Jun 30, 2014, 9:58 AM EDT
A pair of CAA baseball freshmen standouts, College of Charleston right-handed pitcher Bailey Ober and UNCW outfielder Casey Golden, took their first steps to try make the 24-man roster for the USA Baseball National Team last week in Raleigh, N.C.
The two were both impressively named Freshmen All-Americans following the 2014 season. Ober earned NCBWA and Louisville Slugger Freshmen recognition and was also tabbed the Collegiate Baseball Freshman Pitcher of the Year. Golden, meanwhile, joined Ober on the Louisville Slugger Freshmen All-America squad.
The USA Baseball National Team’s headquarters are located in Raleigh, N.C., so Ober, a native of Huntersville, N.C., and Golden, a native of Siler City, N.C., didn’t have to travel too far for the training camp. Both hope to make the U.S. Collegiate National Team, which will be announced on June 29.
Last Wednesday, in an exhibition game, Ober helped the United States to a 14-2 win over the Wilson Tobs. He pitched the fourth, fifth and sixth innings, allowing one run on three hits with no walks and three strikeouts.
Ober excelled in his first season at the college level in 2014, leading a Cougars’ team that captured the CAA championship and advanced to the NCAA Super Regionals with a 10-3 record and a 1.52 ERA — the best marks amongst NCAA freshman hurlers.
For the Seahawks this spring, Golden batted .269 in a team-leading 223 at bats. He also led the Seahawks with 35 runs scored and was second with 60 hits. Golden was second with 12 doubles, third with four home runs and tied for the lead with nine stolen bases on top of starting 53 of 55 games played.
Just seven of the 29 players invited to the training camp have been assured a spot on the team. Those players include INF Alex Bregman (LSU), RHP Ryan Burr (Arizona State), RHP James Kaprelian (UCLA), RHP Jake Lemoine (Houston), C Chris Okey (Clemson), OF D.J. Stewart (Florida State) and INF Blake Trahan (Louisiana Lafayette).
Golden and Ober are among 22 players vying for a spot on the team. Joining Golden and Ober are OF Nick Banks (Texas A&M), OF Ryan Boldt (Nebraska), C Zack Collins (Miami), RHP Thomas Eshelman (Cal State Fullerton), RHP Justin Garza (Cal State Fullerton), INF, RHP Jimmy Herget (USF), RHP Skylar Hunter (The Citadel), LHP Tyler Jay (Illinois), RHP Trey Killian (Arkansas), RHP Brandon Koch (Dallas Baptist), OF Tate Matheny (Missouri State), INF Mark Matthias (Cal Poly), LHP A.J. Minter (Texas A&M), RHP Andrew Moore (Oregon State), INF Sheldon Neuse (Oklahoma), INF Kevin Newman (Arizona), OF Christin Stewart (Tennessee), RHP Dillon Tate (UC Santa Barbara), RHP Robert Tyler (Georgia) and C Taylor Ward (Fresno State).
Led by manager Dave Van Horn of Arkansas, the Collegiate National Team coaching staff will be charged with the task of putting together a 24-man roster for the summer tour that will feature Friendship Series against Chinese Taipei and Japan, as well as international trips to Honkbal Week in Haarlem, The Netherlands and a five-game series in Cuba.
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