Falcons open baseball season with series at Saint Leo

FROM STAFF REPORTS

MONTEVALLO – The University of Montevallo baseball team opens its 2013 season with a three-game series Feb. 1-3 on the road at Saint Leo University in Saint Leo, Fla.

The Falcons will send senior right-handed pitcher Michael Shreves (5-4, 4.93 ERA last season) to the mound for the season opener Friday, Feb. 1. First pitch is set for 5 p.m. CST.

Junior right-hander Edward Brandsema (2-0, 5.03 ERA last season) will start the second game of the series Saturday, Feb. 2 at 2 p.m. CST. Junior left-hander Josh Clemen, a junior college transfer, will make his first career start for the Falcons in the final game of the series Sunday, Feb. 3 at 10 a.m. CST.

Live stats for each game in the series can be found online at www.livestats.prestosports.com/saintleo.

This weekend’s contests, which mark the first ever meetings on the diamond between Montevallo and Saint Leo, will open a challenging 50-game slate for the Falcons during the 2013 season.

Montevallo begins the season looking for its first NCAA Division II Tournament appearance since back?to?back appearances in 2006 and 2007, which also included a stint in the NCAA Division II World Series in 2006, in head coach Chandler Rose’s third season at the helm.

Montevallo made a step in the right direction last season, reaching its conference tournament for the first time in four years. The Falcons advanced to the Peach Belt Conference tournament in 2012 in their first conference tournament appearance since reaching the Gulf South Conference tournament in 2008.

The Falcons finished 16?14 in conference play last season, which allowed Montevallo to finish second in the Peach Belt Conference West Division standings. Montevallo, which finished 25?28 overall a year ago, defeated USC Aiken 6?5 in 10 innings in its Peach Belt Conference tournament opener before ending its season with back?to?back losses to Armstrong Atlantic State and the Pacers.

The Falcons will be led by a pair of preseason All-Peach Belt Conference selections in junior second baseman Will Fulmer and senior shortstop Austin Dubberly.

The 5-foot-10 junior, who was named to the preseason Collegiate Baseball Newspaper NCAA Division II Southeast Region All-American team, started all 53 games and set a new Peach Belt Conference record with 52 hits in conference games last season. Fulmer, a first team All?Peach Belt Conference selection who was also named second?team NCAA Division II All?Southeast Region by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association, Daktronics and American Baseball Coaches Association, led Montevallo with a .361 batting average and 16 doubles a year ago.

Fulmer’s 79 total hits during the 2012 season ranked him No. 5 among Peach Belt Conference hitters and No. 22 among NCAA Division II leaders a year ago. His .361 batting average ranked him No. 7 among hitters in the Peach Belt Conference last season.

Dubberly, a 5-foot-10 senior, also started all 53 games a year ago. Dubberly batted .280 with one homer while driving in 28 runs and stealing a team?high eight bases on nine attempts last season.

Shreves returns to anchor the pitching staff following a successful junior campaign in 2012. The 6-foot-3 right-hander made 15 starts for the Falcons last season and pitched a team-high 95 innings. Shreves pitched two complete games a year ago, including one complete-game shutout, on his way to compiling a 5-4 record on the mound and a 4.93 earned run average.

Shreves, who led the team with 58 strikeouts and issued just 28 walks, led all starting pitchers as he limited opposing hitters to a .265 batting average against. Shreves was named Peach Belt Conference Pitcher of the Week twice during the season.

Following the three-game series this weekend, the Falcons return to action Wednesday, Feb. 5 with a trip to Tuscaloosa, Ala. to face Stillman College. The Tigers advanced to the 2012 NCAA Division II South Region Tournament championship game a year ago.