Lions Baseball Opens Season this Weekend At Virginia State

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Lincoln(PA) Sports Information

 

Lincoln University, Pa. – The spring sports season at Lincoln University gets underway this weekend as the Lincoln baseball team kicks off their 2020 season with games against Virginia State University and Shepherd University in Petersburg, Virginia.

The Lions enter the season returning 15 players from last year’s squad that went 2-39 in their first season as a member of East Coast Conference. Lincoln won their first ECC game as a member in their final contest of the season, defeating Bridgeport 7-4.

Coach Anthony Plá enters his 11th season at the helm of the baseball program, guiding the program throughout their NCAA division II era. Plá is the longest tenured current coach at Lincoln and is second on the Lions all-time wins list with 40 wins behind Lions legend Manny Rivero’s 75.

Leading the way for the Lions will be 2019 Second Team all-ECC outfielder Kashif Hill (Brooklyn, N.Y./Benjamin Banneker Academy). As a sophomore last season, Hill was the Lions’ triple crown winner, leading the team in batting average (.333), home runs (3) and RBI (24). Hill’s 37 hits fell one short of tying the Lincoln single season mark of 38 set by Melvin Robinson (Bear, DE/William Penn) in 2011 and tied by Demetrius Morris the following season. He also had seven stolen bases.

Catcher Max Guadalupe (Brooklyn, N.Y./Bluefield College) returns for his second and final season behind the plate for the Lions. Guadalupe led Lincoln with 13 stolen bases while recording 23 hits in 102 at-bats in 35 games played. Behind the plate Guadalupe threw out a team-high eight runners last season.

Another top returnee for the Lions will be first baseman Malcolm Smith (Los Angeles, Calif./Susan Miller Dorsey). Smith was third on the team with 24 hits, including two home runs and drew a team-high 20 walks enroute to a .348 on-base percentage (2nd highest behind Hill). In the field Smith committed just six errors in 226 chances. His 210 put outs and 12 double plays turned were Lincoln single season records.

On the mound the Lions will need to improve if they hope to have any success during the season. Rolando Alvarez (Brooklyn, N.Y./Nazareth Regional ) returns for his third season, looking for a bounceback performance after struggling in 2019. Alvarez won just one game and led the team with 11 starts, three complete games and 39 strikeouts in 56.2 innings pitched.

Trevon Sutton (Chicago, Ill./Harlan Community Academy) is Lincoln’s only other returning pitcher that threw more than 25 innings on the mound in 2019, tossing 30.1. Sutton recorded 30 strikeouts in 12 appearances (two starts).

Coach Plá hopes to get solid contributions from Josh Roberson (Germantown Md./Seneca Valley) and Pedro Martinez (Patillas, Puerto Rico/Puerto Rico Baseball HS Academy) who returned to the team after sitting out the 2019 season. In addition, the Lions should see contributions from a trio of freshman, outfielder Alex Jones (Bear Del./Appoquinimink), middle infielder Josiah Lara (Plant City Fla./Carlos Beltran Baseball Academy) and lefty pitcher Leon McKnight (Philadelphia Pa./Sankofa Freedom Academy Charter).

Lincoln opens the 2020 campaign on Saturday February 15 with two single nine inning games. The Lions play host Virginia State University at 11 a.m. followed by a 5 p.m. game against Shepherd University. Lincoln will conclude their opening road trip on Sunday, February 16 with a single game against Virginia State. The Lions are scheduled to have their home opener on March 8, 2020 against University of the Sciences.

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