Barton Community College baseball players Alex Evans and Jordan Plank are the first of the 2014-15 Cougars to commit to play on the four-year collegiate level. Both players signed during the fall signing period as Evans committed to NCAA Division I The University of Tennessee Martin in Martin, Tennessee, while Plank is headed to Emporia, Kansas, to play at Emporia State University on the NCAA Division II level.
The closer out of the bullpen, Evans began his freshman campaign pitching eleven consecutive shutout innings of relief. Finishing the season with 46.0 innings on the mound, Evans went 3-2 with seven saves and a 2.54 ERA to earn KJCCC All-Conference Western Division honorable mention honors.
The Mulvane, Kansas, native’s value drastically increased as the season went on and so did his innings pitched, going a then career high four innings to shut down the Jayhawk West Champions Hutchinson Community College to earn his first victory of the season on April 19th. With the region playoff seeding on the line, Evans appeared in seven innings of the four game regular season ending series to help Barton to a four-game sweep of Pratt Community College to move up in the region standings. In game three of the series, in what was one of Evans’ most memorable performances of the year, Evans struck out six in three innings to help earn Head Coach Mike Warren his 1000th collegiate career victory. With the confidence of his skipper, Evans even earned the starting nod in the Cougars’ must-win game in Coffeyville, striking out eight with one walk in 5.1 innings pitched.
UT Martin finished 9-25 last season and will begin a new era in 2014 as seventeen year collegiate coaching veteran Rick Robinson takes over the program.
Plank, a former Class 6A All-State left handed pitcher for Wichita Heights High School, went 2-1 this past season with the Cougars. Appearing in 16 games, Plank started two including an eight inning performance earning his second victory of his freshman season. Plank finished 2-1 on the season with a 3.52 ERA striking out seventeen against twelve walks.
Plank will join a ESU Hornet squad coming off a 42-19 season which included winning the MIAA Tournament Championship and advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the ninth time in the last eleven years where the season came to an end in the NCAA Central Region championship game.