Claflin Baseball Open Season Friday

Preview

NCAA DII/Independent/Baseball

 

Claflin Sports Information

 

Florence, S.C. – The Claflin University baseball team will open the 2019 season this weekend in the Pepsi Pop-Off Series at Francis Marion University.

The athletic event will be played on Cormell Field at Sparrow Stadium in the Griffin Athletic Complex on the Francis Marion campus.

The Panthers will play two games, starting on Friday (Feb. 1) against Southern Wesleyan University of the Conference Carolinas at 2 p.m., followed by the host team, Francis Marion on Saturday (Feb. 2) at 4 p.m.

Claflin is coming off a 17-32 record last season.

Claflin return two outstanding hurlers from last season in Cleveland Westbrook and Dillon Parker that combined for 13 of Claflin 17 wins. Westbrook, who sported an impressive 8-2 record with 90 strikeouts in 81.2 innings of work, was named to the NCBWA DII Preseason All-South Region Second Team.  Parker posted a 5-5 record and fanned 70 batters in 83.1 innings.

On the offensive side, Claflin welcomes back five productive players. The group is led by Eric McElveen, who batted .312 with 49 hits, 11 doubles, three homers and 32 RBIs and Grayland Fowler, who was also named to the NCBWA DII Preseason All-South Region Second Team, hit .299 with 29 runs scored, 56 hits and 41 RBIs.

Other top hitters include, Clyde Parker at .299 with 44 hits, four home runs 34 RBIs; Craig Hopkins with a .277 battling averaging, four home runs and 21 RBIs; and Jalen Sprull with a plate average of .331 and 32 RBIs.

In the matchup with Southern Wesleyan, Claflin will face a team that finished 17-32 last season and returned three of its top four pitchers. Josh Core pitched 46.2 innings with 53 strikeouts, followed by TJ McEvilly and Vinny Adams. McEvilly went 5-4 last season with 57.2 innings of work and 39 strikeouts, while Adams was 3-1 over 33.2 innings pitched and struck out 32 batters.

Quinton Bent is the top offensive player returning.  He finished the season with 10 homeruns, 15 doubles and 45 RBIs.

As for Francis Marion, the Patriots posted an 18-28 record last season.

Francis Marion returned its leading hitter in Gage Taylor, who batted .328 with 65 hits and 37 RBIs. Other outstanding players for the Patriots includes CJ Mackinson with batting averaging of .320, 55 hits, six home runs and 35 RBIs; and Cole Hinnant, who batted .321 last season.

On the mound, Francis Marion returns pitchers Christian Umphlett (4-4) and Austin Roseberry (3-2).

After the road trip to Florence, the Panthers will open a 17-game home stand at Historic Mirmow Field in Orangeburg, starting with a double-header against Lincoln Memorial University on Monday (Feb. 4). The first game is slated for 1 p.m. followed by the second at approximately 4 p.m.

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