CHARLESTON, S.C. - Charleston Southern baseball will begin their season hosting Delaware at the CSU Ballpark on February 16-18.
CSU returns 25 players from last season's roster including All-Conference honorees Jason Miller, Cody Smith, Daniel Johnson, and Aaron Miller. The 2018 home schedule includes an opening series with Delaware, as well as home contests with Georgia, Citadel, and the College of Charleston.
In the two weeks leading up to the season opener, the CSU Sports Information Department will break down the Buccaneers' roster starting on Tuesday with the outfield.
Charleston Southern Outfielders
Returners - Cole German, Alex Andronica, Jack Delongchamps
German was a day one starter for the Bucs in his freshman season. Now, as a junior, he'll be the only upperclassman in the outfield. German will certainly provide leadership for this young core of outfielders. Sophomore Alex Andronica will also factor into the outfield picture this year, splitting time between left and right field during his freshman campaign. Jack Delongchamps started the final three games of last season in the outfield and will transition to a full-time outfielder from catcher.
Newcomers - Josh Litchfield, Josh Peters, Derek Horton, Kale Rhame
With the exit of MLB draft pick Chris Singleton, there are some big shoes to fill in center field. In his three year career at CSU, Singleton was a career .286 hitter and tallied 68 RBIs and 27 stolen bases.
Summerville native Josh Litchfield looks to be the next man up for the Bucs. Singleton and Litchfield were teammates in the summer of 2015 on the North Charleston Dixie Pre-Majors team that won the Dixie World Series. Litchfield spent his last two years playing at the Junior College level with USC Salkehatchie. In 2017, he hit .294 with an on-base percentage of .382 and slugged .379.
Another Junior College transfer, Josh Peters, will also be in the running for a starting spot in the outfield. Peters played at Andrew College in 2017 and slashed .306/.412/.382.
Rhame plays football for the Bucs as well and was a two-time All-State selection in high school at tight end.
Notes about the CSU Outfielders
- German had 8 multiple hit games and 5 multiple RBI games in 2017.
- German and Andronica finished tied for the team lead in triples (2).
- The Dixie World Series team that featured Singleton and Litchfield also included CSU pitchers Eddie Hiott, Jamison Mobbs, Cody Smith, and Cody Maw
- Horton's 11 home runs in 2017 ranked him 39th in the NJCAA
- Peters and Horton were both named to a Perfect Game 2015 All-Region team in 2015 and were Underclass All-American honorable mentions in 2014.
Ward on CSU Outfield
"They all had pretty solid Fall (seasons) and have earned a chance to play and compete to be the main guys out there. Josh Litchfield had a really good Fall offensively, but the strength of his game is being able to handle center field from a defensive standpoint. He was a pleasant surprise from the fall. Derek Horton and Josh Peters were two new guys that have come in, played well, and have earned a chance to compete for a spot. Our returners have all worked hard and have earned a chance to compete for those spots too."
Q&A with junior outfielder Josh Litchfield
Coach Ward spoke highly of you and said you've really improved this offseason. What were your steps to improving?
"Well transferring in from a Junior College, getting to know the guys really helped me get comfortable. But coming in every day and just trying to better my craft, whether it be offensive or defensive, just being here on time and taking the advice of the coaches. We've got a great (coaching) staff. They're young, and we can interact with them. I just feel comfortable, and that's helped me improve my game for sure.
What's the biggest difference you've seen between Junior College and Division 1?
"The biggest difference would be the coaching staff. In Junior College, we really only had one coach. But now, there are so many coaches to help you with so many different parts of the game. Like I said, it helps you get better at different parts of the game and makes it more fun. The guys (on the team) are so much different too, being able to interact with the guys makes it so much fun.
What are your expectations this year for yourself and the team?
"We definitely want to make the tournament and go to the World Series. The pitching staff we have is phenomenal. Definitely making it through the conference tournament and go from there. I don't really have any individual goals, I just want to be a part of something special.