It might seem hard to believe, but baseball season is here, and many college programs get their season started this weekend.
Last week, the Peach Belt Conference announced its 2013 Pre-Season All Conference baseball team, which is voted on by the league’s coaches. Former Lakeside High School standout Jeffrey Stoner was selected to the squad. The 6-4, 230 pound junior has had two sensational seasons for Francis Marion University. As a freshman, Stoner went 9-0 on the mound in 15 appearances with a 2.40 ERA. He was named First Team All-Conference for his efforts.
Midway through his sophomore season in 2012, Stoner was moved to the bullpen. He flourished in his new role as the team’s closer.
He finished the season 6-4 with a 3.67 ERA, and despite moving to the bullpen at mid-season, Stoner finished second in the Peach Belt and 27th nationally with nine saves.
He also finished with 88 strikeouts in just 85⅓ innings. His 88 strikeouts were fifth in the Peach Belt, and he finished 45th in the nation in strikeouts per nine innings with a 9.43 ratio.
Last season Stoner helped lead the Patriots to a 40-18 record and a fourth consecutive trip to the NCAA Division II national tournament. This season, Francis Marion is ranked No. 7 in the country in Collegiate Baseball’s pre-season rankings. Stoner and the Patriots open their 2013 season Friday against. Claflin University.
Like Francis Marion, Augusta State and USC Aiken open their 2013 baseball campaign Friday. One look at the Jaguars and Pacers rosters and it is easy to see that both programs have spent plenty of time recruiting in the fertile grounds of Columbia County. The two schools combined have 10 players who played their prep baseball in Columbia County.
Here is a quick look at the local products to root for this year for Augusta State and USC Aiken.
Jeff Rice (Evans) 5-9, 165 pounds, infield
Taylor Camp (Harlem) 5-10, 200 pounds, catcher
Phil Dukes (Grovetown) 6-1, 170 pounds, pitcher
Hunter Boose (Greenbrier) 6-0, 200 pounds, infield
Garrett Haskins (Grovetown) 5-11, 175 pounds, pitcher
Tyler Moore (Evans) 5-8, 160 pounds, outfield
Ben Black (Lakeside) 6-0, 180 pounds, pitcher
Derek Beasley (Harlem) 6-0, 185 pounds, pitcher
Sam Daniel (Greenbrier) 6-2, 205 pounds, pitcher
Zach Hayden (Lakeside) 6-1, 230 pounds, pitcher