FLORENCE, S.C. – Three seniors on the Francis Marion University baseball team are anxiously looking forward to the June Major League Baseball Draft, hoping to hear their names called.......for a second time.
The senior trio of catcher Jared Barkdoll, third baseman Keon Graves, and right-handed pitcher David Walters helped lead the Patriots to a 38-15-1 record this past year, the second-highest win total in the program’s history.
Barkdoll was drafted in the 42nd round of the 2005 draft by the New York Mets, while Graves was taken by Los Angeles Dodgers in the 27th round of the 2004 draft. Walters was drafted by the Atlanta Braves in the 47th round of last year’s draft, but chose to return to school for his senior year.
This past year, all three players earned both All-Conference and All-Region recognition.
“These three players were the foundation of our squad this past year,” said FMU head coach Art Inabinet. “They are all very talented and deserving, and it is my hope that they will be drafted and have the opportunity to play professional baseball. They would be a nice addition to any organization, on and off the field.”
Barkdoll, a native of Greencastle, Pa., batted .386 with 35 runs scored, 14 doubles, three home runs, and 41 runs batted in, despite missing 10 games with an injury. He compiled a .456 on-base percentage and a .992 fielding percentage – only two errors and two passed balls in 44 games – while throwing out 12 of 38 runners attempting to steal. He pieced together an 11-game hitting streak and recorded 23 multi-hit games and 13 multi-RBI games.
He finished his career owning the school’s all-time records for RBIs (162) and total bases (364), while tying the all-time mark for doubles (50) and ranking second in base hits (258).
Graves, a native of Dillon, led the Patriots in hitting (.411 average), on-base percentage (.507), and stolen bases (13 of 16) and shared the team lead in runs scored (50). He also posted season totals of 11 doubles, eight homers, and 38 RBIs. He led the Peach Belt Conference in on-base percentage and ranked third in hitting. During the year, he had a 10-game hitting streak and compiled 23 multi-hit games and 10 multi-RBI games.
Walters, a native of River Hill, Md., led the Patriot pitching staff with 15 starts, while posting a 7-3 record and a 5.97 ERA. He fanned 55 batters in 72.1 innings, while walking only 23.
Only nine base runners attempted to steal while he was on the mound, and four of those were unsuccessful. Defensively, he did not commit an error in 22 fielding chances en route to earning a Rawlings Gold Glove award for the Southeast Region.
The 2009 FMU squad finished second during the PBC regular season, won the Peach Belt Tournament title, and earned their fourth NCAA Division II national tournament bid in the past seven years, placing third at the Southeast Regional in Aiken last week. The Patriots are currently ranked 14th in the latest Collegiate Baseball Magazine NCAA Division II Top 30 poll.