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Buffs have good mix on diamond

Kelly Hodge • Feb 4, 2012 at 12:17 AM

When Milligan College baseball coach Nathan Meade looks around the practice field these days, he sees a wealth of pitching and plenty of experience to work with.

The Buffs have already gone through seven days of practice as they prepare for the season opener Feb. 11 at South Carolina-Beaufort.

“We’ve got a real good mix, and I’m excited about it,” Meade said Friday. “We’ve got a lot of guys who have been around the block a time or two. We’ve got a ton of arms; you can always use more, but we’ve got plenty of depth there. And we’ve got several young guys who are going to contribute.”

Three of the newcomers are likely to be in the everyday lineup — Tyree Jeffries, a junior outfielder who transferred in from Jackson State Community College; Nathan Millsap, a freshman catcher from Dobyns-Bennett; and Brandon Malone, a freshman designated hitter and first baseman from Maryville.

Returnees include infielder Luke Kirk, the freshman of the year in the Appalachian Athletic Conference last season; senior infielder Cory Hilton, who led the country in doubles last season; senior outfielder Ryan White, the team leader in home runs; and senior outfielder Wes Jones.

“It’s an experienced group of leaders, and there’s none of that so-called senioritis,” said Meade. “These guys work hard every day.”

One of the freshmen, right-hander Jake Watts of Boone, N.C., could be a weekend starter right away for the Buffs.

- It has been a disappointing season so far for the men’s basketball team.

The Buffs are the defending AAC champs and the preseason favorites, but they currently stand seventh at 4-8. They’ve lost eight of 10 in the league after winning their first two.

The latest setback came Thursday night at home against Reinhardt, the second-place team. The Buffs had the lead with 10 minutes to go but lost 83-71, spoiling a 20-point performance by Tyler Devault.

Tennessee Wesleyan leads the standings at 10-2, a game up on Reinhardt. Bluefield is third, another game back.

Milligan (8-14 overall) will host Bryan on Saturday.

- The women’s basketball team snapped a three-game losing streak with its 67-55 victory over Reinhardt.

That leaves the Lady Buffs at 6-7 (14-11 overall) and tied for sixth in the conference. They were picked second in the preseason.

Wesleyan also leads the women’s standings, sharing the top spot with Virginia Intermont at 10-3. Montreat and Bluefield are each 9-4.

Senior center Alisha Mainer led Milligan with 14 points against Reinhardt, and Kayla Kelly chipped in with 12.

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