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Wayne Cavadi | NCAA.com | March 5, 2019

These 7 DII baseball hitters are off to red-hot starts in 2019

Azusa Pacific Athletics Osvaldo Tovalin of Azusa Pacific baseball.

The DII baseball season is underway and the stats are quickly piling up. Let’s take a look at some players who have defied the cold February weather and have gotten off to hot starts.

Some teams, especially those in the northeast and Midwest, have battled the weather and haven’t gotten to play many games. There is no denying that New Haven outfielders Matt Chamberlain — who has four home runs in his first four games — and Hunter Boag — who launched three home runs in a game already this season — are red-hot, but the sample size is small. 

For this first look of the season, we’ll be focusing our attention on players who have played at least ten games in the first month of the DII baseball season.

Cal Gentry, Georgia College

Gentry had a seven-straight multi-hit game run come to a halt in March, but his start is still pretty incredible. He had 21 hits in that seven-game run, and has 28 on the season, recording an impressive .459/.528/.557 slash line through his first 16 games. He will grind it out, just five of his hits have gone for extra bases, but Gentry can work the base paths and consistently get on base. 

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John Michael Faile, North Greenville

There is a slew of hitters on fire for the Crusaders, but Faile is the most impressive all around. The freshman catcher leads the team in hitting — a team with six everyday starters hitting .330 or better, three of which are over .400 — with a .458 batting average. Ten of his 22 hits have been for extra bases, including his seven home runs. North Greenville is in good hands behind the plate for the foreseeable future. 

Drew Yniesta, Erskine

Yniesta had a very admirable freshman campaign for the Flying Fleet, hitting .305 with eight doubles and four home runs. He’s going to crush those numbers after the start he’s off to in 2019. Yniesta has recorded nine multi-hit performances through his first 18 games and has already eclipsed his 2018 home run total with seven on the season. He also has seven doubles and a triple, making 15 of his first 23 hits for extra bases.

Daulton Martin, Tusculum

The junior infielder is having no problem getting the bat on the ball in 2019, and making it count seemingly every time. He already has 30 hits in his first 21 games, with 20 going for extra bases (a DII-best 15 doubles, one triple, and four home runs). Coming off a .413/.500/.635 sophomore campaign, we know this red-hot start is no fluke, making Martin a must-watch player.

Josh Elvir, Angelo State

How’s a 1.583 OPS over your first 18 games sound for a hot start? Elvir is raking, posting an impressive .980 slugging percentage in the first month of the season. He’s done a bit of everything with five doubles and seven home runs but is also amongst DII baseball’s leaders in walks, his 20 adding to a .680 on-base percentage.

Matt McDermott, UC Colorado Springs

There are quite a few players in the RMAC hitting the ball well early on, including on McDermott’s own team. McDermott gets the early nod because he finds himself in the RMAC top 3 in runs (15), hits (21), doubles (7), RBI (16), and stolen bases (5). That’s a pretty solid start across the board. 

Osvaldo Tovalin, Azusa Pacific

Tovalin had a solid freshman campaign for the Cougars last season, earning himself All-PacWest first team honors. He has shown no signs of a sophomore slump thus far in 2019. Tovalin is leading the team in hitting (.414), hits (29), and on-base percentage (.461) while he’s tied for the team lead in home runs (5) and runs scored (14). 

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