GWINNETT GRADS: Adams, UGA club baseball on roll

Photo by Jason Braverman

Photo by Jason Braverman

Michael Adams and Matt Riccardi don’t play baseball in the Southeastern Conference, but they still compete for Georgia.

The two Gwinnett grads, like many of their Bulldog teammates, mostly from metro Atlanta, have found that a high level of baseball still exists for regular UGA students. Adams, a Collins Hill grad, and Riccardi, a Central Gwinnett grad, are members of the university’s club baseball team, which has advanced to the National Club Baseball Association World Series regional playoffs for the third straight year.

UGA’s team recently took two of three from rival Clemson, improving its record to 21-3 and claiming the South Atlantic Conference East championship for the third straight year.

Adams has played a major role in the success with 41 hits (fourth nationally) and 20 doubles (third nationally). He has driven in 20 runs and has a .582 on-base percentage. Riccardi has a home run and four RBIs in five games this season.


Slaven named all-conference

West Georgia senior Jarod Slaven, a North Gwinnett grad, was named to the All-Gulf South Conference East Division baseball team this week. He is the program’s first first-team pitcher since 2005.

Slaven battled injuries this season and missed a month of action, but was 4-5 with a 4.39 ERA. He returned strong late in the season with a one-hitter vs. West Alabama and a three-hitter vs. Alabama-Huntsville.

Pirkle named top Bobcat

Norcross product Richard Pirkle received the John Kurtz Award as Georgia College and State University’s top baseball player last weekend.

Pirkle also hit his Peach Belt Conference-leading 12th home run the same day he received the honor.

Caldwell ace for Piedmont

South Gwinnett’s Kevin Caldwell has emerged as the ace of the Piedmont College pitching staff as a sophomore.

Caldwell had a Great South Athletic Conference-best 8-2 record and a 2.94 ERA, striking out 61 batters (to 18 walks) in 882⁄3 innings. He helped the Lions to the GSAC championship, which should set the team up for a trip to the NCAA Division III South Regional.

Benson has solid year

Georgia Southwestern outfielder/designated hitter Corey Benson, a South Gwinnett grad, had a solid year and started 47 of 48 games. He hit .298 with 12 doubles, four home runs and a .440 slugging percentage.


Burger named All-SEC

Mill Creek grad Emilie Burger, a sophomore at Georgia, has been named to the All-SEC women’s golf team. Burger has a 74.19 stroke average with four top-20 finishes this season.

Shida seventh at NCAA Regional

Peachtree Ridge grad Billy Shida finished his Georgia College and State University career with a seventh-place showing at the NCAA South/Southeast Super Regional. He shot 75, 71 and 73, but the Bobcats missed qualifying for the NCAA finals by three strokes.


Brown named league’s top newcomer

Wesleyan grad Davis Brown, a freshman at the University of the South/Sewanee, was named the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference newcomer of the year on Tuesday.

Brown had 42 points on 30 goals and 12 assists in his first college season as an attacker. He led Sewanee in points, ranking in the league’s top 10 in goals per game and points per game.

He also was the lone freshman on the All-SCAC first team.

Collins gets honors

Snellville native Emily Collins, a freshman midfielder on Reinhardt’s lacrosse team, was named first-team All-National Women’s Lacrosse League this week. She attended Grayson for three seasons but graduated from Decatur.

Collins started all 11 games this season for Reinhardt, leading the squad in goals (49), assists (nine), points (58), shots (88), groundballs (77) and draw controls (23). Within the league, she ranked fifth in goals, sixth in shots and seventh in points.


Fowler sets school record

Carmen Fowler’s fourth-inning single up the middle Wednesday was a record-breaker for the Collins Hill grad.

The hit was her school-record 69th of the season, topping a Southeast Missouri State mark set last in 1998. She also extended her hitting streak to 12 games and upped her average to .421, also the highest batting average in school history.

Fowler also leads her team with 21 multi-hit games this season.

Osterhaus gets second league honor

Peachtree Ridge grad Emily Osterhaus has been named Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference pitcher of the week for the second time this season, going 2-0 with a 0.54 ERA in 13 innings for Marist.

The right-hander followed it up with victories over Canisius and Niagara to pitch Marist into the MAAC Championships.

Smith named all-region

North Gwinnett’s Kaitlyn Smith, a freshman rightfielder for Georgia Perimeter College, was named to the All-Georgia Junior College Athletic Association’s second team this week.

Smith hit .346 with 15 RBIs during her first college regular season, while committing just one error in the field.


Cole gets coaches award

Peachtree Ridge grad Aileen Cole, a junior swimmer at Louisville, received the Coaches Award at her team’s recent banquet.

Cole helped the Cardinals to their first Big East Conference title, earning all-conference honors. She swam the freestyle leg on two Big East record-setting relays and placed second in the Big East in both the 50 free (22.68 seconds) and 100 free (49.90). She also was sixth in the 100 breaststroke (1:02.42).

Gwinnett Grads is a column that runs on Saturdays spotlighting the achievements of past Gwinnett standouts. Coaches and parents are urged to send suggestions via email to will.hammock@gwinnettdailypost.com or via fax to 770-339-8081.