SoCon baseball coach pick App State to finish third
by Staff Reports
SPARTANBURG, S.C. -- The Southern Conference's baseball coaches think that Appalachian State will be a contender for its second SoCon championship in three years, as Appalachian State was picked third in the league's 2014 preseason poll Thursday.
The SoCon coaches also tabbed three Mountaineers as preseason all-conference honorees -- first-team outfielder Tyler Zupcic and second-team pitcher Jamie Nunn and outfielder Jaylin Davis.
Appalachian placed third in the coaches' preseason voting behind defending regular-season champion Western Carolina, which received seven of the 10 first-place votes. The Citadel, which hosts the 2014 SoCon Tournament, was picked second after grabbing the remaining three first-place nods.
The Mountaineers open the 2014 campaign Feb. 14 with a three-game series at No. 25 Arkansas.
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 State's 5-4 win over Oklahoma in the opening game of the 2012 NCAA Regional in Charlottesville, Va. and missed the entire 2013 campaign.
Zupcic 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 program's 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. Nunn 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 league's coaches, Appalachian was picked to finish fifth in the SoCon media poll, behind Western Carolina, The Citadel, Georgia Southern and Elon.