Grambling State Sports Information
Grambling State picked Second In The Western Division Predicted Order of Finish
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – The Grambling State University baseball team placed five members on the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) Preseason teams, while the Tigers were selected second in the Western Division predicted order of finish, the conference announced on Friday.
The vote was conducted by the league’s sports information directors and head coaches.
Grambling State placed Drexler Macaay (catcher), Richard Ortiz (designated hitter) and Isaiah Torres (outfielder) on the first team, while Rafael Ramirez (first baseman) and Ace Felder (outfielder) were named to the second team.
The Tigers, who went 26-26 overall last season and 14-10 in SWAC play, registered six first-place votes and recorded 67 points to earn the second spot. Grambling State, which fell in the SWAC Baseball Tournament title game to Texas Southern, sits five points shy of the top spot, held by TSU.
Texas Southern garnered nine first-place votes and 72 points to claim the top spot. Arkansas-Pine Bluff (42 points) was chosen third, followed by Prairie View A&M (34 points) and Southern (25 points).
In the Eastern Division poll, Alabama State registered nine first-place votes and 73 total points to earn the top spot. Jackson State (69 points), Alcorn State (40 points), Alabama A&M (33 points) and Mississippi Valley State (25 points) rounded out the division.
Macaay played in 35 games, with 28 starts. Behind the plate, Macaay registered 173 putouts and assisted on 21 outs. Offensively, the Curacao, Puerto Rico native finished with a .323 batting average in 99 plate appearances. He recorded 32 hits, including six doubles and a pair of home runs. Macaay scored 22 times and drove in 18.
Ortiz, who earned a spot on the All-SWAC First Team and on the Louisiana Sports Writers Association Second Team, batted .289 in 52 games, had a .489 slugging percentage and a .420 on-base percentage. He recorded 52 hits, including 10 home runs and six doubles. The Ponce, Puerto Rico native drove in 47 and scored 41 times.
Torres, an All-SWAC First Team selection last year, played in 48 games, starting in 46. The outfielder finished with 80 putouts and committed just two errors. Offensively, Torres batted .325, with 54 hits, including 11 doubles and three homers. The Brooklyn, N.Y. native finished with 36 runs batted in and 20 runs scored.
Ramirez, who earned American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA)/Rawlings NCAA Division I Central All-Region Second Team, 2018 Google Cloud Academic All-America Second Team, Louisiana Sports Writers Association Second Team, All-SWAC Second team and All-SWAC Tournament Team honors last season, had an outstanding sophomore year for the Black and Gold. The San Antonio, Texas native was second on the team in batting with a .353 average in 170 at-bats. He played in 47 games and started in 45, with 60 hits, including a team-high 17 doubles and 16 home runs. He drove in a team-high 66 runners and scored 36 times. Ramirez was second on the team in walks with 24 and was hit by a pitch seven times. Nationally, Ramirez ranked first in runs batted in, fifth in slugging percentage, 13th in home runs per game and 22nd in runs batted in.
Felder, who was named to the All-SWAC Tournament Team, played in 39 games, including starting in 33 last season. He batted .333 in 114 plate appearances. The Dallas, Texas native registered 38 hits, including seven doubles and one triple. Felder finished with 38 runs scored, 13 stolen bases and 11 runs batted in. Defensively, the outfielder registered 75 putouts and just one error.
Grambling State begins the 2019 season Feb. 15-17 in New Orleans, La. with three games at the Andre Dawson Classic. The Tigers will meet Eastern Kentucky, Southern and Alabama State.