(Photo via Richie Petrosino, QU Chronicle)
Part one of CBBSN’s A-Z College Baseball Recap can be found here. This installment wraps up the series with letters L-Z.
The Seattle Mariners drafted Stetson right-handed pitcher Logan Gilbert with the 14th overall pick in the 2018 MLB Draft after he excelled in the Atlantic Sun Conference & Cape Cod League. His college accolades include two-time ASUN Pitcher of the Year honors, as well as being named a Golden Spikes semi-finalist and 1st team All-American by Baseball America. He posted a 2.72 ERA while leading all of Division I in strikeouts with 163 K’s. The 6-foot-4 Gilbert attended the same university as MLB aces Corey Kluber and Jacob Degrom, and he will look to follow in their footsteps for the Mariners. CBBSN has published several pieces about Gilbert and his Stetson Hatters that you can read here.
Honorable Mention: Louisville, Luke Heyer
Mike Martin is the illustrious baseball coach at Florida State University whose tenure will come to an end after the 2019 campaign. Martin recently released a statement announcing his retirement after his 40th season next year. He is the winningest coach in college baseball history with 1,987 career victories and his career winning percentage of .736 is also the best ever. He has coached four Golden Spikes award winners and he’s led 16 different Seminole teams to Omaha. Some notable alumni of his include Buster Posey, Eduardo Perez, and J.D. Drew. Martin justifiably was under fire in June for his handling of LHP Drew Parrish, but his longevity and contributions to Florida State’s powerhouse program cannot be questioned.
Honorable Mention: Mississippi State, Missouri, Missouri State
Nick Sandlin sure is unconventional, from his sidearm delivery to his conversion from Southern Mississippi’s closer to ace in just one breakout season. Sandlin was quite possibly the best pitcher in college baseball by some metrics, as he led the nation with a 1.06 ERA and 0.71 WHIP (!!!!), while finishing with a 10-0 record & 144 strikeouts. He won Conference USA’s Male Athlete of the Year award and was named a Golden Spikes semifinalist and an All-American by multiple publications. He was selected 67th overall by the Cleveland Indians and could contribute as a bullpen arm as soon as 2018. Check out Matthew McHugh’s profile of Sandlin for CBBSN here!
Honorable Mention: Nick Madrigal
What would a college baseball recap be without the Division I national champions? Oregon State was down to their last strike in Game 2 of the CWS finals against Arkansas, but thanks to a costly error by the Razorbacks and some clutch hitting, as well as a dominant performance from freshman RHP Kevin Abel in Game 3, the Beavers emerged as champions. The 2018 OSU squad had the fourth overall pick in the MLB Draft in 2B Nick Madrigal and a potential top-five pick for next year’s draft in C Adley Rutschman, as well as a proven coach in Pat Casey. They finished with a 55-12-1 record, good for a .812 winning percentage, and they will be a formidable force again next season. Listen to Lance and Rich recap their championship on this CBBSN podcast!
Honorable Mention: Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Oklahoma City University
This University of San Diego right-hander was selected 78th overall in the second round of the MLB Draft by the Chicago Cubs. He currently pitches for the Eugene Emeralds, their low-A affiliate. As a Torero, Richan was named West Coast Conference Pitcher of the Week twice and had 101 strikeouts against only 13 walks in 89 2/3 innings. USD has quietly boasted an impressive draft resume in recent years. This is their sixth consecutive season with a player selected in the first three rounds. Paul Richan will join USD alum Kris Bryant as a member of the Cubs organization.
Honorable Mention: Pat Casey
Q is not a prominent letter in college baseball, but the Quinniapiac University Bobcats are a little-known Division I baseball program that deserves attention. Even though they finished with a record of 26-30, they greatly exceeded expectations and finished second in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference. Bobcat coach John Delaney was named MAAC Coach of the Year due to this achievement. Ben Gibson, Taylor Luciani, and Liam Scafariello were named first-team All-MAAC, while OF Brian Moskey was named to their second team. 1990s pitcher Turk Wendell is a famous Quinnipiac alum.
Honorable Mention: Quincy University, Queens College
Members of the Appalachian Athletic Conference, the Reinhardt University Eagles soared above most of their competition in 2018, advancing all the way to the NAIA World Series. They fell short against Oklahoma City University in their second World Series game. However, they finished 41-20 and notched their first-ever World Series appearance. According to Baseball Reference, three Eagles have played professionally, including Drew Tyson, a 17th round pick of the Athletics in 2010 who advanced to Single-A. A fun fact about Reinhardt is that former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich once taught a history course there.
Honorable Mention: Ryan Rollison, Rice University, Rutgers University
The Southeastern University Fire won the NAIA Baseball Championship in 2018, defeating Freed-Hardeman University 6-3 in the championship game. The Fire are led by Adrian Dinkel, who was named NAIA Coach of the Year by ABCA/Diamond. SEU began the season 21-0 and never looked back. They won all eight of their games in the NAIA National Tournament. Puerto Rico native Jonathan Bermudez was named NAIA Pitcher of the Year after going 15-2 with a 1.95 ERA and 153 strikeouts. CF Manuel Mesa was named World Series MVP, as he collected 13 hits and scored 8 runs in the tournament. Marvin Malone, Eddie Jimenez, and Bermudez were selected in the MLB Draft.
Honorable Mention: Southeastern Conference, Stetson, Spencer Torkelson
The Patriots of the University of Texas at Tyler took home the Division III national championship in 2018. Unranked at the beginning of the season, Brent Porsche led his team to a 40-18 and their first baseball championship in school history. He was named ABCA/Diamond Divison III National Coach of the Year for his accomplishment in only his second season with UT-Tyler. The Patriots swept Texas Lutheran in the finals with scores of 8-1 and 9-6. They were led by pitcher Simon Sedillo, who threw a complete-game in the first game of the finals. At the plate, IF Bowie Farris hit .388 to lead the team, and IF Alex Bishop led the team in RBIs and Slugging Percentage.
Honorable Mention: Tennessee Tech, Texas Tech
The UConn Huskies finished their 2018 season 37-22-1 and advanced to the AAC Tournament Championship Game, where they fell to East Carolina 4-3. From there, the Huskies played in the Conway, SC regional, where they went 2-2 to end their season. They finished 25th in D1Baseball’s final poll of the season and were 20th in RPI. Sophomore pitcher Mason Feole led the pitching staff with a 9-2 record and a 2.50 ERA. P.J. Poulin was UConn’s closer, saving 16 games for them in 2018. He was selected in the 11th round by the Pittsburgh Pirates. However, that was not UConn’s highest selection. Left-handed pitcher Tim Cate, who only made 11 appearances due to injury, was selected 65th overall by the Washington Nationals. Cate pitched multiple times for the USA Collegiate National Team and looks to be part of the Nat’s future. Check out CBBSN’s UConn content here!
Honorable Mention: Utah Utes
Nestled in Nashville, TN, the Vanderbilt Commodores have been a powerhouse baseball program under Head Coach Tim Corbin. They’ve reached the Super Regionals in seven of the last nine seasons. This season, they finished 35-27, coming within one game of the College World Series before losing in extras to Mississippi State. Eight Vanderbilt players were selected in the 2018 MLB Draft, including third rounders Connor Kaiser and Reid Schaller. They’ll look to continue the strong tradition of Commodores in Major League Baseball, following the likes of David Price, Walker Buehler, and Dansby Swanson. Freshman utility player Austin Martin, who started games at six different positions, was named a Freshman All-American by several national college baseball outlets. He hit .385 in the NCAA Tournament and stole 22 bases, leading the SEC.
Honorable Mention: Virginia
Wallace State Community College
Wallace State Community College in Hanceville, AL, finished 48-10 in 2018. Their ace pitcher, Blake Rivera, was drafted in the fourth round by the San Francisco Giants. Rivera, a 6-foot-4 righty, was a second-team NJCAA All-American and finished 2018 with a 10-0 record and 1.75 ERA in 67 innings. He was the first JUCO pitcher selected and second JUCO player overall. The Lions won 19 of their first 20 conference games, which propelled them near the top of the Division 1 NJCAA rankings for most of the season. Randy Putnam, head coach at Wallace State, has had 27 winning seasons since he took over the program in 1990. Craig Kimbrel was drafted out of Wallace State in the third round in 2008. Read more about the Lions on their website!
Honorable Mention: Wichita State
The Musketeers of Xavier University struggled on the diamond in 2018, finishing with a 20-35 record. However, their recent success includes Big East titles in 2016 & 2017. Conor Grammes was selected in the 35th round by the Baltimore Orioles and was the lone Xavier player selected in the 2018 MLB Draft. However, Xavier has had at least one player drafted in 12 of the past 14 seasons, including left-handed pitcher Zac Lowther, the Orioles’ 10th best prospect according to Fangraphs. The Musketeers also had the Big East Freshman of the Year in OF/P Allbry Major, who has an 80-grade name. Major hit .291 as a freshman and also threw 61.2 innings. MLB Hall of Famer Frank Robinson even attended Xavier for a semester during his first offseason in the big leagues!
Honorable Mention: Xavier Edwards (Vanderbilt commit taken in MLB Draft)
The Yale Bulldogs have a storied history of academics but have also fared well on the baseball field in recent seasons. They won their second straight regular season Ivy League title by finishing 15-7 in conference play. Three Bulldog pitchers were selected First Team All-Ivy; Eric Brodkowitz, Scott Politz, and Benny Wanger. Head Coach John Stuper has been at the helm for the Bulldogs since 1993 and pitched for the St. Louis Cardinals in the 1982 World Series. Off the field, infielder Simon Whiteman was named First Team Academic All-American. Along with being Yale’s shortstop, Whiteman impressively is a Chemical Engineering major and has a 3.99 cumulative GPA. Former president George H.W. Bush played first base for Yale in the 1940s, and their baseball program goes all the way back to 1865, according to their website.
Honorable Mention: York College
Zack Shannon of Delta State University in Cleveland, Mississippi, became the first Division II player to be named a Golden Spikes semi-finalist since the list of 25 originated in 2007. It was well-deserved recognition for Shannon, who put up video game numbers for the Statesmen in 2018. He slashed .406/504/.955 while adding 31 homers and 93 RBIs in only 53 games! He led all of NCAA in HRs and RBIs. The senior first baseman was drafted in the 15th round of the 2018 MLB Draft by the Arizona Diamondbacks. He currently plays for the Missoula Osprey in the Pioneer League, where he has a .934 OPS as of this writing.
Honorable Mention: Zach Haake, Zach Susi, Zack Leban