AUGUSTA, Ga. - USC Aiken's Travis Howard has been named to the 11-member Peach Belt Conference preseason All-Conference team.
The team was announced by the league office on Thursday, Jan. 21. The team was selected by the conference head coaches and features players from eight of the 12 baseball-playing schools in the Peach Belt Conference.
Chosen to the 2010 National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) Division II Preseason All-America first team as a designated hitter, Howard was a consensus first team All-America selection last season as a junior after being chosen to the Daktronics All-America first team and the American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA) first team as a designated hitter. He was also tabbed to the NCBWA first team as a designated hitter.
The 2009 Daktronics Southeast Region Player of the Year, Howard (Bonneau, S.C./USC Salkehatchie) captured one of the most prolific regular seasons on offense in 2009 not only in USC Aiken and Peach Belt Conference history, but in NCAA Division II history.
Howard, who was also named to the All-Peach Belt Conference first team as a designated hitter, ended the 2009 season with 103 RBIs to tie Jason Jones' (Kennesaw State) PBC record of 103 originally set in 1998. He just missed out on tying the all-time NCAA Division II record of 104 set by Jarred McAlvain of Central Oklahoma in 1997.
Howard's proclivity to bring in runs in 2009 left him ending the year atop the NCAA Division II landscape in runs batted in and runs batted in per game. He is overall in the top 100 in NCAA Division II in 11 different offensive categories.
Howard had an incredible 38 extra-base hits in the 2009 regular season, finishing the regular season with 19 home runs, 16 doubles and three triples. The power numbers helped Howard own a slugging percentage of .694. The only player to be named the Peach Belt Conference Player of the Week three times in 2009, Howard ended the year in the top 10 in the Peach Belt Conference in 10 different offensive categories, including hits, runs scored, home runs, doubles, RBIs, total bases, slugging percentage, total plate appearances, at-bats and sacrifice flies.
Howard had 31 multiple hit games in 2009, finishing the year with 29 multiple RBI games, including four contests with five or more RBIs.
The 2010 USC Aiken baseball team was tabbed as the preseason favorite in the Peach Belt Conference in a poll of the league's baseball coaches released on Tuesday, Jan. 19.
The Pacers received eight of a possible 11 first-place votes to finish at 114, just ahead of Francis Marion (111) in second place. North Georgia is third in the preseason poll followed by GCSU, Columbus State and UNC Pembroke.
USC Aiken enters the 2010 season as a top 10 preseason selection in both the Collegiate Baseball Newspaper NCAA Division II preseason poll and the Ping!Baseball NCAA Division II preseason poll. The Pacers check in at No. 9 in the Ping!Baseball preseason poll. The Pacers were slotted as the No. 6 team in the 2010 Collegiate Baseball Newspaper NCAA Division II preseason poll released in late December of 2009.
The 2010 Pacers begin their season with a three-game home series against the South Atlantic Conference's Lincoln Memorial. USC Aiken's regular season opener will be at 4 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 5 against the Railsplitters. The three-game set will conclude with 1 p.m. games on Saturday (Feb. 6) and Sunday (Feb. 7).
2010 Peach Belt Conference Baseball Preseason All-Conference Team
1b - Seth Kivett, UNC Pembroke
2b - Andre Airich, North Georgia
3b - Jordan Erisman, North Georgia
SS - Barret Kleinknecht, Francis Marion
C - Daniel Pettiti, North Georgia
OF - Bud Lanier, Lander
OF - Alex Montes, Columbus State
OF - Alex Wyche, Armstrong Atlantic State
DH - Travis Howard, USC Aiken
SP - Matt McGovern, UNC Pembroke
RP - Martin Dewald, GCSU