2018 Baseball Preview: Alcorn State
2017 Record: 12-33, 7-17 SWAC (Fourth in East Division)
Key Returners: Wallace Rios Jimenez, Kirt Cormier, Justin Barna
Key Losses: Daniel Belmont, Jason Sanez
Alcorn State and head coach Brett Richardson will look to improve on its finish in the 2017 SWAC regular season standings in 2017. Last year, the Braves finished fourth in the East division.
Richardson will have a number of experienced players returning for him this season. Among them is 2018 Preseason First Team All-SWAC shortstop Wallace Rios Jimenez. Jimenez was second on the Braves with a .308 batting average last season. He also ranked first in on base percentage (.445), second in runs scored (24) and tied for second in hits (45).
Also returning for Richardson this season is outfielder Justin Barna. Barna was first on the Braves in batting average (.314), first in runs scored (27), and fifth in hits (40) for Alcorn State in 2018.
Richardson will also welcome back catcher Kirt Cormier this season. Last season, Cormer ranked third on the team in batting average (.298), first in slugging percentage (.417) second in on base percentage (.374), and second in hits (45).
One key loss for the Braves in 2018 is Daniel Belmont. Belmont was second on the Braves with a 5.97 ERA, picked up two wins, and led the team with 57.1 innings pitched for Alcorn State in 2017. Belmont was a consistent arm for Alcorn last season, and his production will be tough to replace.
Richardson will need to once again get similar production that his returners had last season, in the lineup this season if the Braves want to advance further in the SWAC Baseball Tournament. Richardson will also need to get other contributions from the Braves pitching staff, if Alcorn State wants to move up in the regular season standings.