By RENALDO DORSETT
IT WAS a strong finish to 2016 for Tevin Symonette and he looks to continue trending upward in his redshirt sophomore campaign.
Symonette and the Lipscomb Bison will open their 2017 season in less than a month when they open with a three-game series against Oakland University, February 17-19.
As a redshirt freshman outfielder, Symonette started in 49 of his 50 appearances and hit .304 with 56 hits. He also posted a .500 slugging percentage with eight doubles, two triples, 29 runs and 37 RBI.
He also had a .389 on-base percentage and stole four bases in seven attempts. In his first collegiate season, he led the team with eight home runs, finished second on the team with 17 multiple-hit games and added 10 multiple-RBI games. He tied for the team high with a 10-game hitting streak and had a career high 4-hit game against USC Upstate.
His highlight of the year came in the postseason when his heroics helped to lead his Bison past the No.3 ranked Jacksonville University Dolphins (10-8) in the opening round of the Atlantic Sun tournament.
Symonette hit two home runs, went 3-5 at the plate and finished with two runs and three RBI on the night.
The 2017 schedule has been projected as a difficult one for the Bison with 11 games against teams which finished 2016 with a top-100 RPI.
They also have eight games against Power 5 opponents and four games against 2016 NCAA Tournament participants.
The nonconference schedule is highlighted by their first road trip of the season against SEC powerhouse Auburn Tigers followed by hosting the Michigan Wolverines of the Big 10.
“We love playing at home and we feel our park is as good and nice as anywhere else in the country,” Lipscomb coach Jeff Forehand said in a press release, “We take pride in playing in front of our fans, so we like to schedule as many home games as we can. Looking at the entire schedule on paper for the first time, it seems to me that we have put together a pretty tough schedule. It is a challenging schedule for us, but as always it is one that we are very excited about.
A native of Freeport, Grand Bahama, Symonette finished his high school career in the United States with Christian Home and Bible School in Florida. In 2014, Perfect Game ranked Symonette as the 229th best player overall and the 49th best outfielder in the nation, the 45th best player in the state of Florida and the 9th best outfielder in the state.
He was awarded the Rising Star Award as a freshman and CO-MVP award as a sophomore and joined the Orlando Baseball Academy in 2011.
The versatile Symonette was also a two-year letter winner in football and led the team in rushing with 103 carries for 689 yards with six touchdowns while recording 53 tackles during his sophomore season.
Some of his other accolades include a two time Perfect Game USA Underclassmen Preseason All-American Team Honourable Mention, rated a “Tier A” player at the 2012 Baseball Factory at the Sanford National Tryout, was named to “Perfect Game Florida” Qualifiers All-Tournament Team.
He is the son of Tellis and Melinda Symonette and chose Lipscomb over UCF, Florida Tech, USC Upstate, Flagler College and others.