Last year, Hezekiah Randolph and Samuel Capielano were a pair of unknown freshmen, just getting started with the UNO baseball team.
After they surprised many in 2014 with their sensational debut seasons, the duo were both named preseason All-Southland selections Thursday by the conference.
Capielano was named a first-team All-Southland shortstop, and Randolph, a Parkview Baptist graduate, was voted in as a second-team All-Southland outfielder.
“For them to do what they did last year as freshmen just indicates their ability,” UNO coach Ron Maestri said. “We’re proud of them. They just have to come and play the game they are capable of and they’ll be able to fulfill those expectations.
“They’ve got the ability, they just need to relax and let their talent take them through it.”
Capielano, who batted a team-best .341 for the Privateers last year and led all Southland freshmen in hits with 70, is the first Privateer to be named a preseason first-team selection in any sport since volleyball player Lindsey Loyd in 2009.
Maestri said he fully believes the former Holy Cross standout can build off his surprising debut.
“I think he’ll handle it just fine,” Maestri said. “When you get honors like that, the worst thing you want to do is go out there and press. We’ve had a talk, and I tell him to do the things that he does in practice and everything will take care of itself.”
Randolph’s numbers aren’t quite as impressive as Capielano’s from last season (he batted .292 with 52 hits), but Maestri said a few injuries during the course slowed the young outfielder and kept him from reaching his potential. Despite the nagging injuries, Randolph was still be biggest bat in the middle of the Privateers lineup, having led the team in home runs (four) and RBIs (31).
Nicholls’ Borne first-team
Nicholls State left-hander pitcher Grant Borne was voted to the first team.
A Catholic High graduate, Borne led the Colonels’ top-ranked pitching unit and finished as one of the top 10 pitchers in the conference last season. He had 81 strikeouts and posted an 8-3 record in 15 appearances. Borne tossed 100 innings, allowed just 33 earned runs, posted a 2.97 ERA and held opponents to a .249 batting average.
Scioneaux makes second team
Southeastern junior pitcher Tate Scioneaux, who earned Southland Conference Tournament MVP honors last season, was also named to the second team.
The only Lion on the two teams, Scioneaux, a right-hander, compiled a 3.02 ERA in 110.1 innings last season. Scioneaux struck out 77 batters and held opponents to a .240 batting average.