“Each season we look to our seniors to provide leadership for our team,” Head Coach of the Piedmont College baseball team Justin Scali said. “This year is no different.”

With nine seniors on this year’s baseball team, there is certainly no lack of leadership, or experience. 27 of the 32 players on the varsity roster this season are returning players.

Last season, the Lions went into the USA South Tournament as the #8 seed, but were able to win four straight elimination games before ultimately losing in the championship game to LaGrange. After last year’s unbelievable run to the USA South Tournament championship game, the Piedmont baseball team comes into the 2018 campaign with high expectations.

Ranked #2 in the USA South preseason poll, the Lions have a great chance to compete for a conference championship again this season. Instead of putting the pressure of winning a conference championship on his team, Coach Scali says he wants his players to focus on themselves, and how they can improve throughout the season.

“Our goals do not focus on winning the conference championship, even though all 14 teams in the league obviously want to do that.  We focus much more on our process, and that involves specific goals per game that we try to execute,” Coach Scali said. “We know when we take care of our process, the results will be there for us.”

The Lions have a strong core group returning for the 2018 season, including 2017 USA South First Team All-Conference outfielder, junior Brady Ballstadt. Four time 2017 USA South Baseball Rookie Pitcher of the Week, sophomore Sam Carpenter, is also back this season for the Lions, and looks to provide some solid starting pitching for Piedmont this year.

The Lions have already played a few games this season, and have looked strong to start 2018, but no victories have been more impressive than those that came on Friday, February 16th, and Sunday, February 18th at Loudermilk Field. Piedmont beat nationally ranked #7 Birmingham-Southern in a best-of-three series. The Lions won Game 1 of a doubleheader on Friday, 12-3, as Sam Carpenter got the win on the mound for Piedmont. #7 Birmingham-Southern stormed back in Game 2 of the doubleheader and won 7-6. Piedmont had a runner on third base with 2 outs in the bottom of the 9th, but they were unable to bring him home and ultimately lost the game. Piedmont came back on Sunday and won Game 3 in dominant fashion, 17-2, as junior pitcher David Craft got the win on the hill for the Lions.

The Lions started USA South conference play on Friday, February 23, against the Berea College Mountaineers. Piedmont started off the three game series with a doubleheader on Friday. Piedmont won Game 1 on Friday by score of 11-0, while Sam Carpenter got the win and tossed a career-high 12 strikeouts on the hill for the Lions. Game 2 had a similar result, with Piedmont winning the second game of the doubleheader, 14-2. Senior Ryan Stewart was the winning pitcher for Piedmont in Game 2. The Lions and Mountaineers came back on Saturday, February 24th, to wrap up the three game series. Junior David Craft got the start and the win in Game 3 for Piedmont. The Lions won Game 3 15-6, and completed the three game sweep of the Berea Mountaineers.

Piedmont will continue USA South conference play this weekend, as they travel to Raleigh, North Carolina, to face William Peace University in a three game series starting with Game 1 on Friday at 7 p.m.; Game 2 will be played Saturday at 3 p.m., and the series will finish up with Game 3 on Sunday, March 4 at 1 p.m.