The Citadel had a league-high seven players earn preseason honors, with three appearing on the first team and four earning second-team spots. WCU was second with five total selections, followed by Appalachian State with three. Georgia Southern and Wofford had two each, while Elon and UNCG had one each. Eight of the 10 SoCon schools were represented with at least one preseason selection.
Attaway, a senior shortstop for the Catamounts, is Preseason All-American, having earned the nod from Baseball America and the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association. The Morganton, N.C., native was a first-team All-SoCon selection at shortstop last season, when he hit .363 and led the league with 97 total hits and 68 runs scored. Attaway started all 59 contests for the Catamounts last season, helping them to their first regular-season SoCon title since 2007. He was also among the 14 finalists for the Brooks Wallace Award, which is given annually to the nation’s top shortstop, and was a semifinalist for the Dick Howser Trophy, which honors the top collegiate baseball player.
Null, a junior right-hander, shared the SoCon lead with nine wins last season, posting a 9-2 record with a 3.46 ERA, which was good for fifth in the league. A second-team All-SoCon pick in 2013, Null started 14 games for the regular-season champion Catamounts, striking out 109 batters, second-most in the conference. He also walked just 27 batters in 91 innings of work and held opposing hitters to just a .240 batting average. Null was twice named a Louisville Slugger National Player of the Week last season and was the SoCon Player of the Week on April 22. The 6-8, 230-pound Claremont, N.C., native needs just 42 strikeouts this season to enter Western Carolina’s career top 10.
Attaway and Null are joined in the preseason first team this year by teammates Jordan Smith (starting pitcher), Adam Martin (catcher) and Jacob Hoyle (first base). Martin was a second-team All-SoCon selection in 2013.
The Citadel had three first-team preseason nods in relief pitcher Skylar Hunter, outfielder Hughston Armstrong and designated hitter Bo Thompson, who led the league with 54 walks last season.
Appalachian State outfielder Tyler Zupcic, Elon second baseman Sebastian Gomez, Furman third baseman Chris Ohmstede and UNCG outfielder Eric Kalbfleisch round out the first team.
The Citadel had the most second-team selections with four, as Calvin Orth (first base), Mason Davis (second base), Johnathan Stokes (shortstop) and outfielder Tyler Griffin took the honor.
Four other schools had two second-team selections apiece, with Appalachian State’s Jamie Nunn (starting pitcher) and Jaylin Davis (outfielder), Furman’s Alex Abrams (starting pitcher) and Greg Harrison (designated hitter), Georgia Southern’s Chase Griffin (catcher) and Ben Morgan (third base) and Wofford’s Eric Eck (relief pitcher) and Josh Hyman (outfielder) completing the team.
The 2014 season opens for all 10 league teams on Friday, Feb. 14. This season’s SoCon Baseball Championship will take place at Joseph P. Riley Jr. Park in Charleston, S.C., from May 20-25 and will include all 10 teams.
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