Monday, February 8, 2010

Bishops picked to finish third in USA South baseball race

N.C. Wesleyan has been picked to finish third in the upcoming USA South Conference baseball race.

The Battling Bishops placed third in the balloting with 25 points and one first place vote. They will be attempting to build on a successful 2009 season that was highlighted by the program's 1000th overall victory, 16th regular season USA South Championship, sixth USA South Tournament title, and 21st NCAA Tournament bid.

Head coach Charlie Long returns 16 players from that squad, including seven pitchers and four position starters. Leading the way are seniors Joel Creef (.282 avg.) and John Child (6 saves, 3.58 ERA), who was an Honorable Mention All-Conference selection last season after boasting a 2.82 ERA in league play. The two helped the Battling Bishops to a 27-21 overall record and an 8-4 league mark in 2009.

For the first time in many years, an ex-Gryphon will be on the Bishops' roster. Pitcher Chad Womble transfered to the school this year after two years at Florence-Darlington Community College (S.C.). The junior right-hander is expected to contribute to Long's bullpen.

Returning to the program are ex-Northern Nash players Daniel Moore and Andrew Webb. Freshman Tyler Clark, who helped carry the Knights to the playoffs last season, hopes to follow in the footsteps of his dad Greg at the school. The elder Clark is a member of the school's Athletic Hall of Fame and is one of only five former NCWC baseball players to have his number retired.

One of those other players is also a former Knight - pitcher Carl Payne.

Also making the move up from the community college ranks is former Southern Nash standout Brian Allen. Allen, who like in his Firebird days, played football for the Bishops last fall and will be playing in the infield and pitching for NCWC this spring.

Allen comes to Wesleyan after two seasons at Pitt Community College.

Wesleyan opens its season Saturday in Virginia Beach, Va. in the USAC/ODAC Spring Challenge. It will play Virginia Wesleyan College in a doubleheader beginning at 12 noon.

2010 USA South Baseball Coaches Poll

Rank (1st place votes) Pts.
1. Shenandoah (5) 35
2. Methodist 29
3. N.C. Wesleyan (1) 25
4. Christopher Newport (1) 24
5. Ferrum 17
6. Greensboro 9
7. Averett 8

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