PEMBROKE, N.C.—For the first time in the recorded history of the program, Carson-Newman can tout a preseason All-American as the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association lauded junior outfielder Tyler Thompson as a preseason third-team pick Thursday.
Thompson, a unanimous all-region selection as a sophomore, has been named preseason first-team All-South Atlantic Conference and was a first-team all-region picked named two days ago. The right-handed hitter has the third-highest batting average of any player in the country returning on the list. He joins five other players from the league that were honored by the organization.
Thompson became the first Eagle to earn a spot on the top team regionally since left-hander Vince Apicella pulled in the hardware in 2016 earning all-region nods from the NCBWA, ABCA and D2CCA. The Gallatin, Tenn. native was the first C-N outfielder to be on the top team in the SAC since Jeff Lockwood in 2010 becoming the 25th outfielder to earn a year-end plaudit. The sophomore led the team with 25 multi-hit games and 12 multi-RBI affairs.
He was the conference's batting champion by nearly 20 points hitting .438, a number that was good for fourth in the nation, on the season while pacing the SAC in on-base percentage with a .528, eighth in Division II, and slugging percentage by over 50 points finishing the year with a .756, 13th in D2, tally. His batting average set the program's NCAA record for a single season passing Shap Stiles's mark of .414 from 1999 to become the sixth Eagle in the Division II era to hit over .400. He started the year 1-for-5 in the opener before rattling off five straight hits. On the year, his batting average did not dip below .422 since the opener with that mark coming in the middle game of the Lincoln Memorial series on March 10. He followed that with three multi-hit games in-a-row. Thompson is the fourth SAC player since 2012 to hit above .430 in a season and first since Wingate's Shane Billings hit .444 in 2016.
Carson-Newman's 2020 season begins on Saturday at Limestone with a 1 p.m. first pitch in a doubleheader against the Saints in the first of a three-game series as the Eagles open the year with four straight games on the road.