FORT SMITH, Ark. – UAFS added a new chapter to its baseball history book last spring when the Lions set the school record for wins in a season during its NCAA Division II era and made its first-ever appearance in the NCAA Division II national tournament.
The Lions are once again focused on another deep run in the postseason, and they’ll begin their trek on Saturday when they host the Northwest Missouri State Bearcats in the first game of a three-game series at Crowder Field.
First pitch will be at 1 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday and at 3 p.m. on Monday. Because of a scheduling conflict, live statistics and live stream will not be available on Saturday, but live statistics and live stream will be available for the Sunday and Monday games.
The Lions are ranked No. 6 in the preseason NCBWA South Central Region Poll and are ranked No. 40 in the nation in Collegiate Baseball’s NCAA Division II Preseason Poll. UAFS also is picked to finish second in the Heartland Conference.
UAFS returns starters at seven of the eight positions in the field and return a starter at designated hitter from last year’s team that finished 35-22 overall and runner-up in the conference regular season, conference tournament and region tournament.
Senior outfielder Dion Williams from Kansas City, Mo., led the team in batting average (0.351), triples (11), home runs (eight) and RBIs (46) and tied for second in doubles (15). He led the Heartland Conference and NCAA Division II in triples and is the school's all-time, single-season leader in triples.
He was named First Team Natural State Baseball All-Arkansas Collegiate Team, CCA First Team All-South Central Region, NCBWA First Team All-South Central Region, Heartland Conference Newcomer of the Year, First Team All-Heartland Conference and All-South Central Region Tournament Team.
Sophomore outfielder Logan Allen from Bryant, Ark., was second on the team with a 0.332 batting average and was second on the team with 15 doubles and four triples. He was tied for second on the team with seven home runs and compiled a 0.979 fielding percentage.
Allen was named Heartland Conference Freshman of the Year and was named to the Heartland Conference All-Defensive Team and the All-South Central Region Tournament Team.
Senior outfielder Jace Pitchford from Poteau, Okla., compiled a 0.257 batting average and tied for team lead with 17 doubles. He had one triple, seven home runs and 31 RBIs. He compiled 0.986 fielding percentage and was second on the team with 11 stolen bases
Pitchford was named to the Heartland Conference All-Defensive Team.
Senior second baseman Anthony Seminaris from Chino Hills, Calif., compiled a 0.246 batting average with seven doubles, one triple, one home run and 32 RBIs. He also compiled a 0.882 fielding percentage.
Junior shortstop Drew Duncan from Mayflower, Ark., compiled a 0.254 batting average with one double, one triple and 24 RBIs and compiled a 0.986 fielding percentage. Junior third baseman Brandan Warner compiled a 0.235 batting average with four doubles, two triples, two home runs and 13 RBIs and compiled a 0.869 fielding percentage.
Sophomore catcher Dylan Hurt from Bryant, Ark., started 35 games and compiled a 0.229 batting average with four doubles and 13 RBIs. He compiled a 0.994 fielding percentage and was named to the South Central Region All-Tournament Team. Senior catcher Jordany Santiago from Bronx, N.Y., started 21 games and compiled a 0.231 batting average with two doubles, two home runs and 13 RBIs. He also compiled a 0.994 fielding percentage.
Senior designated hitter Brennan Dooly from Fort Smith compiled a 0.248 batting average with seven doubles and 15 RBIs.
Other returning position players include senior shortstop Edward Ibarra from Waco, Texas; redshirt freshman catcher Daniel Demondesert from Fort Smith; junior first baseman Phillip Cebuhar from Springdale, Ark.; and junior outfielder Thomas Bogner from Van Buren, Ark.
They’ll be joined by a host of newcomers that include senior infielder Troy Cahill from Bentonville, Ark., who transferred from NCAA Division I Nichols State; freshman outfielder Ryan Reeves from Greenwood, Ark.; junior outfielder Tremarcus Koontz from Mount Pleasant, Texas, who transferred from Vernon College; freshman infielder Max Frazier from Fort Smith; junior infielder Kyle Love from Blanchard, Okla., who transferred from Arkansas Tech; and freshman infielder Cooper Van Kooten from Greenwood, Ark., who transferred from Little Rock.
The Lions return five pitchers from last season’s team. They combined for 48 innings of work but only one start. Senior right-hander Dawson Floyd from Muldrow, Okla., made 18 appearances including one start. He compiled a 0-1 record with a 3.60 ERA and 21 strikeouts over 25 innings.
Senior right-hander Jordan Lawrence from Fort Smith made seven relief appearances and compiled a 4.22 ERA with nine strikeouts over 10 2/3 innings. Junior Korbin Polly from Cedarville, Ark., made 17 relief appearances and compiled a 2-1 record and a 4.50 ERA with 19 strikeouts over 34 innings.
Senior left-hander Easton Stallings from Fort Smith made six relief appearances and compiled a 6.43 ERA with four strikeouts over seven innings. Junior right-hander Ryan McCutcheon from Glenpool, Okla., redshirted last season.
They’ll be joined by newcomers who include junior left-hander Zach Burch from Cedar Hill, Texas, who transferred from Redlands College; senior left-hander Ken Williams from Renton, Wash., who transferred from Oklahoma City University; junior right-hander Brent Holcombe from Cypress, Texas, who transferred from Bossier Parish Community College; freshman right-hander Boston Heil from Bryant, Ark.; and freshman right-hander Zach Ross from Pearcy, Ark.