2012 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Preview

*2011 automatic qualifier. 2011 NCAA regional participants in bold (2011 records listed; 2012 national rankings in parentheses)

Conf. Overall
*Bethune-Cookman 18 10 36 25
Savannah State 29 23
Norfolk State 9 9 24 29
Delaware State 11 7 26 29
North Carolina A&T 10 8 21 34
Coppin State 2 16 5 39
Maryland-Eastern Shore 7 11 9 41
North Carolina Central 7 39
Florida A&M 6 12 17 40
Projected NCAA Teams (1): Bethune-Cookman.
Conference Schedule: 24 games; begins March 10.
Conference Tournament: Eight teams, May 17-20 at Norfolk State.
Player of the Year: Luke Tendler, ss, North Carolina A&T.
Pitcher of the Year: Jordan Egan, rhp, Norfolk State.
TOP PROSPECTS, 2012-2013
1. Jordan Egan, rhp, Norfolk State
2. Luke Tendler, ss, North Carolina A&T (2013)
3. Rayan Gonzalez, rhp, Bethune-Cookman
4. David Lee, of, Bethune-Cookman
5. Tre-von Johnson, of, Maryland-Eastern Shore
6. Kyle McGlowin, rhp, Savannah State (2013)
7. Bryan Rivera, lhp, Bethune-Cookman (2013)
8. Scott Garner, rhp, Bethune-Cookman (2013)
9. Matt McClain, rhp, Delaware State
10. Scott Davis, 2b, Delaware State
1. Justin Lee, ss, Norfolk State
2. Aaron Jones, ss, Coppin State
3. Yahya Muhammad, rhp/of, Coppin State
4. J.P. Frey, 3b, Delaware State (Tr.—Alfred, N.Y., State)
5. Louis Diaz, of, N.C. Central (Tr.—Monroe, N.Y., CC)

• Changes abound in the MEAC, starting with six-time defending champion Bethune-Cookman. Mervyl Melendez, who coached the program to 12 regional bids in 13 seasons, left for Alabama State; Jason Beverlin, who pitched in the major leagues in 2002 and is a former Tennessee assistant, takes over. The Wildcats also lost the league’s top prospect, C Peter O’Brien, an unsigned third-round pick who transferred to Miami as a senior. The Wildcats do return the league’s top pitcher from 2011 in So. RHP Scott Garner (9-2, 2.48) as well as RHPs Rayan Gonzalez, the team’s top 2012 prospect, and Jr. Gabby Hernandez (7-0, 3.91).

• In other coaching moves, Keith Shumate resigned after 15 seasons at North Carolina A&T, which included a regional bid in 2005. Former Bethune-Cookman assistant Joel Sanchez replaced him, while Jim Koerner took over for Henry White at North Carolina Central, which completes its move to Division I and becomes a full league member this spring. Willie Brown took over at Florida A&M and told the Tallahassee Democrat that eligibility issues and other changes in the program had left him with 18 holdover players, supplemented by 10 walk-ons.

• Savannah State, previously an independent, also joined the league. The Tigers led the nation in stolen bases in 2011 but lost team leader Dexter Kelley (.337, 39 SB), who graduated. The Tigers should contend for the league title right off the bat; they still have speed, led by Jr. 3B/OF Joseph McCrary (.337/.400/.505, 21 SB). The team’s top player will be So. RHP Kyle McGowin (5-4, 5.20, 71 IP/67 SO), a 6-foot-5, 180-pound prospect who performed well in the Atlantic Collegiate League last summer (5-3, 2.80, 45 IP, 43-6 SO-BB ratio). He’s joined in the staff by Jr. LHP/OF Kevin Herlihy (5-5, 5.38; .262/.317/.377, 10 SB) and Sr. RHP closer Eric Ransom (1-0, 5.48, 7 SV).