MOUNT OLIVE, North Carolina - The North Carolina Collegiate Sports Information Association (NCCSIA) announced its selections for the 2018 College Division All-State Baseball Teams on Monday. A total of 26 student-athletes from ten different North Carolina schools were named to the first and second teams.
UNC Pembroke led all schools with seven selections while Lenior-Rhyne, Pfeiffer, Wingate, and the University of Mount Olive each had three All-State recipients. Winston-Salem State and Guilford College each tallied a pair of honorees while Mars Hill, Chowan, and Methodist received one All-State honoree.
Trey Jacobs finished with a team-leading .417 (96-for-230) batting average that complemented 41 extra-base hits (11 HR), 79 RBI and 60 runs scored. The redshirt freshman shattered the Peach Belt Conference record for doubles (28), while also establishing new program marks for hits and RBI. He also led the Braves with 29 multiple-hit and 20 multiple RBI performances. Jacobs picked up a trio of post-season first-team All-American awards from the ABCA, NCBWA, and D2CCA.
Luke Jackson was named an ABCA Second Team honoree and an honorable mention All-American by the NCBWA. A native of Kinston, Jackson compiled a .397 (81-for-204) batting average to go along with 25 extra-base hits (12 HR), 69 RBI and 59 runs scored for the Braves, while also posting 21 walks, 10 hit by pitches and a 15-for-22 success rate on stolen base attempts. An everyday starter in left field for the Black & Gold, he also committed just two errors in 97 total defensive chances for a .979 fielding percentage.
A native of Fredericksburg, Va., Anthony Burke tallied a 9-3 record and a 3.18 ERA in a team-best 116 innings of work with 93 strikeouts and just 19 walks. The owner of a league-best six complete games, Burke held opponents to a paltry .259 batting average and boasted six victories against Peach Belt Conference opponents. The senior won five of his last six starts, including a complete game shutout at North Georgia on April 13 that garnered him both PBC and National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) Southeast Region Pitcher of the Week accolades.
A first-team All-Peach Belt Conference selection, Connor Grainger turned in a .304 (58-for-191) batting average in 2018 to complement 25 extra-base hits (9 HR), 51 RBI and 43 runs scored. The owner of 17 multiple-hit and 14 multiple-RBI performances this season, the Tabor City native turned in four or more RBI in a pair of outings, most notably a 4-RBI performance against Flagler on the heels of a perfect 4-for-4 day at the plate.
Seth Hartings, the everyday starter at second base for the Braves, registered a .365 (73-for-200) batting average with 19 extra-base hits (7 HR), 47 RBI and 51 runs scored in 2018, while also turning in a 15-for-18 clip on stolen base attempts. The redshirt sophomore, who reached base via by pitch a league-high 15 times this season, led the Braves with a 415 (49-for-118) batting average against PBC foes and registered 21 multiple-hit contests, as well as 11 multiple-RBI showings.
Matt Honeycutt, a native of China Grove, North Carolina, recorded 69 hits including 15 home runs and 14 doubles while driving in 49 RBI. He batted .399, which was good for third in the South Atlantic Conference, with an on-base percentage of .493 and slugging percentage of .751 while playing in all 48 games of the 2018 season. He was second in total bases with 130 on the year. His postseason accolades include SAC First Team All-Conference, NCBWA All-Southeast Region First Team and D2CCA All-Southeast Region First Team honors, American Baseball Coaches of America (ABCA)/Rawlings All-Southeast Region Second Team as well as an honorable mention All-American for the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA).
Jordan Eckard played in all 38 games for the Falcons this season and his .411 batting average was the 10th highest single-season mark in program history. Eckard also ranked in the top 10 in program history with a .709 slugging percentage (9th), 17 doubles (9th) and a .495 on-base percentage (10th). Eckard finished the year with 10 home runs and 48 RBI to go along with 48 runs scored. Eckard also posted a 23:8 walks to strikeouts ratio. The Catfish, N.C., native garnered First Team All-ECAC honors as well as picking up a Second Team All-South Region laurel from D3baseball.com.
Kirby Lambert split time between first base and the outfield and crushed a team-high 12 home runs and led the squad with 50 runs batted in during the Falcons 38 games. Lambert's .783 slugging percentage is the fifth-best mark in program history and his .556 on-base percentage ranks second. As with Perry and Eckard, Lambert walked more than he struck out and went 10-for-11 in stolen bases. A Richfield, N.C., native, Lambert earned First Team All-ECAC honors following the conclusion of the season.
Emilio Abreu took home the honors after a great senior season with the Rams. He finished the season with a .402 batting average and 41 RBI along with a team-high 10 home runs. He also added 10 doubles with a triple. The honor goes along with being named to the Independent Collegiate Baseball Athletic Association (ICAA) All-Conference team, the ABCA/Rawling All-Region team, the D2CCA All-Atlantic Region Team, and the NCBWA All-Region team.
Zach Vennaro was named to the NCBWA first-team and the ABCA/Rawlings second-team honor. The senior pitcher from Utica, N.Y., was the shutdown man for the Trojans as he ended the season with 11 saves and a 0.81 ERA. He recorded 52 strikeouts in his 44.2 innings used by Mount Olive and finished with a 6-1 record as the UMO closer. Vennaro was also a Conference Carolinas First-Team All-Conference selection and All-Tournament team member. In addition to All-America honors, Vennaro earned a pair of first-team Southeast All-Region laurels.
Nate Estes earned was named to the ABCA/Rawlings first-team all-region team while also picking up second-team honors from the NCBWA. Estes, a junior outfielder from Greenburgh, N.Y., led the Trojans in batting average (.372), stolen bases (28), runs scored (53), hits (73), triples (4), RBI (58), and at-bats (196). Estes was a Conference Carolinas First-Team All-Conference and Conference Carolinas All-Tournament Team selection. The junior outfielder also held spots in the national statistical rankings as he ranked 31st RBI, 21st Stolen bases, 35th sacrifice flies (6).
German Reyes tallied two second-team honors, one from each organization. The senior pitcher from Miami, Fla., had a solid year on the mound for Mount Olive as he went 7-1 with a 2.61 ERA and a team second-best 71 strikeouts. Reyes was named to the Conference Carolinas First-Team All-Conference as well as the Conference Carolinas All-Tournament Team. He was 13th in DII in hits allowed per nine innings at 5.95 and had the best ERA of any starter in the rotation for UMO this season.
Wrapping up the First-Team All-State was Landon Whitson of Lenior-Rhyne University. This year, Whitson was named to the All-South Atlantic Conference First Team after establishing a new school single-season record for saves with nine. Whitson also went 3-1 with a 2.01 earned run average with 42 strikeouts for the Bears (27-22, 13-14). Whitson also picked up several academic honors as he earned spots on the 2018 CoSIDA Google Cloud Academic All-District III Team and the South Atlantic Conference Commissioner's Honor Roll.
Nominations were submitted by North Carolina sports information professionals and voted on by NCCSIA members.
Founded in 2002, the North Carolina Collegiate Sports Information Association (NCCSIA) is comprised of sports information professionals from NCAA Division I, II, III, NAIA and independent institutions from the state of North Carolina. The purpose of the organization is to promote collegiate athletics at all schools. Membership is open to anyone affiliated with a college, university or conference located in North Carolina, and whose area of responsibility lies within sports information.
NCCSIA selects all-state teams in the University (Division I) and College (Division II, III, NAIA) divisions for men's and women's basketball, men's and women's soccer, volleyball, softball and baseball.
North Carolina Collegiate Sports Information Association
2018 College Division All-State Baseball Teams
|C||Matt Honeycutt||JR||Mars Hill Univ.||China Grove, N.C.|
|DH||Connor Grainger||RFR||UNC Pembroke||Tabor City, N.C.|
|IF||Trey Jacobs||RFR||UNC Pembroke||Hope Mills, N.C.|
|IF||Seth Hartings||RSO||UNC Pembroke||Sherrills Ford, N.C.|
|IF||Emilio Abreu||SR||Winston-Salem State Univ.||Elizabeth, N.J.|
|IF||Kirby Lambert||JR||Pfeiffer Univ.||Richfield, N.C.|
|OF||Luke Jackson||JR||UNC Pembroke||Kinston, N.C.|
|OF||Nate Estes||JR||Univ. of Mount Olive||Greenburgh, N.Y.|
|OF||Jordan Eckard||SR||Pfeiffer Univ.||Catfish, N.C.|
|RP||Zach Vennaro||SR||Univ. of Mount Olive||Utica, N.Y.|
|RP||Landon Whitson||SR||Lenoir-Rhyne Univ.||Marion, N.C.|
|SP||German Reyes||SR||Univ. of Mount Olive||Miami, Fla.|
|SP||Anthony Burke %||SR||UNC Pembroke||Fredericksburg, Va.|
|C||Alex Kachler||SO||Methodist Univ.||Lithia, Fla.|
|DH||Trevor Denton $||SR||Guilford Coll.||Mechanicsville, Va.|
|IF||Ethan Baucom %||FR||UNC Pembroke||Kannapolis, N.C.|
|IF||Derek Perry||SR||Pfeiffer Univ.||Belmont, N.C.|
|IF||McCann Mellett||SO||Wingate Univ.||Charlotte, N.C.|
|IF||Josh Shepherd||RJR||Guilford Coll.||Mechanicsville, Va.|
|OF||Harry Markotay||SR||Chowan Univ.||Hillsboro, Mo.|
|OF||Randy Norris $^||JR||Winston-Salem State Univ.||High Point, N.C.|
|OF||Justin Dean||JR||Lenoir-Rhyne Univ.||Mauldin, S.C.|
|RP||Alex Rodriguez||SO||Wingate Univ.||Kannapolis, N.C.|
|RP||Gunner Deal||RJR||UNC Pembroke||Raleigh, N.C.|
|SP||John Grigg||SO||Lenoir-Rhyne Univ.||Lawndale, N.C.|
|SP||Austin Turgeon||JR||Wingate Univ.||Athens, Ga.|
% - First-Team All-State in 2017
$ - Second-Team All-State in 2017
^ - Second-Team All-State in 2016