FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Headlined by a pair of first-team selections, Nova Southeastern placed five players on the various National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) All-South Region teams, announced early Thursday. For the first times in their careers, Jake Anchia and Andrew Liberty each earned first team nods to go along with Dylan Harris’ second-team recognition. Devin Conn and Samuel Duran, meanwhile, were each named All-South Region Honorable Mention.
Lofty expectations were set for Anchia entering his draft-eligible junior season, and all the catcher has done is live up to the billing. The First Team All-Sunshine State Conference performer rightfully receives First Team All-South Region honors after winning two-thirds of the Triple Crown in one of the country’s premier conferences, finishing atop the SSC in home runs (21) and RBI (62) during the regular season. Of his 21 bombs, nine were hit against ranked opponents, including two apiece versus NCAA South Region Tournament selections Delta State and Florida Southern. Anchia registered four multi-homer games this spring and continues to extend his lead as the all-time home run leader in program history.
Choosing to return for a fifth year in 2018 proved to be a wise decision for Liberty. A vital leader on the club, the center fielder compiled a batting average of .415, which ranked second in the SSC during the regular season, to go along with seven dingers and 34 RBI. He topped the league in both on-base percentage (0.535) and finished second in slugging (0.740), while adding 46 runs scored in only 33 starts. Liberty also continued his traditional success at Saint Leo by recording his second cycle in as many years against the nationally-ranked Lions back in April.
Harris collects his second consecutive NCBWA All-South Region honor after a ridiculous 2018 campaign with the Sharks. In his lone season at Nova Southeastern, the Sharks’ table-setter not only led the SSC in hits (88) and runs scored (67), but just last Thursday became the SSC’s all-time career hits leader, surpassing a mark that previously stood for 18 years. Harris also ranked among the Top-3 in the SSC in batting average (.413) and stolen bases (28), while adding a career-high nine home runs. The Land O’ Lakes, Fla. native enters postseason play on a current, program-record 32-game hit streak.
Conn set the tone for a fascinating sophomore season on Opening Night, and has still yet to look back in 2018. In 14 starts, the electric right-hander has posted a record of 8-1 with a 4.01 earned run average and a gaudy 128 strikeouts, which rank second in all of NCAA Division II and second only behind current Detroit Tiger Mike Fiers for most in a single season at Nova Southeastern. The ace of the staff has racked up 10-plus K’s in half of his starts, including a season-high 15 versus Tampa, with four such efforts coming in his previous five outings. His eight wins are tied for the most by a Nova Southeastern pitcher since 2016.
Duran needed a bit of time to find his rhythm to begin the season, but has since caused nightmares for opposing pitching staffs. In his first season as a Shark, the junior from Melbourne, Fla. worked his way into sixth in the SSC in batting with an impressive average of .392 that has been boosted by a recent 23-for-44 tear at the plate. Along the way, he has collected five homers and 33 RBI to couple with 13 stolen bases. The offensive numbers rightfully overshadow his defensive ability, yet the outfielder has also been selected as a nominee for an ABCA/Rawlings Gold Glove.
Delta State’s Zack Shannon picked up his second straight NCBWA All-South Region Player of the Year honor, with Tampa’s David Lebron and Joe Urso sweeping the Pitcher of the Year and Coach of the Year awards.
The Sharks open up NCAA South Region action in Lakeland, Fla. Thursday night at 6 p.m. ET against Montevallo. For complete coverage of the action, follow the Sharks on Twitter @NSU_Baseball or visit the schedule page on NSUSharks.com.