Andrew Woodley, Sports Information Director
GREENVILLE, Pa. (Feb. 16) - The Bethany College baseball team was picked to finish sixth in the annual Presidents' Athletic Conference (PAC) Preseason Coaches' Poll announced Friday afternoon.
Washington & Jefferson College earned seven first-place votes and 97 total points to secure the top spot on this year's preseason poll. Thomas More, Thiel, Grove City and Waynesburg rounded out the top-five in the poll.
The Bison under 26th-year Head Coach Rick Carver will return the majority of last year's team that won 14 games, the most in a single-season since 2014. Bethany has a trio of all-conference performers on the roster, including All-PAC First-Team utility player Neil Woods (Pittsburgh, Pa./North Allegheny). Woods ranked fourth on the team with a .315 batting average and also pitched his way to second in the PAC with seven saves.
Bethany will also have the services of one of the best pitchers in the league in junior Nick Gross (Pittsburgh, Pa./North Allegheny). Gross was named an All-PAC Second Team honoree after ranking third in the league with a 2.54 ERA in 67.1 innings of work over 11 starts. He held opponents to a .241 batting average, good for fifth in the league, and finished the year with a 2-3 record.
In addition to Woods at first base, the Bison infield will also return senior second baseman Ryan Nickerson (Huntington Beach, Calif./Huntington Beach) and junior third baseman Tyler Frazee (Markleysburg, Pa./Uniontown). Nickerson, an All-PAC Honorable Mention last year, ranked second on the Bison with a .336 batting average and 20 RBI, while Frazee ended the year hitting .297 with 14 RBI and 11 runs scored.
The Green & White will also see the return of sophomore third baseman Kevin Marthinsen (Pittsburgh, Pa./Upper St. Clair). Marthinsen, who missed all of last season due to injury, was an All-PAC Honorable Mention as a freshman in 2016 when he led the team with a .316 batting average and a .439 slugging percentage.
Bethany will begin the 2018 season on Saturday, February 24 when they play a single non-conference game versus Chatham at 3 p.m. in New Market, Virginia. The Bison will also play a doubleheader against Pitt.-Bradford the following day to open the year.
|2018 PAC Baseball Preseason Coaches' Poll|
|School (first-place votes)||Points||2017 Records (PAC)|
|1. W&J (7)||97||42-13 (21-3)|
|2. Thomas More (3)||93||27-12 (15-7)|
|3. Thiel||76||21-19 (13-11)|
|4. Grove City||60||19-19 (14-10)|
|5. Waynesburg||57||18-21 (12-12)|
|6. Bethany||48||14-22-1 (8-14)|
|7. Westminster||40||11-22 (8-12)|
|8. Saint Vincent||37||14-21 (8-13)|
|9. Geneva||24||8-27 (2-19)|
|10. Chatham||18||First-year program