The Southern Conferences baseball coaches think that Appalachian State University will be a contender for its second SoCon championship in three years, as Appalachian State was picked third in the leagues
2014 preseason poll, the conference announced on Thursday. The Mountaineers were picked to finish fifth by the media.
The SoCon coaches also tabbed three Mountaineers as preseason all-conference honorees first-team outfielder Tyler Zupcic (Charlotte, N.C./Providence) and second-team pitcher Jamie Nunn (Winston-Salem, N.C./Mount Tabor) and outfielder Jaylin Davis (McLeansville, N.C./Northeast Guilford).
Appalachian placed third in the coaches preseason voting behind defending regular-season champion Western Carolina, which received seven of the 10 first-place votes, and The Citadel, which hosts the 2014 SoCon Tournament and grabbed the remaining three first-place nods.
Zupcic earned first-team preseason all-conference recognition despite having not seen game action in over 20 months. The fifth-year senior sustained a severe knee injury during Appalachian States 5-4 win over Oklahoma in the opening game of the 2012 NCAA Regional in Charlottesville, Va. and missed the entire 2013 campaign. He hit .338 with 17 doubles and 12 stolen bases as a junior in 2012 to help lead the Mountaineers to their first SoCon championship in 25 years and within three victories of the programs first-ever berth in the College World Series.
Nunn was tabbed as a second-team preseason honoree despite being a first-team selection as a sophomore last season, when he tied for the most wins in the SoCon with nine and ranked 10th in the league in opponents batting average (.255) and 11th in strikeouts (77).
Davis was a freshman all-American in 2012 after hitting .257 with 12 doubles, four triples, four home runs, 36 RBI and 12 stolen bases in his first collegiate campaign.
In addition to the third-place nod from the leagues coaches, Appalachian was picked to finish fifth in the SoCon media poll, behind WCU, The Citadel, Georgia Southern and Elon.
The Mountaineers open the 2014 campaign next weekend with a three-game series at No. 25 Arkansas. The season opener is set for Friday, Feb. 14 at 4 p.m. ET.
2014 Preseason Southern Conference Coaches Poll
Place Team (1st-place votes) Points
1. Western Carolina (7) 78
2. The Citadel (3) 75
3. Appalachian State 60
4. Elon 59
5. Georgia Southern 48
6. Furman 38
7. Samford 35
8. UNCG 30
9. Wofford 15
10. Davidson 12
2014 Preseason Southern Conference Media Poll
Place Team (1st-place votes) Points
1. Western Carolina (13) 167
2. The Citadel (2) 149
3. Georgia Southern (2) 131
4. Elon (1) 130
5. Appalachian State 119
6. Samford 97
7. Furman 77
8. UNCG 60
9. Davidson 31
10. Wofford 29
2014 Preseason All-Southern Conference
Preseason Player of the Year
Aaron Attaway, Sr., SS, Western Carolina
Preseason Pitcher of the Year
Jeremy Null, Jr., RHP, Western Carolina
SP Jeremy Null, Western Carolina
SP Jordan Smith, Western Carolina
RP Skylar Hunter, The Citadel
C Adam Martin, Western Carolina
1B Jacob Hoyle, Western Carolina
2B Sebastian Gomez, Elon
SS Aaron Attaway, Western Carolina
3B Chris Ohmstede, Furman
OF Tyler Zupcic, Appalachian State
OF Hughston Armstrong, The Citadel
OF Eric Kalbfleisch, UNCG
DH Bo Thompson, The Citadel
SP Jamie Nunn, Appalachian State
SP Alex Abrams, Furman
RP Eric Eck, Wofford
C Chase Griffin, Georgia Southern
1B Calvin Orth, The Citadel
2B Mason Davis, The Citadel
SS Johnathan Stokes, The Citadel
3B Ben Morgan, Georgia Southern
OF Jaylin Davis, Appalachian State
OF Tyler Griffin, The Citadel
OF Josh Hyman, Wofford
DH Greg Harrison, Furman
Photo Courtesy: Tyler Zupcic, ASU Athletics