WICHITA — Three McPherson College baseball players have been named to the 2018 Preseason All-Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference (KCAC) Baseball Team, the conference office announced Feb. 28.
Senior Evan Willow was named to the team along with juniors Lane Fleming and Matthew Green Players were selected by vote of KCAC head baseball coaches.
All returning 2017 All-KCAC First Team and Second Team performers were automatically nominated for preseason honors.
Head baseball coaches also had the opportunity to nominate other key members from their teams.
The team is made up of 15 seniors and six juniors.
The nucleus of McPherson's 2017 team is back as 10 of the team's top 11 hitters return, including six players who posted at least a .295 batting average. That experience has already paid dividends as the Bulldogs are out to a 12-6 start overall.
Willow, an all-KCAC honorable mention last year, ranked third on the team with a .341 batting average on 61 hits in 179 at-bats. He had eight home runs, 11 doubles, 41 RBIs and a .547 slugging percentage while splitting time between catcher and designated hitter. Willow, who may also see some time in the outfield this year, posted a .978 fielding percentage with just five errors in 228 chances.
Fleming - a second-team all-KCAC pick - led the team with a .400 average a year ago, setting single-season school marks for hits (72), home runs (12) and total bases (119) while slugging .661 and posting a .471 on-base percentage. He also posted a .987 fielding percentage with only five errors in nearly 400 chances at first base. In league play, Fleming hit .398 with 35 hits, eight home runs and 21 RBIs for .705 slugging percentage. He also drew a team-high 12 walks and was hit twice for a .471 on-base percentage.
Green anchors a rebuilt Bulldog pitching staff. He earned all-KCAC first team honors after posting a 5-4 mark with a 4.33 ERA and 61 strikeouts in 16 appearances. Green also led the team in innings pitched (72.2) and complete games (5) and had a save. He appeared in 11 KCAC games with seven starts, posting a 4-2 record with a 3.60 ERA, five complete games and 40 strikeouts. Green was seventh in the KCAC in ERA, eighth in opponent batting average (0.276), and 11th in strikeouts per game (7.56).
After a tough weekend at No. 5 Oklahoma Wesleyan University, the Bulldogs will look to bounce back tonight (Wednesday) with a game at cross-town rival Central Christian College (1-17). First pitch from Tiger Stadium (formerly Light Capital Diamond) is slated for 5 p.m. McPherson continues KCAC play this weekend by welcoming Southwestern College (8-4, 4-2 KCAC) to Bulldog Park for a three-game series. The teams will play a doubleheader on Saturday starting at noon, then conclude the series Sunday with a single 9-inning game at 1 p.m.