Alabama State Baseball Readies For Season Opening Andre Dawson Classic Friday




Alabama State Sports Information


MONTGOMERY, Ala. – Since 2016, Alabama State has appeared in the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) championship game three times, winning the championship with an undefeated run in 2016.

The Hornets made the championship game in 2017 and again last season, before falling to Southern in 2019 after winning the East Division. So, what does the 2020 season hold for the Hornets? They will find out when they open the season at the Andre Dawson Classic in New Orleans (La.) for the third consecutive season.

Alabama State opens the season Friday morning against Prairie View A&M (11 am), before facing UAPB Saturday (4 pm). The Hornets will conclude the tournament in a championship game rematch against Southern Sunday afternoon at 12 pm.

Wealth of talent returns for the Hornets in the field – six starters
The Hornets return a wealth of talent from 2019 including SWAC Preseason Player of the Year Santiago Garcia behind the plate. The junior from Enterprise (Ala.) played in every game last season, without missing a pitch and hit .328 as a sophomore on his way to earning First Team All-Conference honors. He also collected 25 extra base hits – 16 doubles and nine home runs – while leading the team with 63 runs batted in.

Alabama State also returns first baseman Chris Lewis who ended the year hitting .271 last season with 46 hits that including four doubles, a triple and a homerun. The junior started 51 games at first base for Hornets after splitting time during his freshman campaign. While he is the lone returning starter on the right side of the infield, the Hornets return a pair of players on the left side including preseason All-SWAC selection at shortstop Cristopher DeGuzman.

DeGuzman finished the year hitting .257 in 54 games last year with 39 runs scored and eight extra base hits. He collected five doubles and three home runs during his sophomore campaign. He is joined on that side of the infield by sophomore Hunter May who finished the year hitting .260 after missing the latter part of the season due to an injury. May finished with five doubles and six home runs.

The Hornets return just one starter in the outfield in senior Cameron Hearn. The senior returns in right after playing in 53 games (all starts) last season. He finished the year hitting .274 with 57 hits (eight doubles, four triples and a pair of home runs). Alabama State also returns Angel Jimenez, a preseason All-SWAC selection at designated hitter, after hitting .311 with 12 extra base hits.

They also return Trevor Jurjevich who played third last season and return AJ Gardner after missing all of 2019.

Hornets return several arms from 2019
Alabama State lost several arms from 2019, but the returning arms have proven they can compete against the best from across the nation.

Jeremy Rivera, a preseason All-SWAC selection, returns after a freshman campaign that saw him put up a 4.93 earned run average in 65.2 innings. He finished last season 7-4 in 18 appearances (seven starts) and recorded a pair of saves. The sophomore finished the year with 60 strikeouts compared to just 24 walks.

He is joined in the rotation by Ricardo Rivera, last season’s SWAC Freshman of the Year, who finished with a 5.16 earned run average in 59.1 innings. He finished the year with a 6-3 record in 13 appearances (10 starts) and one save. He also recorded 46 strikeouts as a freshman. The duo is joined by Breon Pooler who returns after missing most of last season. He started a pair of games and finished with four strikeouts in 8.2 innings pitched.

The Hornets return several arms from the bullpen including Alexander Castro (one save), Gage Dollar, Trevor Jurjevich and Britt Buckelew.

Alabama State reloads for another run
The Hornets have to replace two of their top hitters from last year, as well as the SWAC Player (Yamil Pagan) and SWAC Pitcher of the Year (Darren Kelly) from last season. They also must replace two other starters from last year.

All the Hornets did was reload the roster for this year’s run. They added infielders Dilan Espinal, Sebastian Colon, Trenton Jamison, Jayden Sloan and Christian Muniz to the mix; along with outfielders Jabronski Williams, Kenny Allred and Ian Matos.

Not to mention the wealth of arms the Hornets have suiting up for 2020 in the likes of Austin King, Lennox Francis, Jacknell Guzman, Ryan Melendez, Ryan Velazquez and Jordan Gould.

Only time will tell for the Hornets, who are predicted to repeat as East Division champions. And it all starts Friday morning in New Orleans.





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