Wilkerson, Mandarino, Locante earn All-America honors
Monday, June 6, 2011
Wilkerson, Mandarino, Locante earn All-America honors
Aaron Wilkerson was named a First Team NAIA All-American after posting a 12-0 record with a 1.49 ERA this season. (Credit Don Cooper)

LEBANON, Tenn. – Aaron Wilkerson was voted First Team NAIA All-American, Mike Mandarino earned Second Team honors and Will Locante was an Honorable Mention selection, as selected by the NAIA-Baseball Coaches Association (BCA) All-America Selection Committee and announced by the national office this week.

Wilkerson becomes only the second Bulldog to earn either First or Second Team All-America honors twice during his career. Steve Green garnered Second Team accolades twice and First Team honors as a senior.

Wilkerson, a Waco, Texas, native, garnered Second Team All-America honors in 2010 before posting a 12-0 record with a 1.49 earned-run-average in 90.1 innings of work this season. The righthander struck out 90 in 14 appearances with 13 starts and seven complete games, tossing three shutouts. Opponents batted just .179 against him this season. He ranked third nationally in victories this season, seventh in opponent batting average and hits allowed per nine innings (5.58), and ninth in ERA.

Wilkerson set a pair of NAIA records in 2011 as well, tossing 54.0 consecutive scoreless innings from February 19 to April 8. He also won 26 consecutive decisions to end his career, dropping his first start in 2010 and never losing again.

Mandarino put up monstrous numbers despite the new bats in college baseball in 2011. The Massapequa, N.Y., native batted .370 with 19 doubles, 18 homers and 66 RBIs as well as 50 runs scored. He finished second on the club in average and runs scored and led the Bulldogs in doubles, homers and RBIs.

Mandarino, CU’s full-time designated hitter and also a weekend starter for most of the year, also compiled a 5-3 record on the mound with a 4.37 ERA in 11 starts and 47.1 innings of work, striking out 35. He ranked sixth nationally in home runs and total bases (153), 20th in doubles and RBIs and 23rd in slugging percentage (.708).

Locante formed a dynamic 1-2 punch on the mound for the Bulldogs this season, registering an 8-2 record with a 2.11 ERA in 81.0 innings of work. The lefthander posted 118 strikeouts and a .179 opponent batting average in 13 starts with eight complete games and a pair of shutouts. The Memphis, Tenn., native ranked second in the country in strikeouts per nine innings (13.11) and third in total strikeouts as well as seventh in opponent batting average and eighth in hits allowed per nine innings (5.67).

Wilkerson, Mandarino and Locante give Cumberland 59 All-Americans under head coach Woody Hunt, including 20 First Team, 18 Second Team and 21 Honorable Mention All-Americans.

A full list of all of the 2011 NAIA Baseball All-Americans may be found at http://naia.cstv.com/sports/m-basebl/spec-rel/060611aae.html.