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Diamond Braves grab preseason rankings
By Jonathan Bym
January 26, 2012
Coming off a season that saw the program's first trip to NCAA postseason play, the UNCP baseball team will be ranked among the country's best at the opening of the 2012 season.
Preseason all-AmericansOn Jan. 17, the Braves saw seniors Josh Haley and Braxton Lewis named preseason all-Americans by the American Baseball Coaches Association.
In the same announcement, senior Brad Isom was named one of the 25 "Players to Watch" in the Southeast Region and freshman Jordan DeLoatch was included on the "newcomers to watch" listing.
Last season, the Braves qualified for the NCAA postseason after finishing with a 44-12 record and winning their first PBC Tournament championship.
Looking aheadUNCP will see five position starters return in 2011, including Haley. The all-region outfielder had a .354 batting average with 26 extra-base hits, 43 RBIs and a team-high 61 runs scored.
Haley also stole 29 of his 31 stolen base attempts while having a .982 fielding percentage defensively.
On the mound, two big contributors return for UNCP as well.
Lewis, who garnered all-American and PBC Tournament MVP honors and also was a finalist for the Tino Martinez Award, tallied a 7-1 record with a 0.38 ERA with nine saves in 26 appearances and 47 in nings of work out of the bullpen.
Isom also returns to lead the starting rotation, as last season's wins leader grabbed 10 victories while registering a 3.14 ERA and a staff-high 91-2/3 innings on the mound.
Season openersThe Braves open the 2012 season on Feb. 4-5 when they travel to Anderson for a three-game road series.
UNCP begins its home schedule on Feb. 7 when they host Chowan.