#42 Winthrop Baseballl 2018 Preview

Winthrop Eagles
Overall Rank: #42
Conference Rank: #1 Big South
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After winning the Big South regular season title in 2017, Winthrop missed out on the NCAA Tournament after failing to secure the conference tournament title. That was a tough way to end the season for a squad that played so well during the regular season. But with a couple first-team All-Big South pitchers and eight of their top ten hitters returning, the Eagles may not even have to win the conference tournament in 2018 to make the NCAA Tournament.
2017: 34-24, 17-7
2017 Postseason: None
Coach: Tom Riginos
Key Departed Players:
Anthony Paulsen, OF, .341 BA, 5 HR, 25 RBI
Babe Thomas, C/OF, .287 BA, 10 HR, 46 RBI
Reece Green, P, 3.89 ERA, 90.1 IP, 69 SO
Key Returning Players:
Mitch Spires, IF, .345 BA, 3 HR, 36 RBI
Hunter Lipscomb, OF, .292 BA, 6 HR, 60 RBI
Grant English, IF, .278 BA, 3 HR, 27 RBI
Nate Pawelczyk, P, 2.23 ERA, 76.2 IP, 69 SO
Colten Rendon, P, 4.19 ERA, 86.0 IP, 53 SO
Dalton Whitaker, P, 6.06 ERA, 35.2 IP, 30 SO, 9 SV
The arms of Nate Pawelczyk and Colten Rendon should carry Winthrop to another conference title. Pawelczyk went 7-2 during his sophomore season with an impressive 2.23 ERA. Rendon was 7-5 with a 4.19 ERA. When those two are on the mound, Winthrop is extremely tough to score against. There are some other pieces around them too, including closer Dalton Whitaker, experienced senior Riley Arnone and promising sophomore Zach Peek. Winthrop will miss the powerful bat of Babe Thomas, who led the team with ten homeruns and added 46 RBIs, and the steady play of Anthony Paulsen; but with so many other pieces returning there is good reason to expect a boost in offensive production in 2018. Mitch Spires earned first-team All-Big South honors in 2017 after batting .345 with three homeruns and 36 RBIs. Hunter Lipscomb led the squad with 60 RBIs and is poised for a big junior campaign. Grant English and Brandon Fite are now upperclassmen as well and have the potential to have breakout years. This is not a team that is going to overwhelm the opposition with power hitting, but the lineup will be loaded with nine players who can get on base. And when you have a couple pitchers like Pawelczyk and Rendon, generating a couple runs here and there is more than enough to win most games.
Projected Postseason: NCAA Baseball Tournament