College Baseball Preview

By: Chris Rogers
Alec Burleson was named East Carolina's Friday night starter.

Division I college baseball starts this weekend, and Big Train is well-represented in pre-season awards. Eight former Big Train standouts were named to their conference preseason teams by Perfect Game, and three - Kevin Milam, Ken Waldichuk and Logan Driscoll - were projected as conference player or pitcher of the year. Here's a rundown of the preseason honorees, as well as other notable tidbits.

We’ll start in the West Coast Conference, where Big Train alumni at St. Mary’s (Calif.) are cleaning up with preseason awards. Perfect Game tabbed Kevin Milam RHP/1B Kevin Milam (BT 2017) as a second-team Preseason All-American and as the Preseason Conference Player of the Year, while fellow Gael LHP Ken Waldichuk (BT 2017) was named Preseason Conference Pitcher of the Year.

Milam owns a .308/.413/.507 slash line across two years at the plate for the Gaels to go with a 9-5 record, 3.23 ERA and nine saves on the hill. The junior is slated to be the Saturday starter and a powerful presence in the middle of the St. Mary’s order. Waldichuk, a junior, will be the Gaels’ Friday night ace after a 2018 in which he struck out 118 in 92 innings to go with a 2.05 ERA and an 0.96 WHIP. They will be joined in the St. Mary’s rotation by either sophomore RHP Carlos Lomeli (BT 2018) or senior LHP Ty Madrigal (BT 2017). Milam, Waldichuk and Madrigal were Cal Ripken League All-Stars in 2017, while Lomeli earned the same honor last summer.

In the American Athletic Conference, Big Train is well-represented in No. 11 East Carolina’s rotation. The Pirates named LHP Alec Burleson (BT 2018) as their Friday night starter, with RHP Tyler Smith (BT 2017) getting the nod on Sundays. Both earned Preseason All-Conference honors from Perfect Game; Burleson as a utilityman and Smith as a starting pitcher. Burleson, a sophomore, was named Cal Ripken League MOP a year ago after hitting .383 with 22 extra-base hits in 27 games, while pitching to a 0.34 ERA in 26.1 innings. Smith, a junior, led the AAC with a 1.78 ERA in 2018 after notching a win for Big Train in the 2017 championship game.

Close to home, Perfect Game named George Mason C Logan Driscoll (BT 2017) as the Atlantic 10 Conference Player of the Year in their preseason rankings. The junior backstop slashed .342/.407/.473 last spring with the Patriots, and owns a .334 career average at the collegiate level. He hit .323 for Big Train in 2017 en route to CRCBL All-Star honors.

RHP Stephen Schoch (BT 2016-17) also earned Preseason All-Conference honors in the America East. The UMBC closer didn’t allow a run in 16 outings for Big Train in 2017, and impressed in the Cape Cod League last summer with a miniscule 0.95 ERA in 15 appearances. As a sophomore in 2018, Schoch led the Retrievers in ERA (1.72), innings (57.1) and strikeouts (71) despite appearing solely out of the bullpen.

In the Colonial Athletic Association, Perfect Game named James Madison INF/OF Fox Semones (BT 2016-18) to the Preseason All-Conference team. Semones slashed .291/.363/.460 with a team-high seven homers in 2018, and hit .299 with 22 steals across parts of three seasons (52 games total) in Bethesda.  

Stetson OF Jacob Koos (BT 2017) also made the Preseason All-Conference Team in the Atlantic Sun. As a junior in 2018, Koos hit .291 and led the ASUN with 23 stolen bases. He hit .260 with 16 steals in 30 games for Big Train two summers ago.

Other Notables:

Florida Atlantic named RHP Blake Sanderson (BT 2017) as their Friday night starter, and his teammates voted him the Owls’ captain in the offseason. Maryland SS AJ Lee is one of three team-appointed captains for the Terps this season.

In six games with Santa Barbara City College, C Ben Martz (BT 2018) is hitting .273 with four extra base hits and four RBIs. After this season, Martz will transfer to UC Santa Barbara.