DALLAS (NCBWA) – With numerous returnees from the 2017 NCBWA postseason All-America teams, the 18th annual National Collegiate Baseball Writers preseason All-America squad offers an inside glance at the top NCAA Division I players scheduled to star in the 160th season of intercollegiate baseball.

There are nine returning first team members, including five pitchers from the June 2017 NCBWA dream team, while the total of 19 returnees from the 2017 postseason squad indicates the depth of star power back for the 2018 campaign. In fact, the composite first team 2018 preseason All-American pitching staff sports a combined record of 58-10 and an impressive overall number of 78 saves by five relief standouts.

Defending NCAA champ Florida has solid representation with first team 2017 All-America relief ace Michael Byrne (1.67 earned run average, 4-5 record, 19 saves in 2017) joining teammates starting pitcher Jackson Kowar (third team, 12-1 last season), second unit starting pitcher Brady Singer (9-5, Southeastern Conference-topping 129 strikeouts) and third team catcher JJ Schwarz (12 home runs, 56 RBI) for head coach Kevin OSullivan·s Gators.

Twenty-two different conferences are represented, along with 11 conference championships teams, 25 NCAA Regional squads, and 13 individuals who were their conference players or pitchers of the year in 17.

One of the key returnees and household names is two-time All-America choice and 2016 Dick Howser Trophy recipient Seth Beer of Clemson. The 16 Atlantic Coast Conference Player of the Year followed up a strong freshman season with 16 homers and 53 RBI for the NCAA-competing Tigers.

On the pre-2018 first unit, power hitting 3B Johnny Aiello of Wake Forest brings back a .328 average, 20 homers and 53 RBI. Also complimenting Aiello on the top squad are Southern Miss outfielder OF Matt Wallner (2017 NCBWA Freshman Hitter of the Year) with 19 dingers, 63 RBI and a .336 batting average. Talented utility player Braden Zarbnisky of West Virginia was a .336 hitter with 12 consecutive stolen bases and a 6-2 relief pitcher with a 2.75 ERA and six saves in 23 appearances for the Mountaineers.

The 2018 NCBWA first team pitching staff is loaded with talented starters and bullpen stalwarts. Besides UFs relief ace Byrne, starting hurlers Miguel Ausua (11-3) of Oral Roberts, Logan Gilbert (10-0) of Stetson, Steven Gingery (10-1) of Texas Tech, Sean Mooney (8-2) of St. John·s, Jared Janczak (9-2) of TCU and the NCAA World Series· third place squad in ·17, and Trey Cumbie (10-2) of Houston form a formidable challenge to opposing batsmen. TCU·s Durbin Feltman (17 saves) and Oregon·s Kenyon Yovan (15 saves) bolster a standout corps of first team relief men.

Middle infielders 2B Nick Madrigal of Oregon State with a .380 batting average and 2017 Southeastern Conference Freshman of the Year SS Braden Shewmake of Texas A&M with a .328 average, 11 homers and 69 RBI in 64 games form a duo with ample offensive output and defensive savvy.Defending NCAA runnerup LSU, affected hard by 2017 graduation losses and professional signings, still features three third teamers in starting pitcher Zach Hess (7-1, 3.12 ERA) along with OF Antoine Duplantis (.316, 61 RBI, 19-of-23 stolen bases) and OF Zach Watson (.317, nine homers, 37 RBI). The Tigers have rated as high as No. 2 in several 2018 preseason publication surveys.

Previous NCBWA All-America teams from 1996-2017 also have featured the likes of 3B Kris Bryant of San Diego, P Stephen Strasburg of San Diego State, 1B Mark Teixeira of Georgia Tech, RHP Mark Prior of USC, SS-2B Rickie Weeks of Southern U., 3B Alex Gordon of Nebraska, P David Price of Vanderbilt, C Buster Posey of Florida State, catcher Mike Zunino of Florida, P-1B A.J. Reed of Kentucky; OF Andrew Benintendi of Arkansas, and 1B-P Brendan McKay (2017 Dick Howser Trophy winner) among others.

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For more information on the NCAA Division I All-America team, contact NCBWA Assistant Executive Director Mike Montoro of West Virginia University at 304-293-2821.