PEMBROKE, N.C. — The old baseball adage of “three strikes” usually means you’re out, but Rockingham native Ethan Baucom is setting a new standard this spring.
The current UNC-Pembroke rising senior center fielder was recognized with his third All-American honor of the year this week, less than a month after earning the Peach Belt Conference “Player of the Year.”
On Sunday, Baucom, who graduated from Richmond Senior High School in 2015 and played for the Raiders, saw his name added to two more All-American teams. He was selected to the Rawlings second-team squad, as well as the second-team roster by the American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA).
Last week, Baucom earned the first of his now three All-American selections when he made the third-team National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) team. On top of all that, he was also named an honorable mention by the Division II Conference Commissioners Association.
“Being selected to just one All-American feels unreal, but being selected for three just motivates me more to get even better,” Baucom commented. “I know I still have a lot left in me. There’s so much room for improvement in my game on the mental side.
“These recognitions are a representation of how hard I work on the field and in the weightroom,” he added. “I enjoy working on my craft and trying to be the best player I can be.”
According to UNCP’s official website, Baucom became the “eighth consensus all-America selection for the Braves over the last 11 years.” Among those players are former teammate Trey Jacobs (2018), current roommate Luke Jackson (2018) and the Braves’ hitting coach Collins Cuthrell (2015).
Helping him earn his postseason accolades was Baucom’s monster statline following his red-shirt junior season. For much of the regular season and postseason, Bacuom led Division II players in runs batted in with 71 RBI, but has since slipped to fifth in the nation.
He batted .306 at the plate and doubled his career home run total, blasting 20 bombs in 48 games (all starts) for the Braves. The home run mark is currently fourth in the nation. Baucom slapped 29 extra-base hits and scored 57 runs of his own.
The summer keeps getting sweeter for Baucom, as he made his debut for the Savannah Bananas last Thursday. The Bananas are a member of the Coastal Plain League, a wood-bat collegiate summer league that showcases top prospects.
In the season opener against the Macon Bacon, a 4-3 win, Baucom started in center and batted third in the lineup. He went 2-for-4 in his Bananas debut, slapping a triple and a single with two runs batted in. He’s found a regular spot in the three hole, and has started each of the team’s five games since his arrival.
“The atmosphere here is like no other,” Baucom closed. “It’s impossible to put into words how great the team and the 5,000 fans at every game are.”