AUGUSTA, GA – The Peach Belt Conference has released the 2018 baseball preseason All-Conference team. The 12 players on the team represent seven different PBC institutions. UNC Pembroke led the way with three players selected to the team while Columbus State, Flagler and North Georgia had two each. The team was selected by the league's head coaches.
At first base is UNCP's Ethan Baucom. A sophomore from Rockingham, N.C., he was a second-team All-Conference selection in 2017 as well as the PBC Player of the Week on May 1. He hit .358 in 50 games for the Braves with 10 home runs and 49 RBIs. He was ranked sixth in the PBC with 16 doubles and seventh with a .631 slugging percentage.
Lander's Colton Yeager started in 50 games and played 51 as a freshman at second base. The sophomore from Jacksonville, Fla., hit .321 with two home runs and 31 RBIs. He hit .362 against PBC conference opponents and 21 of his 31 RBIs came in conference games; he was ranked fifth in the PBC in hits in conference-only games.
Mason McClellan was named an ABCA second-team All-American for Columbus State at third base. A senior from McDonough, Ga., he was also a first-team All-Conference selection and named first-team All-Region by the ABCA and D2CCA. McClellan was seventh in the PBC with a .381 batting average and fourth with a .688 slugging percentage. He was also in the top 10 with 16 home runs and 60 RBIs.
CSU's Justin Evans led the Peach Belt with 27 stolen bases in 2017. A junior shortstop from Kennesaw, Ga., he started all 47 games for the Cougars and hit .288 with nine doubles, eight home runs and 38 RBIs. He was one of two PBC players to hit three home runs in a single game in 2017.
Jason Moore played in 48 games and made 46 starts for Flagler in 2017, including 26 starts at catcher. A junior from Fort Myers, Fla., he hit .297 with 13 doubles and led the Saints with 10 home runs. He was also tied for the team lead with 41 RBIs. Defensively, he threw out nine potential base stealers in 21 attempts and helped turn three double plays.
UNC Pembroke's Roberto Rivera was a second-team All-Conference selection in the outfield. Also named NCBWA All-Region the senior from Millville, N.J., was the only Brave to start all 58 games in 2017. He was ninth in the PBC with a .374 batting average, led the league with 10 triples and was second with 25 stolen bases.
USC Aiken outfielder Jose Bonilla was fourth in the PBC with a .399 batting average a year ago. The senior from Aguada, P.R., led the conference with 93 total hits and was ranked fifth in triples. Bonilla had 14 doubles and 35 RBIs to go with 16 stolen bases. He was ranked eighth in the league in on-base percentage.
North Georgia senior Steven Tomlinson hit .337 in 2017 for the Nighthawks as they made their run to the DII World Series. From Lawrenceville, Ga., he added eight doubles, eight home runs and 44 RBIs and hit .438 in the NCAA Southeast Regional. A three-time member of the PBC Presidential Honor Roll, he had a .500 slugging percentage last year.
Bill Leroy was a second-team All-Conference selection at designated hitter for North Georgia. A sophomore from Dublin, Ga., he was a second-team All-Region selection by the ABCA and named to the southeast region All-Tournament team. Leroy hit .408 with three home runs and 35 RBIs, adding 15 doubles for a .577 sluggging percentage.
Luke Cooksey led the PBC with 28 appearances on the mound for Flagler in 2017, 26 of those in relief. The junior right-hander from St. Augustine, Fla., was ranked 18th in all of Division II in relief appearances, going 3-3 with six saves. He was tied for second in the PBC in saves and was seventh in the league with 9.20 strikeouts per nine innings.
Cole Hinnant made 21 appearances for Francis Marion in 2017, all in relief. A junior righty from Clayton, N.C., he was 2-1 with a 2.30 ERA and was tied for second in the PBC with six saves. He averaged 8.62 strikeouts per nine inning and issued only 15 walks in 31.1 innings of work. He also had 76 at-bats, hitting .289 with a home run and 10 RBIs.
Anthony Burke went 11-1 with a 3.49 ERA for UNC Pembroke as a starter last year. A senior from Fredericksburg, Va., he was a second-team All-Conference selection and the PBC Pitcher of the Week on Feb. 20. Burke was tied for the league lead in wins, was fifth in innings pitched and complete games and eighth in strikeouts.
2018 PBC Baseball
Preseason All-Conference Team
|1st Base||Ethan Baucom||UNC Pembroke|
|2nd Base||Colton Yeager||Lander|
|3rd Base||Mason McClellan||Columbus State|
|Shortstop||Justin Evans||Columbus State|
|Outfield||Roberto Rivera||UNC Pembroke|
|Outfield||Jose Bonilla||USC Aiken|
|Outfield||Steven Tomlinson||North Georgia|
|DH||Bill Leroy||North Georgia|
|RP||Cole Hinnant||Francis Marion|
|SP||Anthony Burke||UNC Pembroke|