FOREST, Va. –Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) baseball coaches picked Guilford College seventh in their annual preseason poll released Thursday. The Quakers earned 49 points and share the seventh spot with Washington and Lee University. Bridgewater College, the defending ODAC Tournament runner up, collected eight first-place votes and 98 points to lead the 11-team ranking.
Coach Nick Black '02 returns nine starters (5 fielders, 4 pitchers) among 22 letter winners, including two First Team All-ODAC selections, from last year's 20-18 (10-10 ODAC). Senior infielder Corey Wallace is back after collecting First Team All-South honors last spring from the American Baseball Coaches' Association and Second Team All-South recognition from D3baseball.com. A 2014 honorable mention D3baseball.com preseason All-American, Wallace hit .389 with a team-high seven homers and five triples. He led the ODAC with a .687 slugging percentage, the 22nd-highest figure in NCAA Division III, and had 31 runs batted in (RBI). Senior outfielder John Macon Smith returns for his final season after an all-star junior campaign that saw him hit .392 with four homers and a team-high 33 runs batted in. Like Wallace, Smith was a Second Team All-South pick according to D3baseball.com. Sophomore Nathan Fulbright also returns after batting a team-high .414 and landing Third Team All-ODAC honors.
Senior right-hander Borja Jones-Berasaluce is the Quakers' top returning starting pitcher. He went 3-2 in 2013 with a 3.69 earned run average (ERA) and 24 strikeouts in 46.1 innings. Junior Justin Morrison (1-0, 3.76 ERA, 19 appearances) and senior Chad Wagoner (1-0, 5.20 ERA, 12 appearances) were top relievers in 2013 who return this spring.
The Quakers open the 2014 campaign, the 125th recorded baseball season at Guilford, with nonconference games Saturday (2/1) and Sunday (2/2) at Piedmont College. Guilford opens its home schedule Feb. 5 versus NCAA Division II Bluefield State College and starts ODAC play March 1 at Virginia Wesleyan College.
2014 ODAC BASEBALL PRESEASON POLL (#) denotes first-place votes
1. Bridgewater (8) 98, 2.Shenandoah (1) 88, 3.Randolph-Macon (2) 85, 4. Lynchburg 65, 5. Hampden-Sydney 62, 6. Roanoke 49, 7. Guilford 46, 7. Washington and Lee 46, 9. Virginia Wesleyan 33, 10. Eastern Mennonite 23, 11.Emory & Henry 10.