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LebCo College Baseball Prospect Tracker: February 20, 2024

By Steve Beard, LebCoSports Senior Baseball Contributor


“You always get a special kick on Opening Day, no matter how many you go through. You look forward to it like a birthday party when you’re a kid. You think something wonderful is going to happen.”

– Joe DiMaggio –

Far away from the snowy Friday evening in south central Pennsylvania, plenty of college baseball was being played in North Carolina and Alabama as Messiah, Alabama, Mount Saint Mary’s, and Bloomsburg opened their 2024 campaigns. Meanwhile, Clarion, Millersville, and Shippensburg played their second series of the young season. And while mid-50s and wind might not seem like baseball weather, the allure of opening day is undeniable, with a fresh chance for players to build a season from the ground up. The tedious hard work from the off-season gives way to the excitement of green grass, sharing a dugout with your teammates (who are often like your brothers), and the thrill of competition. Pre-game jitters transition to intense focus and the in-season hard work and discipline that rival the grind of the off-season. Just like every day can’t be Christmas, every day can’t be Opening Day—but those Opening Day moments seem a little more special as time marches on.



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Gage Miller, Alabama University (Palmyra ’21)  Season Stats  Upcoming Schedule

Following an illustrious career in the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA), junior Gage Miller introduced himself to the SEC this weekend, notching several NCAA firsts. The Crimson Tide hosted Manhattan this weekend for three scheduled nine-inning matchups playing Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Leading off and playing third base, Miller took one for the team in the first, getting hit by a pitch and scoring on an error. And despite finishing the day 0 for 2, he was hit by pitch again as ‘Bama cruised, 4-0 (Box Score and Game Story). Miller would have to wait for game two to get his first hit, but it came at a crucial point early in the game as he drilled an RBI single through the right side to put Alabama up 2-0, scoring on a subsequent wild pitch. It got ugly from there as Alabama won 15-0 in a mercy rule shortened game as Miller DH’d and gave way to a freshman reserve in the late innings (Box Score and Game Story). Alabama got tied up in a Sunday matiness melee, jumping out to a lead then giving most of it back on two occasions. Miller singled and scored in the second and did the same in the third. Following a fifth inning strikeout, Miller launched his first NCAA home run in the eighth, capping off the scoring in an 11-8 victory for the Crimson Tide (Box Score and Game Story).  Miller’s HR had an exit velocity of 94 MPH and went a distance of 368 feet (Video). Alabama plays Middle Tennessee State on February 20, 2024 at 4pm CT (5pm EST) on SEC+ Network. Alabama is now ranked #17 in the nation.


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Amani Jones, Millersville University of PA (Cedar Crest ’20) Season Stats  Upcoming Schedule

Amani Jones used a strong performance in games two and three of his weekend in Morehead, NC to make his case for FEATURED PLAYER HIGHLIGHT in this week’s tracker. Following an 0 for 4 on Friday’s Maruader win over Assumption (Box Score and Game Story), Jones heated up in a game two loss to Molloy. #6Millersville could not capitalize on a 2 for 3 day from Jones as they were upset 6-3 (Box Score and Game Story).  Leading off and playing shortstop in game three, Jones tallied four hits including a double, scored three times, and stole two bases as the Marauders pummeled Felician, 15-1 (Box Score and Game Story). Jones is among the team leaders in all offensive categories. Millersville heads to Glenville WV this coming weekend to face Charleston, Glenville State, and D’Youville before opening at Cooper Field on March 2, 2024.



Austin Baal, Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania (Palmyra ’19) Season Stats  Upcoming Schedule

The Shippensburg Raiders traveled south to Salisbury, NC to face the Catawba Indians for a three game set. Ship was swept in the series, but Baal followed up his game one performance with a nice weekend at the plate. In game one (Box Score and Game Story), the senior first baseman had two hits in four at bats and added a walk in a 5-4 loss. Baal was 1-3 with an RBI double and a walk in the third in a 12-3 loss (Box Score and Game Story) as Ship committed four errors and walked eight. Sunday’s game three 8-5 loss (Box Score and Game Story) saw Baal hit HR #1 for the season to tie the game in the second. He doubled and walked and played error free in the field. Baal leads Ship in nearly every offensive statistical category in the early going. The Raiders host Pitt-Johnstown this coming weekend.



Dylan Beard, Messiah University (Cedar Crest ’21) Season Stats  Upcoming Schedule

Returning from a season ending injury that saw him win second team All-Conference as a second baseman, junior Dylan Beard enters the 2024 season as a middle of the order bat and infield role for Messiah University. The Falcons headed to Methodist University for a three game set (nine on Friday, two sevens on Saturday). As the DH in game one, Beard broke a 1-1 tie in the third with a two out RBI single (Video) and followed it up with a 2-2 tiebreaking two out RBI single in the seventh (Video) as Messiah edged the Monarchs, 4-3 (Final Out Video) (Box Score and Game Story). In game two, Beard singled in the third and swiped a bag, as the Falcons were limited to three hits in a 3-1 win in which they benefited from five walks, two HBP, and two Methodist errors. Beard made his debut at 2B in game three, sliding from sixth to second in the order. Beard singled in the fifth and was the middle piece of a 5-4-3 double play as the Falcons gave away the game late, losing 4-2 (Box Scores and Game Stories). Beard totaled four hits on the weekend that saw Messiah with twelve hits as a team in three games a gorgeous Armstrong-Shelley Field in Fayetteville, NC (Quick Video Tour). Messiah travels to Covenant College (GA) this weekend for a three game set.



Tyler Long, Mount Saint Mary’s University, (Annville-Cleona ’20) Season Stats  Upcoming Schedule

Senior shortstop Tyler Long sandwiched a great game two in between a tough first and third outing as the Mountaineers traveled to Norfolk State to open the 2024 season. Long walked and scored in the first inning of a Norfolk State series opening victory, 8-3 (Box Score and Game Story). Long rebounded in game two, as did The Mount in a 14-4 win. He opened the game with the first of his three walks on the day, scoring on a bases loaded walk later in the inning. Long picked up a second walk in the first inning as MSM ran the score to 6-0. He walked again in the third inning, picking up a hit and stolen base in the fifth. Long used his wheels for a bunt single in the seventh, scoring the 13th run for Mount Saint Marys

(Box Score and Game Story). Long was hit by a pitch and walked in seven plate appearances on Sunday as MSM fell in 12 innings, 7-6 (Box Score and Game Story). Despite a less than ideal opening weekend, anyone who has followed Tyler Long knows that the talent is undeniable and the bat will heat up soon enough. The Mount plays Maryland in College Park on Tuesday, February 20, 2024 at 4pm.



Mason Kepler, Clarion University of Pennsylvania (Palmyra ’21) Season Stats  Upcoming Schedule

Mason Kepler got into the “Palmyra guy hits a bomb” on Friday as Clarion crushed Glenville State, 9-2 (Box Score). Following a two run home run in the third, the junior catcher did not stop there, with a two run single in the eighth. Kepler finished the game 2 for 4 with a run and 5 RBI along with two walks. Kepler returned to the lineup for game three of the series, with one hit in four at bats (Box Score and Game Story). Kepler’s early season .974 OPS is among the leaders for regulars on the Golden Eagles.



Kasey Shugart, Clarion University of Pennsylvania (Palmyra ’20) Season Stats  Upcoming Schedule

Following an 0-2 in game one of the Glenville series, the senior outfielder saw action as a pinch runner in the game two loss. He returned to his spot in CF in game three, with a 1 for 3 outing. Clarion is 1-4 in the early going and play Kutztown (twice), Frostburg State, and Goldey-Beacom in Cary, NC this coming weekend.



Jonathan LaBarbera, Bloomsburg University of PA (Cedar Crest ’20) Season Stats Upcoming Schedule

Bloomsburg was swept this weekend by Barton College, a perennial contender in Division 2 baseball. In a mercy rule shortened Saturday opener, LaBarbera walked twice and scored once as Barton downed the Huskies, 13-3 in seven innings in game one.  The senior infielder was 1 for 3 in game two with an RBI sac fly as Bloomsburg fought back twice from deficits, falling short, 11-9 (Box Scores and Game Stories). Barton ran its record to 10-0 by virtue of a 15-5 win in a game that saw LaBarbera pick up his fourth base on balls on the weekend (Box Score and Game Story). The Huskies travel to Fairmont State this weekend looking for their first win. LaBarbera has hit at every level he’s ever played and figures to rebound quickly as the season heats up.



LebCo College Baseball Prospect Tracker: February 13, 2024



– The Stevens Ducks, Penn State-Harrisburg Nittany Lions, Stevenson Mustangs, Lock Haven Bald Eagles, and Chesapeake College Skipjacks postponed or canceled all games this weekend.

Dylan Byerly, Virginia Wesleyan University, (Northern Lebanon ’23) and Thomas Zeigler, Messiah University (Palmyra ’21) did not see game action this weekend.

– February 24, 2024 12pm: Lebanon Valley College travels to Winchester VA for a doubleheader against #7 Shenandoah.

LebCo College Baseball Prospect Tracker: 2024 Season Preview



February 23, 2024

6pm Central Penn at Mid Atlantic Christian Upcoming Schedule

6pm Mt. Aloysius vs Swarthmore at the Ripken Experience (MD) Upcoming Schedule


February 24, 2024

10:30am Neumann vs DeSales at Methodist Upcoming Schedule

12pm Penn State York at Lancaster Bible College Upcoming Schedule

12pm Penn State Altoona at Mary Baldwin Upcoming Schedule

12pm Penn State Schuylkill at Delaware Valley Upcoming Schedule


February 25, 2024

1030am Albright vs Elmira and SUNY Canton at Gallaudet University Upcoming Schedule

11am Northampton Community College vs Kingsborough CC at East Stroudsburg University

Look for live X/Twitter content **this replaces a series against Atlantic Cape, which folded the baseball program following a cheating scandal in 2023 Upcoming Schedule

1pm CCBC Essex at Delaware Valley Tech Upcoming Schedule


February 28, 2024

3pm York at Catholic Upcoming Schedule



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