College Preview

NCAA Division II 2006 Preview




TOP 10: HOW THEY'LL FINISH



W L
1. Florida Southern 51 11
2. Tampa 40 18
3. Tusculum (Tenn.) 44 17
4. Central Missouri State 57 9
5. West Virginia State 44 16
6. Delta State (Miss.) 52 10
7. Franklin Pierce (N.H.) 32 14
8. Grand Valley State (Mich.) 36 17
9. Central Oklahoma 44 15
10. Sonoma State (Calif.) 26 30
Boldface indicates participated in 2005 World Series

NCAA Division II World Series: Eight teams, May 27-June 3 at Montgomery, Ala.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

ALL-AMERICA TEAM
C—Dave Morehead, Jr., UC San Diego (.359-7-55). 1B—Troy Nunnally, Jr., Tuskegee, Ala. (.472-8-62). 2B—Ryan Taylor, Sr., West Virginia State (.436-16-68). 3B—Skip Talarek, Sr., Tusculum, Tenn. (.410-11-68). SS--Garrett Olson, Jr., Franklin Pierce, N.H. (.375-11-42). OF—James Barksdale, Jr., North Alabama (.388-2-40, 40 SB); Lee Cruz, Sr., Tampa (.326-17-71); Sean Van Elderen, Sr., Mesa State, Colo. (.396-19-65). DH—Jimbo Davis, Sr., Catawba, N.C. (.380-17-65). P—Zach Baldwin, Sr., West Virginia State (11-0, 1.97, 78 IP/73 SO); Brent Gabel, Sr., Tusculum, Tenn. (10-1, 3.12); Sergio Perez, Jr., Tampa (9-4, 2.48, 87 IP/81 SO); Rusty Rayborn, Sr., Delta State, Miss. (11-0, 1.19). RP—Kyle DeYoung, Sr., Florida Southern (8-1, 1.09, 17 SV).

Player of the Year: Garrett Olson, ss, Franklin Pierce (N.H.).
Pitcher of the Year: Sergio Perez, rhp, Tampa.

TOP PROSPECTS, 2006 DRAFT

1. Sergio Perez, rhp, Tampa.
2. Garrett Olson, ss, Franklin Pierce (N.H.).
3. Dave Qualben, lhp, Pace (N.Y.).
4. Brad Stone, rhp, Quincy (Ill.).
5. Josh Morgan, rhp/of, Missouri-St. Louis.
6. Nick Waechter, rhp, Western Oregon.
7. Kevin Hammons, lhp, Tusculum (Tenn.).
8. James Barksdale, of, North Alabama.
9. Brent Gabel, rhp, Tusculum (Tenn.).
10. Billy Sittig, rhp, Stonehill (Mass.).

SHORT HOPS

• Florida Southern won its ninth NCAA Division II national championship last year, marking the fourth consecutive time that the Moccasins have won a national title in a year ending in ‘5’. Junior RHP Dan Albritton (9-4, 3.09) and sophomore LHP Ken Wadsworth (9-0, 3.78), the team’s two top winners, return along with senior closer Kyle DeYoung (8-1, 1.07, 17 SV), the College World Series Most Outstanding Player. The Moccasins lost four position players to the draft, along with senior 1B Fred Popp (.344-7-60), who is expected to miss the 2006 season after tearing an ACL in the fall. Sophomore LHP/1B Brian Schultz, a Florida State transfer, will fill in for Popp at first while also taking a regular turn in the rotation. Schultz was injured most of 2005 but went 7-1, 4.07 for Florida State as a freshman. Another four-year college transfer, junior 3B Mike Grace, hit .304-8-32 last year at East Carolina.

• Central Missouri State, which has finished no worse than third in the Division II World Series since 2001 while compiling a 272-42 record, is expected to mount another challenge this year, even though it lost five pitchers in last June’s draft that were selected in the first 11 rounds. Among the pitchers expected to pick up the slack is junior RHP Judsen Smith, a 28th-round pick of the Reds from Phoenix (Ariz.) JC.

• Franklin Pierce (N.H.) junior Garrett Olson (.375-11-42), the only underclassman selected to the Division II All-America team last year, moves from third base to shortstop this season to replace Shawn Hayes, who was the Royals’ fifth-round pick. Olson’s spot at third will be taken by freshman Scott Savastano, a 33rd-round pick of the White Sox. Olson, the top position player prospect in Division II for this year’s draft, has five-tool credentials with power and a 90-92 mph arm across the diamond.