GREENVILLE, N.C. – With summer collegiate baseball reaching its peak in July, two East Carolina pitchers were named New England Collegiate Baseball League (NECBL) East Division All-Stars and two others helped the Lake Norman Copperheads to the Southern Collegiate Baseball League (SCBL) championship during the month. Senior Seth Simmons and sophomore Tyler Joyner were selected as NECBL all-stars while junior pitcher Lance Honeycutt and sophomore Tanner Merritt helped the Copperheads to the SCBL title.
Simmons was named the NECBL All-Star Team East Division closer and threw a scoreless ninth inning in the 10-0 victory for the East. He has recorded nine saves this summer for the Newport Gulls while allowing only eight hits in 21.0 innings. Simmons has also fanned 33 batters while walking just four. During the 2010 season for ECU, Simmons led the team and finished tied for second in Conference USA with nine saves. He went 2-5 with a 4.39 earned-run average and struck out 44 batters in 41.0 innings.
Joyner, throwing this summer for the Laconia Muskrats, has gone 2-2 with a 1.97 ERA while striking out 53 batters in 45.2 innings. He has started seven contests and made a pair of relief appearances. In his only action last season for the Pirates, Joyner threw one-and-a-third innings against Virginia Feb. 21.
After losing the first contest of the three-game series against the Asheville Redbirds to determine the SCBL championship, the Copperheads came back to win the next two. Honeycutt and Merritt combined to throw all nine innings in the series-deciding 6-4 victory. Honeycutt went the first five, allowing three runs, one earned, on four hits while striking out 10 to earn the victory. Merritt, who picked up the save after working the final four frames, did not surrender a hit, issued only one walk and fanned five. It was the inaugural SCBL championship after the league went to a divisional format before this summer.
Honeycutt went 3-1 this summer with a 4.10 ERA in eight appearances. In 37.1 innings pitched, he struck out 45 batters. During his three appearances last spring for ECU, Honeycutt threw a total of one-and-a-third frames, allowing one hit and striking out two. Merritt finished the summer with a 2-3 record while posting a 3.27 ERA during his 17 appearances. He struck out 34 batters and surrendered just 13 hits as opponents hit .165 off him. Merritt did not experience any action on the mound for the Pirates last spring.
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