ATLANTA, Ga (January 25, 2018) – Four Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC) baseball student-athletes were named to the NCBWA Preseason All-Region Baseball Team, release yesterday by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association.
Miles third baseman Xavius Burden was named to the NCBWA All-South Region Second Team.
Burden, a senior from Troy, Ala., was named to the Second Team. He was the only player from Miles that was selected and one of four Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference student-athletes named to the team. Last season, Burden enjoyed a monster campaign, slashing .403/.519/.535 with eight doubles, three home runs, 41 runs batted in and five stolen bases. His batting average was 31st in Division II, his on-base percentage was 11th. He also contributed on the mound, going 3-2 with a save and a 4.10 earned run average in 10 games.
Burden was a First Team All-SIAC selection in 2017 but really pushed his performance into another stratosphere during the SIAC Championship. He hit .473 with seven RBI while also going 1-0 with a 2.00 ERA and 11 strikeouts. He struck out the side in the ninth inning against LeMoyne-Owen to lead the Golden Bears to their first conference tournament title and NCAA postseason berth, earning Most Valuable Player honors during the process.
During his career, Burden is a .333 hitter with four home runs and 94 RBI with more walks (57) than strikeouts (35). He is 11-6 with two saves in 101 2/3 innings pitched.
The Golden Bears did not make the top-10 in the preseason All-Region voting but did make it into the Receiving Votes category, the only SIAC team to earn any votes. Last year, Miles tied a program record with 31 wins and came within four outs of winning its first NCAA Tournament game under first-year head coach Ty Roberts.
Miles will open the 2018 season in Oxford, Ala. when it takes on Morehouse. First pitch is set for 1 p.m.
Benedict College’s first baseman David White Jr., shortstop Armando Valentin and outfielder Andrew McCoy were all named to the second team. The Tigers placed more players on the All-Region team than any other team in region except for Delta State, the preseason No. 1 team in the preseason top 10 poll.
White was the SIAC Player of the Year in 2017 after batting .408 with 11 home runs and 53 RBIs. He ranked third in the SIAC only games in batting (.426) and slugging percentage (.750). In conference games, White led the league in runs scored (31), hits (39), doubles (10), and total bases (67). He was second in RBIs (32) and was tied for second in home runs with six. He also ranked ninth nationally in runs scored per game, 11th in RBIs per game and 20th in doubles per game. He was also named the Player of the Year by Black College Nines, an independent blog by members of the College Baseball Hall of Fame’s Black College Legends and Pioneers Committee and others who want to promote current HBCU baseball and its legacy.
Valentin and McCoy were both named to the second team NCBWA All-South Region team after last season. McCoy hit .417 this season, which ranked 19th in NCAA Division II. He led Division II in triples per game and ranked second in the country in runs scored per game. McCoy also had the 19th best slugging percentage of .735, and was seventh in the country in stolen bases per game. He was also named to the ABCA/Rawlings All-South Region team. Valentin hit .423 last season, the best in the SIAC and 14th-best in Division II. He led the SIAC with 57 runs batted in and ranked 6th nationally in RBIs per game.
The Tigers finished the 2017 season 25-16. Benedict opens the 2018 season on Feb. 10 with a home doubleheader against Bluefield State College, starting at noon.
2018 NCBWA Division II South Region Rankings: Preseason
|No.||School||2017 Record||1st place votes||Points|
Others Receiving Votes: Rollins, Fla. (27-23) 7, Palm Beach Atlantic, Fla. (27-23) 4, Miles, Ala. (31-17) 3,
Alabama Huntsville (24-26) 1
NCBWA Division II Preseason All-South Region First Team
SP Seth Birdsong, Delta St., Miss. #
SP Tyler Joyner, North Alabama @
SP David Lebron, Tampa, Fla. @
RP Caleb Jakes, Rollins, Fla. ^
C AJ Walden, Alabama Huntsville $ ()
1B Zack Shannon, Delta St., Miss. @
2B Nick Conti, Eckerd, Fla.
3B Nolten Milton, Union, Tenn. #
SS Pat Dorian, Lynn, Fla. ^
OF Cody Burgess, Florida Southern ^
OF Clay Casey, Delta St., Miss. @
OF Dalton Murray, Valdosta St., Ga.
DH Brian Lane, Delta St., Miss. #
UT Dylan Harris, Nova Southeastern, Fla. @
NCBWA Division II Preseason All-South Region Second Team
SP Brad Case, Rollins, Fla.
SP Hunter Jones, Valdosta St., Ga. #
SP Andy Marzheuser, Florida Tech
RP Joey Hennessey, Palm Beach Atlantic, Fla.
C Austin Mauer, Florida Southern #
1B David White, Jr. Benedict, S.C.
2B Emil Ellis, Delta St., Miss.
3B Xavius Burden, Miles, Ala.
SS Armando Valentin, Benedict, S.C. #
OF Logan Browning, Florida Southern *
OF Andrew McCoy, Benedict, S.C. #
OF Daniel Szpik, Florida Tech %
DH Luke Phillips, West Alabama
UT Kyle Hubbuch, North Alabama $
@ 2017 NCBWA All-South Region First Team
# 2017 NCBWA All-South Region Second Team
^ 2017 NCBWA All-South Region Honorable Mention
$ 2017 NCBWA Preseason All-South Region First Team
% 2017 NCBWA Preseason All-South Region Second Team
* 2016 NCBWA All-South Region First Team
() 2016 NCBWA All-South Region Second Team