Fall Ball Report: Bluefield State Building on the Mound and at Bat

Bluefield State returns significant star power from the 2021 Black College World Series championship team, but the Big Blues are deep as ever with the 2022 season approaching and the talented program of head coach Drew Bailey is more than ready to start the season. 

Bailey has added a ton of fresh new faces to the lineup in fall ball but that has not changed any expectation. Instead there is excitement. Bailey could see the difference with his team’s fall workouts. 

Bluefield returns the majority of last year’s team other than three seniors. They brought in 35 new players including four NCAA Division I transfers, two who are hard throwing pitchers, two power hitters, and nine junior college players. 

Players that will make an impact are Jacob Matheney, Zane Eggleston, Shawn Runey, Josh Pilsko and Austin Stambaugh, all will be projected as starters on the hill or see significant action in the pen. 

Bluefield State has some experienced bullpen arms returning and added some promising freshmen and transfers to the pen as well. 

A big addition to the Big Blue team is the transfer of Brayden Merrick from Virginia Tech who is a fleet footed strongarm quick up the middle shortstop anchoring the infield. A lot of talented new position players open the 2022 season for Bluefield State which includes Rawlings Gold Glove Award winner Garrett Hladilek, freshman infielders Erik Romero and Blake Little along with North Carolina Central transfer outfielder Jordan Valera Payne. 

Returners include first baseman Ty Sizemore, freshman Ethan Wilkins, Tyler Fenwick who is making his presence showing in the infield and outfield. Bluefield State returns from the 2022 championship team catcher Roman Moore and Barry Crawford and brings in promising catcher Cole Cote who will see time behind the plate. 

Big Blue returns a wealth of veterans from last year’s team – Taylor Tibbs, CJ Cooper, Daniel Rayfield, Roman Moore, Howie Spencer, and JR McRee.

Bluefield baseball opens its 2022 campaign February 4th against Anderson University and is scheduled to play five top 25 teams.


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