Tide ace named All-America

TUSCALOOSA, Alabama -- University of Alabama junior left-hand pitcher Brent Carter (Americus, Ga.) has been named to the 2003 National Collegiate Baseball Writer's Preseason All-American team as a second team selection.

Carter had an exceptional sophomore season in 2002, leading the Crimson Tide with a 10-3 record and 3.30 ERA. The lefty worked 122 innings and allowed 115 hits, 56 hits, 45 earned runs, 19 walks and 105 strikeouts.

Carter set an Alabama single-season sophomore records last year for wins (10), innings pitched (122.2) and strikeouts (105). His 105 strikeouts were also the second-most in school history by a left-hander. Bobby Sprowl, now the head coach at Shelton State Community College in Tucaloosa, still holds the single-season record with 118 strikeouts in 1977.

Carter finished second in the SEC last season in innings pitched and strikeouts. South Carolina lefty David Marchbanks led the league with 135.1 innings, while Vanderbilt's sophomore southpaw Jeremy Sowers led the SEC with 123 strikeouts.

In addition, Carter was tied for third in wins (10), ninth in opponents batting average (.244) and 11th in ERA (3.30).

Brent Carter had 10 wins and 105 strikeouts for the Tide in 2002.

In SEC games only, Carter was first the in league with 77 innings pitched and ranked third in wins (6) and strikeouts (68).

Alabama opens the 2004 baseball season Friday, Feb. 13 against the New Orleans Privateers at Sewel-Thomas Stadium. Season ticket applications will be mailed from the UA athleic ticket office in the next few weeks.

The entire NCBWA pre-season all-America team features a group of standouts representing 20 different Division I conferences.

Rice pitchers Jeff Niemann (17-0, 1.70 ERA last season), Wade Townsend (11-2, 2.20) and Phillip Humber (11-3, 3.30) have become the first trio of starting hurlers from the same squad to earn preseason first-team recognition from the writers' group.

The Owls trio is not alone in their multiple talents (Townsend had five saves out of the bullpen before taking on full-time starters' duties for Coach Wayne Graham's 58-12 squad) on the first unit. Long Beach State right-hander Jared Weaver (13-3, 1.99 ERA, younger brother of the New York Yankees' Jeff Weaver) joins the other first-team starters, along with Jason Windsor (11-2, 1.98) of Cal State Fullerton as one of the most formidable group of selections in the brief history of preseason NCBWA All-America squads.

Relief aces Steven Register (NCAA-high 16 saves in 2003) of Auburn and Huston Street (15 saves, Division I's lowest ERA at 1.33) of Texas team with North Carolina State's Joey Devine (13 saves) as the top closers.

Street is a repeat performer from the 2003 preseason and postseason NCBWA All-America components, while Register returns from the '03 postseason A-A team. Returning first team 1B Billy Becher of New Mexico State leads an outstanding group of hitters on the first team with 32 home runs last season. Becher's .420 batting average also tops the first-team squad-just ahead of returning All-American SS Dustin Pedroia of Arizona State with a .404 norm for the Pacific-10 Conference power.

The No. 1 position players and utility men/designated hitters combined for 103 home runs and 531 RBI last season while Big East Conference Player of the Year candidate Steve Sollman of Notre Dame returns with a .370 average. 3B Michael Griffin, a Baylor junior who also can play the outfield in a pinch, nabbed first team All-Big 12 Conference laurels with Street in '03.

Southland Conference All-America OF Jordan Foster of Lamar chimed in with a .417 average and 71 RBI, while Southern Cal catcher Jeff Clement (21 home runs as a freshman) and Stanford OF Sam Fuld (three-time participant in the NCAA World Series under Coach Mark Marquess) join Patterson and Ole Miss pitcher-utility star Stephen Head, solid members of the select squad from the Southeastern Conference.

Rice outfielder Austin Davis, of the school's first NCAA team champion in any sport, gives the Owls a team-high four preseason All-American selections, on the three units. Arizona State 1B Jeff Larish joins teammate Pedroia and Conference USA stalwarts OF Darryl Lawhorn of East Carolina and relief standout Austin Tubb of Southern Miss among some of the other key honorees.

Princeton bullpen star Thomas Pauly (5-1, five saves, 0.92 ERA in 15 appearances) of the Ivy League and North Carolina State starters Mike Rogers and Vern Sterry (combined 22 victories) of the Atlantic Coast Conference are just a few of the chosen ones on the pre-2004 NCBWA second unit.

The SEC had the most preseason All-American selections with nine, while the Pac-10 had seven and the ACC and Big 12 each produced six.

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