MACON, Ga. (Jan. 29, 2014) – Coming off an Atlantic Sun Conference Championship season, the ETSU baseball team was picked to finish fourth, while senior Clinton Freeman (Jonesborough, Tenn.) landed all-conference honors as the league office released its 2014 preseason awards on Wednesday afternoon.
The Bucs, who posted 36 wins and made their fourth NCAA Tournament appearance, went 17-10 in conference play to finish fourth last season. The 36 wins were tied for the third-most in program history, while the 17 league wins are the most by the Bucs since joining the A-Sun in 2006.
Mercer, last season’s regular season champion and NCAA Tournament participant, was tabbed the league favorite with 97 votes (seven first-place selections). Following behind the Bears was North Florida – a 40-win team in 2013 – as the Ospreys racked up 86 votes and one first-place nod, while Florida Gulf Coast received the other two first-place votes and totaled 73 selections. ETSU received 69 votes for its fourth-place showing and Kennesaw State rounded out the top five with 64 points.
Freeman added another preseason honor to his resume as he already received preseason All-America honors by Louisville Slugger (First Team) and the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (Third Team), while also being named A-Sun Pitcher of the Year by Baseball America. The Jonesborough, Tenn. native, who played first base and pitched for the Bucs last season, was named preseason all-conference as an outfielder. Freeman will make the move to left field in 2014.
The 2013 Second Team All A-Sun selection, played in all 60 games for the Blue and Gold as a junior and led the team in batting average (.335), hits (80), doubles (18), triples (4), home runs (10), RBI (57), and slugging percentage (.569). On the mound, the left-hander went 7-1 with a 3.04 ERA (19 ER/56.1 IP) and eight saves in 25 appearances (three starts). Meanwhile, in 22 relief appearances, the southpaw went 6-0 with a 0.65 ERA (3 ER/41.1 IP) and converted on all eight of his save opportunities.
Mercer’s Chesny Young, the 2013 conference Player of the Year, was named preseason Player of the Year, while teammate Michael Massi landed Defensive Player of the Year honors. USC Upstate's Chad Sobotka received the preseason Pitcher of the Year award.
The Bucs play 35 of their 56 games at home this season, beginning with the season-opening weekend series against Longwood on Feb. 14-16. To purchase season tickets, call the ETSU ticket office at (423) 439-3878 or visit ETSUBucs.com/tickets.
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