a .407 average.  Shortstop Jonathan Stutts (.318, 27 RBI) and outfielder C.J. Thompson (.299) both earned a spot on the second team, and pitcher Ian Shaw (3-3, 2.63 ERA, 37.2 IP) was tabbed to the All-ODAC Honorable Mention Team.

Both Hampden-Sydney (20-21, 9-9) and Virginia Wesleyan (16-21, 9-9) feature returning all-conference performers.  Third baseman Hunter Lewis (.319) was one of two first teamers for H-SC in 2011.  He's joined by second team second baseman, Beau Flinchum, who was seventh in the ODAC with a .362 batting average.  For VWC outfielder Pike Brynildsen (.269) doubled as an honorable mention choice and as the ODAC/Farm Bureau Insurance Scholar-Athlete of the Year.

Guilford (16-24, 9-9), Roanoke (12-23, 3-15) and Eastern Mennonite (11-25, 4-14) also feature returning all-conference players.  The Quakers welcome back second team shortstop D.J. Phillips, who was 10th in batting (.343) and fifth in runs scored (38).  The Maroons will look for pitcher Tyler Grouten (3-4, 3.59 ERA, 62.2 IP) to take the next step forward from an honorable mention selection in 2011.  The Royals feature second team catcher Dylan Smith (.343, .514 OBP, 25 BB) and honorable mention outfielder Beau Banglesdorf (.315, 14 2B, 4 HR, 36 RBI).

Emory & Henry (6-26, 4-14) will look to Eric Houff (.295, 3 HR, 10 SB) and Josh McMillan (.323, 22 RBI) as the Wasps look to climb the ODAC ladder in 2012.

Listed below is the 2012 ODAC Baseball Preseason Poll.  For more information, visit any of the participating schools’ websites, or go to the ODAC’s home on the Internet at www.odaconline.com.  Don’t forget to become a fan of the ODAC on Facebook by clicking HERE.  You can also follow the ODAC on Twitter by clicking HERE.

 
2012 ODAC BASEBALL PRESEASON POLL
(#) denotes first place votes
1.  Bridgewater (7) 79
2.  Randolph-Macon (3) 69
3.  Lynchburg 64
4.  Washington and Lee 53
5.  Hampden-Sydney 46
6.  Virginia Wesleyan 43
7.  Guilford 41
8.  Roanoke 21
9.  Eastern Mennonite 20
10.  Emory & Henry 14