HANCEVILLE – Wallace State’s baseball team has three of its pitchers set to join Division I schools in the fall.
Izaac Yarbrough will join the Auburn Tigers, Grant Bennett, Wallace State’s ace during the 2014 season, has inked with Troy University and Alex Hegner is headed to Georgia State.
Yarbrough, a Vinemont graduate, signed with Auburn last November. His sophomore season with Wallace State was immediately cut short in the Lions’ 2014 opener in February because of elbow discomfort, forcing him to undergo Tommy John surgery. Yarbrough finished 4-2 with a 1.85 ERA for Wallace State in 2013. He tossed 48 2/3 innings, recorded 36 strikeouts and issued only nine walks in 12 appearances, including nine starts.
After redshirting in 2013 because of arm injuries himself, Bennett rebounded with a solid sophomore season. Bennett, a Hazel Green native, finished with a 2.19 ERA in nine starts this season, including five complete games. He struck out 68 hitters and allowed only 55 hits in 70 innings. At the plate, Bennett hit .318 in 110 at bats, scored 21 runs and swiped a team-high 10 stolen bases.
Bennett was an NJCAA All-Region 22 second-team selection as a freshman in 2012, when he finished 7-1 with a 2.30 ERA in eight starts, helping Wallace State win 41 games and complete the season as state runner-up.
Hegner went 3-4 with a 2.33 ERA in 12 starts in 2014, tossing a pair of complete games.
Wallace State coach Randy Putman, who reached 900 career wins on March 27, is proud all three have the opportunity to further their careers at four-year institutions.
“It’s good for any program when you have three pitchers prepared to move on to the Division I level. Grant Bennett and Alex Hegner gave us a solid chance to win each time out. Our pitching was good. We just struggled to score runs,” Putman said. “If we could have scored runs for him, Grant Bennett was good enough to have All-American numbers.”
Wallace State baseball also has former players on the UAH baseball team that recently won a Gulf South Conference championship and won two games in the NCAA Tournament.
Former outfielder Conner McCain had a team-high .389 average for the Chargers and added 23 RBIs and 26 runs scored. McCain hit a walk-off homer in a victory over UNA in the conference tournament.
McCain played for Wallace State during the 2011 and 2012 seasons and was an All-Tournament selection in 2012, when the Lions went 41-17 and finished state runner-up.
“Conner did very well after he left here. I’m hoping that some team will draft him and give him a chance. He deserves a shot because he can do a little bit of everything. Conner can hit for average and power and has a strong arm. He hit up and down the lineup for us for two seasons,” Putman said.
Jud Sherrill, another former Lion, had a homer and 13 RBIs in 69 at bats with the Chargers.
Former Wallace State players on the UAH pitching staff included Jacob Croft, who pitched for Wallace State during the 2012 and 2013 seasons, and Ricky Ray Clayton. Croft finished with a 4-5 record and five saves this season.
Tyrone Smith, a former Wallace State catcher, was a graduate assistant for the UAH program, and Zane Cleghorn served as manager after fulfilling the same capacity at Wallace State for two seasons.
For more information about Wallace State athletics, visit wallacestate.edu.
Wallace State Community College
P.O. Box 2000, Hanceville, AL 35077
1-866-350-9722 256-352-8443 direct
Visit us online at www.wallacestate.edu