South Alabama’s Swaggerty, Troy’s Crane highlight Preseason All-Sun Belt Baseball Team

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NEW ORLEANS – South Alabama junior standout Travis Swaggerty and Troy senior Andrew Crane were chosen as the Sun Belt Baseball Preseason Player and Pitcher of the Year on Wednesday, as voted on by the league’s 12 head coaches.

The Sun Belt also announced the 14 student-athletes that earned 2018 Preseason Baseball All-Sun Belt Conference team selections.

Swaggerty was named first-team preseason All-American by Baseball America, D1Baseball and Perfect Game/Rawlings, and was a third-team preseason All-America selection by Collegiate Baseball.

The Mandeville, La. native earned second-team All-America honors from the American Baseball Coaches Association/Rawlings last season, as well as First Team All-Sun Belt accolades, after leading the conference in on-base percentage (.484) – which ranked 12th nationally – RBI (60) and runs scored (55), ranked second in batting average (.363) and total bases (125), and fourth in stolen bases (19).

Swaggerty also played in 19 games for the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team over the summer and ranked second on the squad in hits (21) and OBP (.449). He finished third in stolen bases (6) and batting average (.328) while helping Team USA to a 15-5 record over 20 contests.

Crane, the 2017 Sun Belt Newcomer of the Year, All-Sun Belt First Team selection and ABCA All-South Central Region selection set a school and conference record with 40 consecutive scoreless innings. He struck out 42 batters and allowed only 19 hits over the seven-game stretch that made up the streak .

Crane finished fourth nationally and led the league in ERA (1.47), while ranking 22nd in the country in WHIP (0.96) and 33rd in hits allowed per nine innings (6.31). All of this came after he missed the entire 2016 season due to surgery on a partially torn labrum.

South Alabama led the way with four all-conference honorees, followed by Texas State and UTA (3), and Troy (2). Louisiana and Georgia Southern each placed one student-athlete on the preseason all-conference team.

The 2018 baseball season begins on Friday, February 18. The 2018 Sun Belt Conference Baseball Championship is set for May 22-27 at M.L. “Tigue” Moore Field at Russo Park on the campus of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.

2018 Preseason All-Sun Belt Conference Baseball Team
Andrew Crane (Troy, Senior, Starting Pitcher)
Trae Patterson (UTA, Senior, Starting Pitcher)
Seth Shuman (Georgia Southern, Sophomore, Starting Pitcher)
Dylan Moore (Louisiana, Senior, Relief Pitcher)
Will Olson (UTA, Junior, Catcher)
Wells Davis (South Alabama, Junior, First Base)
Jonathan Ortega (Texas State, Junior, Second Base)
Drew LaBounty (South Alabama, Senior, Shortstop)
Jaylen Hubbard (Texas State, Junior, Third Base)
Brendan Donovan (South Alabama, Junior, Outfielder)
Brandon Lockridge (Troy, Junior, Outfielder)
Travis Swaggerty (South Alabama, Junior, Outfielder)
Omar Salinas (UTA, Senior, Designated Hitter)
Dylan Paul (Texas State, Senior, Utility Player)

2018 Preseason Player of the Year
Travis Swaggerty (South Alabama, Junior, Outfielder)

2018 Preseason Pitcher of the Year
Andrew Crane (Troy, Senior, Starting Pitcher)

About the Sun Belt Conference
The Sun Belt Conference continues to establish itself as a force to be reckoned with in competition.  The 2016-17 athletic season showed that the Sun Belt Conference takes a back seat to no other league in its competitive balance and in proving itself deserving of its status as a member of the NCAA’s highest conference tier.


The Sun Belt has gone 8-3 in bowl games the past two years, which makes the Sun Belt’s winning percentage the best among all conferences. In fact, over the past four years no one ranks higher in bowl winning percentage than the Sun Belt. The Sun Belt also had the most wins and best win percentage among the “Group of Five” peer conferences, including victories over teams in the two top-rated leagues in the final computer rankings.

During the recent 2016-17 academic year, Sun Belt member institutions awarded over $50 million in scholarships to more than 3,100 student-athletes, while also providing life experiences such as team building, domestic and foreign travel, community service, mentoring and recognition through honors and awards.

Appalachian State, Arkansas State, Coastal Carolina, Georgia Southern, Georgia State, Louisiana, ULM, South Alabama, Texas State and Troy will give the league 10 football members and enable the Sun Belt to inaugurate divisional football play and stage a conference championship game in 2018. Little Rock and UTA compete as Sun Belt members in all sports other than football.

For more information on the Sun Belt Conference, visit

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