#39 North Carolina-Wilmington Baseball 2014 Preview

UNC-Wilmington Seahawks

Overall Rank: #39
Conference Rank: #1 Colonial Athletic
#39 North Carolina-Wilmington Baseball 2014 Preview
North Carolina-Wilmington Team Page


After going 38-23 and 18-8 in conference play, UNC-Wilmington earned an at large bid for the NCAA tournament last year.  The Seahawks were the number two seed in the Charlottesville region, but lost to the three seed Elon twice and were eliminated. This season, the Seahawks return almost all of their starters from a year ago and are looking to win the Colonial Athletic Conference and return to an NCAA Regional.

2013: 38-23, 18-8
2013 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Mark Scalf

Field Players:
All-American Michael Bass is gone, but the Seahawks have plenty of production back from last season’s team.  Ryan LaGrange returns for his senior season after hitting .370 with 5 home runs, 38 RBI’s and a .517 slugging percentage.  He is joined by a pair of juniors, outfielder Luke Dunlap and first baseman Corey Dick.  Dunlap hit .338 with 6 home runs and a team-leading 46 RBI’s.  Dick had 9 home runs to go along with a .294 batting average and 40 RBI’s.  Sophomore shortstop Terrence Connelly returns after a very productive freshman season, where he hit .290 and drove in 28 runs.  In addition to that, Connelly drew 37 walks and had a .455 on base percentage.  Drew Farber returns behind the plate after hitting .246 with 3 home runs and 39 RBI’s a year ago.  Luis Renvil figures to join Dunlap in the outfield after hitting .261 a year ago.  Senior Dillon Bass looks set to take over for the departed Michael Bass at second base.  The senior started six games at the position a year ago and hit .400 in 25 at bats.  Four returning players will look to complete the outfield.  Andy Austin and Josh Abshire both are back after hitting .236 and .235, respectively.  Christian Wolfe started 15 games in the outfield in 2013 and Steven Linkous was 4-5 on stolen bases, tied for returning team high with Renvil.  Freshman Robbie Thorburn is another possibility to see playing time in the infield or outfield after a tremendous prep career.  

The Seahawks have a very experienced pitching staff returning for the 2014 season.  Senior Mat Batts, the reigning Colonial Pitcher of the Year, returns after posting a 9-4 record last season.  Batts struck out 114 batters and threw six complete games to go along with a 3.47 ERA.  Junior Jordan Ramsey joins him.  Ramsey was 6-6 last season, but had 2.34 ERA and held batters to a .236 batting average.  A pair of seniors will join them in the starting rotation.  Christian MacDonald started 13 games a year ago and was 5-1 with a 3.86 ERA, while Blaze Tart was 3-4 with a 4.50 ERA, starting 10 games.  Closer Kelly Secrest returns at the back end of the bullpen after going 3-1 with a 3.57 ERA and 8 saves in 31 appearances last year.  Senior Ricky Holden is also back after going 5-1 with a 4.62 ERA in 25 appearances.  A quartet of sophomores will look to expand their roles and add production.  Evan Phillips was 2-0 with a 4.33 ERA in 12 games, 5 of which he started.  Nick Monroe, Ryan Foster, and William Shepley all pitched in at least 10 games last year and figure to see more time this season.

Who to Watch:
Jordan Ramsey is set for a breakout season on the mound for the Seahawks.  He was recently named to Baseball America’s Top-100 list of draft eligible players for the 2014 season.  Ramsay was a third team all-conference performer last season and his 2.34 ERA and .236 opponents batting average both lead the returners in the Colonial Athletic Conference.  His ERA lead the CAA last season.  Ramsey will join Batts at the top of the rotation to form a dominant 1-2 punch this season.  

Final Projection:
UNC-Wilmington returns 5 of their top 7 hitters and 10 of their top 12 pitchers off last seasons NCAA Tournament team.  With so many returnees back from last season, big things can be expected from the Seahawks.  They will be tested early as they host Kentucky and Virginia in the second and third games of the season.  If the returning players can put up the numbers they did a year ago this season, expect UNC-Wilmington to win the CAA and make another appearance in a NCAA Regional.

Projected Postseason: NCAA Baseball Tournament

Returning Leaders:
At Bats: Luke Dunlap, OF, 219
Hits: Ryan LaGrange, C/IF, 78
Home Runs: Corey Dick, IF, 9
RBIs: Luke Dunlap, OF, 46
Runs: Luke Dunlap, OF, 51
Stolen Bases: Steven Linkous, IF/OF, 4; Luis Renvill, IF, 4

Wins: Mat Batts, P, 9
Innings Pitched: Mat Batts, P, 111.2
Strikeouts: Mat Batts, P, 114
Saves: Kelly Secrest, P, 8


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