Four Eagles Earn Preseason All-MEAC Baseball Honors

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NORFOLK, Va. – Four North Carolina Central University baseball student-athletes were voted to Preseason All-MEAC Baseball Teams for the 2016 season, and the Eagles as a team were picked to finish fourth in the Southern Division in the preseason poll.

Junior outfielder Carlos Ortiz (Cleveland, Ohio) and sophomore pitcher Devin Sweet (Greensboro, N.C.) earned First Team honors, while senior pitcher Alex Dandridge (Arlington, Texas) and senior first baseman Christian Triplett (Wilkesboro, N.C.) got Second Team nods.

Carlos OrtizOrtiz is placed on the Preseason All-MEAC First Team for the second consecutive year, and has now picked up conference honors in all three of his seasons after being named MEAC Rookie of the Year in 2014.  He became the first Eagle to hit double-digit home runs in a single season in the modern era with 11 last season, and also broke the single-season record for most total bases with 96.  Ortiz batted .308 and slugged .558 to push in 35 RBI and touched home 28 times himself.  Recorded 106 putouts to lead all NCCU outfielders with four outfield assists.

Devin SweetSweet had a strong freshman season as a Sunday starter and was named to the NCBWA Freshman All-American team following the 2015 campaign.  He finished the year with a 4-2 record to tie for the team lead with the team’s lowest ERA of 2.93.  Sweet racked up 54 strikeouts, which is the most for a freshman in a single-season in the modern era at NCCU.  He also stepped into the batter’s box later in the season and hit .343 with six RBI over 35 at-bats.

Alex DandridgeDandridge started the 2015 season unbeaten with a 4-0 mark over his first nine starts, and finished the year tied for the team’s best record of 4-2.  He tossed a team-high two complete games and turned in 63.2 innings of work, the second most on the team.  Dandridge also picked up MEAC Pitcher of the Week honors after throwing eight complete innings against Norfolk State (Feb. 14) without an earned run, allowing just one hit and two walks with eight strikeouts.

Triplett_C ristianTriplett led NCCU with 14 doubles, and tied the single-season record in the modern era with those hits.  He slugged .478 with six home runs during the 2015 season, including two over the famed Green Monster at Fenway Park against Florida A&M on April 25.  Triplett batted .280 with 27 RBI and 27 runs scored, and recorded 343 putouts at first base with 15 assists and 23 double plays turned.

NCCU narrowly missed the league tournament last season by finishing fourth in the 2015 campaign, and that is where the Eagles were voted to finish in the 2016 preseason poll.  NCCU received one first-place vote, and reigning division and league champion Florida A&M received 14 to top the poll.

The Eagles open the 2016 season at home with a three-game series against Morehead State on Friday, Feb. 19.

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