Thomasville, NC- Carolinas-Virginia Athletics Conference (CVAC) head baseball coaches voted Mount Olive College as their preseason poll favorite for the 2007 season.  Mount Olive returns five All-CVAC selections, along with last year’s Freshman of the Year and CVAC Tournament MVP, from a team that won the 2006 CVAC Tournament and earned a berth in the NCAA DII South Atlantic Regional (39-16, 15-9 CVAC).


Two Trojans earned Pre-Season All-American honors: Senior first baseman Josh Carter hit .406 with 67 runs batted in last year, while junior shortstop David Cooper finished in the top 20 nationally in triples (2nd), stolen bases (14th) and runs scored (18th). Senior third baseman Stephen Nordan hit .727 at last year’s CVAC Tournament to earn MVP honors. Carter, Cooper and Nordan are among eight returning starters who hit at least .300 last year as the Trojans posted a team batting average of .351, seventh-highest in the nation.


On the mound, Phillip Pennington (6-4) was named to the All-CVAC second team, while Jesse Lancaster (6-1) earned Freshman of the Year honors. Daniel Wood (5-2) and Paul Buhrow (3-2) came on strong at the end of the season as both players were named to the All-Tournament Team at the CVAC Tournament. Weston Curles, who won each of his last four starts in 2004, including a nine-inning complete game against Erskine in the CVAC Tournament, will rejoin the Trojan staff after missing the last two seasons with an injury.


The Erskine College baseball team returns 13 lettermen off a memorable 2006 season.  The Fleet went 42-16 and finished 2nd in the CVAC regular season with a 15-7 CVAC mark. While they lose three former players who have moved on to professional careers, the Fleet will be returning some experience at crucial positions.  This experience includes shortstop Shelton Cisson, first baseman Matt Schneider, and catcher Matt Wurzer.  Erskine also added a handful of new players that should contribute right away both pitching and at the plate.  On the mound, Erskine will be led be senior Jake Williams and junior Russell Reid, who combined for 70 appearances, 16 wins and 13 saves last year.


Barton College returns players with extensive game experience at five positions from a team that captured the CVAC Regular Season Championship in 2006. Overall, 23 players return from that squad, which was 32-24 overall and 17-7 in the league. Veteran head coach Todd Wilkinson, who has added another 16 players to his roster, says the Bulldogs’ challenge is to replace first-team All-American Brock Godwin, along with two more of the most productive offensive players in school history.  “Seven of our returning players were part-time or full-time starters, so we do have some experience,” Wilkinson said, “and having (1st Team All-CVAC pitcher) Kelly Stracke anchoring the pitching staff should help us. We’ll need to depend on our pitching and defense until we can figure out how to score.”


Rounding out the baseball preseason poll 4-9 is:  Barton, Belmont Abbey, Limestone, Anderson, Pfeiffer, Coker, and St. Andrews respectively.


Carolinas-Virginia Athletics Conference Pre-Season Coaches Poll

(First place votes in parenthesis)

1.         Mount Olive College                            (8)                   64

2.         Erskine College                                   (1)                   56

3.         Barton College                                                            43

T-4.      Belmont Abbey College                                              36

T-4.      Limestone College                                                      36

T-6.      Anderson University                                                  29

T-6.      Pfeiffer University                                                      29       

8.         Coker College                                                              20

9.         St. Andrews Presbyterian College                              11


2007 CVAC “Preseason Players to Watch” List

(As selected by the member institutions)


Name:                           School:             Year:    Highlights:

Tony Graham                 Anderson           Sr.        ’06 All-CVAC 2nd Team. 2nd Base

Kyle Lewis                     Anderson           Sr.        .292 batting average in ‘06

Kelly Stracke                 Barton               Sr.        ‘06 All-CVAC 1st Team, Pitcher

Jonathan Nichols            Barton               So.       12 HR, 38 RBI in ‘06

Alex Udwari                   Belmont Abbey Sr.        ‘06 All-CVAC 1st Team, Outfield

Jason Kline                    Belmont Abbey Sr.        ‘06 All-CVAC 1st Team, Pitcher

Josh Haire                     Belmont Abbey Sr.        ‘06 All-CVAC 2nd Team, Shortstop

Eric Losten                     Coker               Sr.        ’05 All-CVAC 1st Team, All-Region, 3rd Base

Brian Nally                     Coker               Sr.        ’05 All-CVAC 2nd Team, Shortstop

Mike Moore                    Erskine              Jr.         ‘06 All-CVAC 2nd Team, Pitcher   

Jake Williams                 Erskine              Sr.        ‘06 All-CVAC 2nd Team, Relief Pitcher

Shelton Cisson               Erskine              Sr.        ‘06 All-CVAC 2nd Team, Utility

Joey Asis                       Limestone          Sr.        ’06 All-CVAC 2nd Team

Tyler Midgett                  Limestone          Sr.        Team Captain w/ .271 average in ‘06

Josh Carter                    Mount Olive       Sr.        ‘06 All-CVAC 1st Team, 1st Base

David Cooper                Mount Olive       Jr.         ‘06 All-CVAC 1st Team, Shortstop

Josh Harrison                 Mount Olive       Jr.         ‘06 All-CVAC 2nd Team, Designated Hitter

Graham Wooten             Mount Olive       Sr.        ‘06 All-CVAC 2nd Team, Outfield

Phillip Pennington           Mount Olive       Sr.        ‘06 All-CVAC 2nd Team, Pitcher

Jesse Lancaster              Mount Olive       So.       ‘06 CVAC Freshman of the Year

Stephen Nordan             Mount Olive       Sr.        ‘06 CVAC Tourney MVP, 2005 All-CVAC 1st Team

Ben Beard                     Pfeiffer              Jr.         ‘06 All-CVAC 2nd Team, Pitcher

Bryan Braxton               Pfeiffer              So.       15 HR in ’06, 1st Base

T.J. Chrusch                  St. Andrews       Jr          ‘06 CVAC POTW, 12 total saves, 1.7 k’s/in. in ‘06

Michael Eastwood           St. Andrews       Jr          .289 career batting average