Bethune Cookman Sports Information
BCU places four on Preseason All-MEAC First Team
NORFOLK, Va. – It was announced Thursday, Feb. 7, that junior pitcher Anthony Maldonado was the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) Preseason Pitcher of the Year, as announced from the MEAC Office in Norfolk, Virginia. In all, four Wildcats earned their way onto the All-MEAC Preseason First Team. Additionally, Coppin State and North Carolina A&T were selected as the preseason favorites to win the Northern and Southern Divisions, respectively.
All awards were voted on by the conference’s head coaches and sports information directors.
With Maldonado making his way onto the All-MEAC Preseason First Team, he was joined by teammates first baseman Danny Rodriguez (Pembroke Pines, Fla.), centerfielder Zach Spivey (Ormond Beach, Fla.) and shortstop Nate Sterijevski (Clermont, Fla.).
Anthony Maldonado, the 2018 MEAC Pitcher of the Year, made 11 starts last season, tossing three complete games in compiling a record of 6-2 and a 2.81 ERA. The hard-throwing right-hander led the MEAC in opponents’ batting average (.211) and was second in the MEAC in runs allowed (24), ERA and third in earned runs allowed (20). His 74 strikeouts ranked sixth in the conference, and he gave up just 50 hits – tied for best in the MEAC, in 64.0 innings pitched.
Making his way onto the All-MEAC Preseason team for a third consecutive year is senior first baseman Danny Rodriguez. The 2016 MEAC Freshman of the Year and a 2017 All-MEAC First Team member, Rodriguez was voted to the 2018 All-MEAC Third Team as a junior. He batted at a .272 average across the 2018 campaign, playing and starting in 50 games, respectfully. He scored 32 runs on the year and used a league 10th-best .482 slugging percentage to go along with a team-high 14 doubles (third-most in the league), one (1) triple and team-high eight home runs. His eight homers were also tied for second-most in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference.
Earning his first preseason all-conference recognition is senior outfielder Zach Spivey. The Ormond Beach, Florida native and former FGCU outfielder made a quick impact for the Maroon and Gold in 2018, making his way onto the 2018 All-MEAC Third Team. He ended the year tied for ninth in the league in runs scored (40). He would also complete the year tied atop the league for doubles in a single game with three. Spivey logged a perfect fielding percentage across the campaign from his centerfield position with 177 putouts and one assist. He would swipe 15 bases in 20 attempts while registering a .282 batting average with 57 hits (third on the BCU squad).
The final BCU member present on the preseason all-conference team is senior shortstop Nate Sterijevski. The Clermont, Florida native moved from second base to shortstop prior to the 2018 season. He finished the 2018 campaign as a Second Team All-MEAC selection, finishing tied for third in the conference for hits (63). He was also fifth in the league in walks (29), registering a league eighth-best .430 on-base percentage across the campaign. At the dish, he drove out four home runs and used a .433 slugging percentage to his credit while being the second-hardest player to strikeout on the Maroon and Gold roster with an incredible strikeout-to-walk ratio. From his shortstop position on the field, he collected a .943 fielding percentage with 80 putouts and 137 assists.
Meanwhile, North Carolina Central’s Corey Joyce was named the MEAC Preseason Player of the Year.
Coppin State won the Northern Division last season for the first time since 1996 and is expected to repeat the feat in 2019, picking up 13 first-place votes. Norfolk State, with four first-place votes, was picked to finish second, and Delaware State (one first-place vote) and Maryland Eastern Shore round out the Northern Division.
North Carolina A&T State is the favorite to win the Southern Division, picking up 15 first-place votes. Bethune-Cookman (two first-place votes), entering its first season under head coach Jonathan Hernandez, was picked to finish second – followed by Florida A&M (one first-place vote), North Carolina Central and Savannah State.
The 2019 MEAC Baseball Championships will be held at Radiology Associates Field at Jackie Robinson Ballpark in Daytona Beach, Florida from May 15-18. Only the top three teams from each division will qualify for the tournament.
Bethune-Cookman kicks off the 2019 season Friday, Feb. 15, when the Wildcats visit Florida Gulf Coast.