The South Atlantic Conference announced preseason polls and all-conference teams Monday and the Lenoir-Rhyne Baseball Team finds itself sixth in the pecking order heading into the 2019 campaign.
The SAC also added starting pitcher John Grigg to the Preseason All-Conference First Team while adding First Basemen Alex Reynolds as a Preseason All-Conference Second Team member.
Grigg, a native of Lawndale, N.C., appeared in 13 games for the Bears in 2018 and posted an earned run average of 3.89 in 69.1 innings pitched. This impressive season earned him First Team All-SAC accolades as he won eight games, including two complete games, one shutout and 73 strikeouts on the year. He limited the batters he faced to hit just .245 against him when he took the mound.
Reynolds, a native of Kings Mountain, N.C., had an impressive junior campaign in 2018, putting him on the All-SAC Honorable Mention Team as a first baseman. During the season, the Bears' first baseman put up impressive numbers at the plate, hitting .358 with 12 doubles, a triple, four home runs and 46 runs batted in. He added 41 runs of his own while showing he is more than reliable defensively in the corner of the infield, limiting himself to just four errors on the year.
The Bears finished the 2018 season with an overall mark of 27-22 and a SAC record of 13-14. Lenoir-Rhyne won 15 games at home and nine on the road while putting up a 3-2 record in neutral site contests.
Lenoir-Rhyne lost All-SAC players Justin Dean (OF) after a successful junior season as well as Landon Whitson (RHP) to the 2018 MLB Draft in the 17th and the 25th rounds respectively. The Bears look to Griggs, Reynolds and a No. 18-ranked signing class to replace their production and improve on their 5th-place finish in the SAC last spring.
The Bears start the year with a three game road series at Rollins College Feb. 1-3, 2019 with their first home game being a midweek game against Barton College, Feb. 6 at 5 p.m.
2019 SAC Baseball Preseason All-Conference
All-SAC First Team
OF – Danton Hyman, Newberry
OF – Chandler Castleberry, Anderson
OF – Jarel McDade, Tusculum
1B – Dillon Carpenter, Anderson
2B – Daulton Martin, Tusculum
SS – Colin Allman, Newberry
3B – Jackson Raper, Catawba
C – Matt Honeycutt, Mars Hill
DH – Heath Mitchem, Catawba
SP – Ethan Elliott, Lincoln Memorial
SP – John Grigg, Lenoir-Rhyne
SP – Austin Turgeon, Wingate
RP – DJ Laxton, Catawba
All-SAC Second Team
OF – Seth Hunt, Lincoln Memorial
OF – Will Reddick, Lincoln Memorial
OF – Tanner Lane, Newberry
1B – Alex Reynolds, Lenoir-Rhyne
2B – McCann Mellett, Wingate
SS – Tyler Adams, Lincoln Memorial
3B – Tyler Schneider, Wingate
C – Ethan Goforth, Carson-Newman
SP – Joe Bobiak, Lincoln Memorial
SP – Charles Hall, Tusculum
SP – Ryan Harbin, Newberry
RP – Charlie Fessler, Newberry
2019 SAC Preseason Baseball Poll
Rank School Points (1st Place Votes)
1 Catawba 108 (8)
2 Lincoln Memorial 97 (3)
3 Wingate 93
4 Carson-Newman 78
5 Newberry 70
6 Lenoir-Rhyne 68
7 Tusculum 65
8 Anderson 47
9 Mars Hill 36
10 Coker 30
11 Queens 23