Savannah State Baseball Tigers Open New Era With 2020 Season

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NCAADII/SIAC/Baseball

 

Savannah State Sports Information

 

SAVANNAH, Ga. – Savannah State baseball enters a new era of competition in the 2020 season after a string of successes in its last.

The Tigers are set to play their first season as a member of the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC) this year, and as a NCAA Division II program after eight years in the Division I Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC).

During their tenure in the MEAC, the Tigers earned five championship berths. Their most successful run was in 2013, when SSU won the MEAC Championship after a 17-7 regular season conference record.

Back in 2013, pitcher Kyle McGowin led that championship team to victory in the final game of the tournament. McGowin was drafted by the Los Angeles Angles in the 2013 Major League Baseball Draft and later traded to the Washington Nationals.

He made his major league debut in September, 2018. During the 2019 Nationals’ World Series run, McGowin pitched in seven games during the regular season.

During the 2019 MLB Draft, outfielder Justin Washington was selected in the 35th round by the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Decatur, Georgia native became the fourth SSU player to be drafted.

Luis Lamarche

Luis Lamarche

For the 2020 season, Savannah State returns 18 players to their 33-man roster, including several of their top hitters from a strong 2019 season. In their final Division I season, the Tigers finished 13-27-1 overall and went 10-14 in the MEAC, earning a championship berth, their first since 2015.

At the plate, the Tigers will be strong this year. Four of their top hitters from the 2019 season are returning: Senior’s Joey Roberson, Aaron Straker, Luis Lamarche and Turner Davis will lead the Tigers at bat.

Davis (.247) and Roberson were in the MEAC top 10 in home runs last season. Roberson batted .287 during the 2019 season with 43 hits and 28 RBI.

Savannah State’s 13-man bullpen is looking strong as well with some help from key returners Lois Torres-Lopez and Enrico Peele, who will both be in the starting pitching rotation.

Junior transfer Luis Lopez-Valdez will also join the starting rotation this year. In relief, SSU will look to transfer lefty Ricky McCleod and closer Alfred Carucci to bring the heat.

Of the 15 newcomers, SSU will field five true freshman this season, including twins James Walton (RHP) and Justin Walton (SS) out of Fairburn, Georgia. They added seven newcomers from various junior colleges as well—a prime recruiting space for Division II.

Head coach, Carlton Hardy returns for his 13th season at Savannah State and his 21st year as a head coach. Over his time at SSU, Hardy is 298-403. Over his career, he is 451-569.

Savannah State opens the 2020 season on Feb. 4 with a non-conference doubleheader on Tiger Field against Brewton-Parker. It’s also Latin Night and the Latin Chicks food truck will be on hand from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m.

The Tigers will play eight non-conference teams before opening the SIAC portion of their season on March 14 against Miles College in Savannah. Key home games this season include a three-game SIAC home series against Paine College on March 21 and 22, a three-game SIAC series against Albany State on April 3 and 4 and the April 18-19 three-game SIAC series with Benedict College.

The 2020 SIAC Championship is slated for April 30-May 2 in Albany, Georgia.

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