AUGUSTA, GA – The Peach Belt Conference has announced the 2014 baseball preseason All-Conference team. The team features 11 players from six different PBC schools as selected by the league's head coaches. USC Aiken leads the way with three preseason picks while Georgia College, Lander, and Montevallo have two selections each.
At first base, USC Aiken's Ty Barkell was named first team All-Conference after hitting .361 with 10 homers and 56 RBIs. The returning junior from Denver, Colo., was ranked in the PBC top 10 in homers, triples, hits, total bases and RBIs. The gold-glove winner also led the conference in put outs and double plays turned.
Part of that double-play combination was Barkell's teammate Ryan Metzler at second base. A returning junior from Glen Burnie, Md., he was also named first-team All-Conference after hitting .357 last year. Metzler led the PBC in triples and also cranked out seven home runs and 46 RBIs.
UNC Pembroke's Jordan Edgerton finished the 2013 season third in the PBC with a .392 batting average. A first-team All-Conference selection at third base, the returning junior from Mount Holly, N.C., also led the PBC in hits and was in the top 10 in home runs, RBIs, doubles and slugging percentage.
At shortstop is Georgia College's Daniel Bick who was selected first-team All-Conference in 2013. A returning senior from Alpharetta, Ga., he was 12th in the PBC with a .363 batting average and added 13 doubles, three homers and was second in the PBC with 72 runs scored. Bick was also sixth in the league with 17 stolen bases.
Armstrong's Clayton Miller led the Pirates with a .358 batting average last season which included eight doubles, two homers and 34 RBIs. The returning senior from Augusta, Ga., was named first-team All-Conference at catcher was also named a PBC Player of the Week last year.
Lander's Patrick Grady was named first-team All-Conference and an All-American by the NCBWA and Daktronics last year. A returning senior outfielder from Pompano Beach, Fla., he led the Bearcats with a .380 batting average, eighth in the PBC and led the conference in walks and on-base percentage.
Montevallo's Zack Willoughby was a second-team All-Conference outfielder in 2013. A returning junior from Boaz., Ala., he hit .331 with six homers and 27 RBIs. He added seven doubles, one triple and three stolen bases. Willoughby had a perfect. 1.000 fielding percentage in the outfield with three assists.
The final preseason All-Conference outfielder is Georgia College's Jake Sandlin. Named second-team All-Conference as a freshman last year, the Evans, Ga., native hit .311 with nine home runs and 45 RBIs, including a memorable grand slam in the PBC Tournament.
Lander's Dylan Wolchik was a first-team All-Conference starting pitcher in 2013. A returning senior from Margate, Fla., he made 13 starts last year and led the Peach Belt with 10 wins. He was ranked in the league's top five in innings pitched, strikeouts and was second in the league with a 2.71 ERA.
USC Aiken's Caleb Smith made 25 appearances in relief last year, giving up only five earned runs on the season for a 1.82 ERA. The returning sophomore from Aiken, S.C., held opponents to a .179 batting average and struck out 38 in 24.2 innings pitched.
Montevallo's Vinny Rodriguez is the preseason All-Conference designated hitter. A returning junior from Birmingham, Ala., he was named second-team All-Conference after finishing second in the PBC with a .396 batting average. He was also third in the league with 20 doubles and added seven home runs and 47 RBIs.
2014 Peach Belt Conference
Baseball Preseason All-Conference Team
First Base – Ty Barkell, USC Aiken
Second Base – Ryan Metzler, USC Aiken
Third Base – Jordan Edgerton, UNC Pembroke
Shortstop – Daniel Bick, Georgia College
Catcher – Clayton Miller, Armstrong
Outfield – Patrick Grady, Lander
Outfield – Zack Willoughby, Montevallo
Outfield – Jake Sandlin, Georgia College
Starting Pitcher – Dylan Wolchik, Lander
Relief Pitcher – Caleb Smith, USC Aiken
Designated Hitter – Vinny Rodriguez, Montevallo