The 42nd Annual USA vs. Japan Collegiate All-Star Series will make its way to Riley Park on Saturday, July 7th, with first pitch at 6:05 p.m., and will bring many of the most talented underclassmen that collegiate baseball has to offer to Charleston for the international event. The USA Baseball Collegiate National Team is currently comprised of 29 student-athletes, which will reduce to a 24-man roster for the July 7th contest.
Two North Carolina natives and NC State hitters are on the current squad, including ACC Freshman of the Year, Patrick Bailey, and Kings Mountain product Will Wilson. Bailey, a switch-hitting catcher, raked at a .321 clip with 13 home runs, 40 RBI, and 45 runs in his debut season with the Wolfpack while ranking among the top 10 hitters in the ACC. Wilson was named first-team all-ACC team this season for his .307 average, 15 home runs, 53 RBI and 50 runs scored. Wilson, a freshman All-American in 2017, helped lead NC State to a #3 seed in the ACC Tournament as a sophomore. Fellow ACC stars include lefty Drew Parrish and right-hander C.J. Van Eyk, both from Florida State.
USA’s roster is loaded with pitching, including Perfect Game/Rawlings first-team All-American Kyle Brnovich. The Elon right-hander posted an 8-2 record with a 1.71 ERA for the Phoenix in his sophomore campaign, striking out a conference-best 147 batters in a league-high 105 innings.
Ole Miss reliever Parker Caracci recorded 10 saves for the Rebels this season, helping match a program record 21 saves. The right-hander was named to Team USA’s roster the same week that he was named a second-team All-American by Baseball America.
Altogether, the national team’s roster has 9 SEC players including Caracci. Three LSU players were invited to training camp in pitcher and Atlanta Braves 34th rounder Zack Hess, outfielder Zach Watson, and Cleveland Indians 19th round selection Antoine Duplantis. Two Auburn Tigers made the list including freshman All-American pitcher Casey Burns and sophomore shortstop Will Holland. Texas A&M lefty John Doxakis will join teammate and infielder Braden Shewmake, working alongside Kentucky southpaw, sophomore Zack Thompson.
LSU Head Baseball Coach and former National Coach of the Year Paul Manieri will lead USA Baseball in the international classic. Eastern Carolina University Head Coach Cliff Godwin is an assistant coach, and New York Yankees staffer and former MLB General Manager Jim Hendry will act as Manieri’s bench coach.
The All-Star Series will feature appearances by former Clemson skipper Jack Leggett and former Citadel infielder and current Louisville Coach, Dan McDonnell, who will meet with fans along with players for pregame autographs and batting practice.
Leggett guided the Tigers to six College World Series appearances and 23 NCAA Tournament appearances during his tenure at Clemson from 1994-2015. He was three times named the ACC Coach of the Year. McDonnell, a Citadel grad who was part of the 1990 CWS run with the Bulldogs as a player, is about to enter his 13th season at the helm of Louisville, already having led the Cardinals to four World Series berths, including in 2007 when he was named the National Coach of the Year.
Tickets to the event and RiverDogs single-game tickets, including options to the Riley Park Club, are now available for the 2018 campaign, the club’s 25th season as the RiverDogs and their “175th season in dog years.” Ticket information can be secured by contacting the box office at (843) 577-DOGS (3647) or online at www.riverdogs.com/tickets.