Apicella and Roberts headline quartet of Eagles honored by SAC

Apicella and Roberts headline quartet of Eagles honored by SAC

VIDEO: Vince Apicella Interview

VIDEO: Brandon Roberts Interview

ROCK HILL, S.C. – The South Atlantic Conference announced its postseason awards Wednesday morning as four Carson-Newman players took home honors. Senior third baseman Brandon Roberts (Davie, Fla.) was named a first-team All-SAC selection and a Gold Glove winner, senior pitcher Vince Apicella (Dillsburg, Pa.) was a first-team pick, junior center fielder Ryan Addington (Cincinnati, Ohio) was placed on the honorable mention list and junior catcher Gooch Greer (Dickson, Tenn.) was given a Gold Glove.

The baseball squad had not had a player named to the first-team since the 2012 season when Kyle Koeneman, first base, and Robby Thigpen, pitcher, were each slotted on the top group. Koeneman was the league's player of the year and Thigpen also picked up a gold glove.

With a duo on the Gold Glove list, the Eagles placed a pair of athletes on the list for the first time since the awards were first handed out in 2010. In the first six years of the award, the Eagles had just three honorees – Cody Nix, outfield, in 2011, Thigpen in 2012 and Bo Ausmus, outfield in 2014.

Roberts is the third C-N third baseman to earn a first-team nod and the first since Derrick Lankford in 1996. The senior ranks in the top-10 in the conference in hits (68 – 6th), batting average (.380 - 7th), RBIs (51 – 7th), slugging percentage (.642 – 7th) and total bases (114 – 7th). His RBI total is 36th nationally while his hits tally is 42nd and his total bases number is 45th. On March 1, Roberts was named the SAC and Tennessee Sportswriters' Association Player of the Week as he became the first C-N player to earn the honor from the league since Kevin Franchetti won on March 5, 2013. He began the year on a 17-game hitting streak and has notched 19 multi-hit games and 13 multi-RBI outings.

The third baseman tallied a .946 fielding percentage tallying 111 assists, second among players at the hot corner and ninth in the league while being a part of nine double plays.

"It feels good because it's a very competitive conference," Roberts said. "There are a lot of great players that we've played against, not only this year but the four years that I've been here. To be named by the coaches as the best third baseman in this conference, that's really big to me."

Apicella, a 2015 all-region selection, is having another historic season for the Eagles. He is the first Eagle to be on All-SAC teams in consecutive years since Derek Long did so three times from 2008-2010 and the first pitcher since Matt Teague from 2005-07. The southpaw has recorded the most complete games, seven, since the school moved to the Division II ranks in 1994. His complete game tally ranks fifth in the country. This season, Apicella is 9-2 with a 3.76 earned run average and 94 strikeouts. The left-hander ranks sixth nationally in wins and seventh in punch outs. He has recorded two shutouts being one of four players in the program's history to accomplish the feat as he has done so in each of the last two years. The strikeout tally is fourth-most in school history for a season and the win total is fifth-most.

The hurler was named the conference pitcher of the week on Feb. 16 and March 8 bringing his career total to four, the most by any C-N since the award was first handed out in 2006. Apicella has struck out 10 or more four times in 2016 and has won each of the last five outings.

"It's nice to see all of the hard work in the off-season and in the fall has paid off for us," Apicella said. "Being able to be consistent year-to-year I think really shows. I just tried to carry it over from last year, fix the little things that I could improve on from last year. It seemed to help out this year. The defense and the batting all year has been fantastic. I couldn't ask for more."

Addington ranks 26th in the country with 24 stolen bases, a mark that ranks eighth since the program joined Division II in 1994. In the last seven years, the junior is just the third player with double-digit steals in a season and has the most since Evan Patterson swiped 24 bags in 2009. Addington ranks 10th in the league with 49 runs scored as he has racked up 19 multi-hit outings. With a .330 batting average, three home runs and 21 RBIs, Addington is having his best season yet.

Greer threw out a ridiculous percentage of runners attempted to steal a base at .591, nearly 20 points higher than any catcher in the league to play at least 30 games. The junior threw out 13 baserunners, the fourth-highest in the league. Greer allowed just nine players to swipe a bag against him, the lowest of any receiver in the league that played in 30 games.

Carson-Newman is the No. 2 seed in the SAC Baseball Championships that will be played at Smokies Stadium. The Eagles will play at 3:45 p.m. against the highest remaining seeds from single-elimination games on Thursday evening. The contest can be heard and viewed on cneagles.com/live with the Eagle Sports Network providing play-by-play coverage beginning 10 minutes prior to first pitch.

All-SAC First Team

OF – Shane Billings, Wingate

OF – Kevin Victoriano, Tusculum

OF – Rayshelon Carolina, Mars Hill

1B – Steven Cooper, Anderson

2B – Dylan Richardson, Catawba

SS – Evan Rogers, Mars Hill

3B – Brandon Roberts, Carson-Newman

C – Will Albertson, Catawba

DH – Malachi Hanes, Catawba

SP – Placido Torres, Tusculum

SP – Vince Apicella, Carson-Newman

SP – Ethan Elliott, Lincoln Memorial

RP – Bryan Blanton, Catawba


All-SAC Second Team

OF – Daymon Totherow, Newberry

OF – Will Winslow, Coker

OF – Bill Krebs, Wingate

1B – Chance Bowden, Catawba

2B – Zack Finchum, Tusculum

SS – Matthew De La Rosa, Lenoir-Rhyne

3B – Derek Olenchuck, Newberry

C – Jack Leech, Coker

DH – Bradley Brown, Wingate

SP – Dallas Baldwin, Coker

SP – Zack Kelly, Newberry

SP – Russ Weiker, Catawba

RP – Brock Goodling, Anderson


Honorable Mentions

OF – Wes Neiderland, Lincoln Memorial

OF – Luke Setzer, Catawba

OF – Ryan Addington, Carson-Newman

1B – Will Winslow, Coker

2B – Schuyler Martire, Brevard

SS – Jean Rodriguez, Lincoln Memorial

3B – Eric Kalman, Lincoln Memorial

C – LJ Newman, Anderson

DH – Dylan Powers, Mars Hill

SP – Daniel Nations, Newberry

SP – Christian Raasch, Tusculum

SP – Brandon Donahue, Wingate

RP – Marshall Rentz, Newberry


Gold Glove

RF – Garrett Bernardo, Anderson

CF – Shane Billings, Wingate

LF – Clint Allen, Coker

1B – Creighton Wilke, Tusculum

2B – Dylan Richardson, Catawba

SS – Jeremy Simpson, Catawba

3B – Brandon Roberts, Carson-Newman

C – Gooch Greer, Carson-Newman

P – Daniel Nations, Newberry


Player of the Year

Evan Rogers, Mars Hill


Pitcher of the Year

Placido Torres, Tusculum


Freshman of the Year

Ethan Elliott, Lincoln Memorial


Coach of the Year

Jim Gantt, Catawba

- CN -