ETSU places fourth in preseason poll, three Bucs earn All-SoCon honors
ETSU places fourth in preseason poll, three Bucs earn All-SoCon honors
Thursday, February 8, 2018

Cook earns first-team All-SoCon selection, Maher and Simpler join second team 

SPARTANBURG, S.C. (Feb. 8, 2018) – The Southern Conference announced its baseball preseason polls and teams Thursday afternoon, as three Bucs earned preseason All-SoCon honors while the conference coaches placed ETSU in the top half of their preseason poll.

In the coaches poll, ETSU tied for fourth place with Western Carolina at 34 points, trailing only Samford (3rd, 43 points) and co-preseason favorites Mercer and UNCG (58 points each).

The media poll slated the Bucs in 7th place with 50 points, trailing sixth place Wofford by two points. Mercer is the media’s preseason favorite with 119 points and eight first place votes, followed by UNCG with 114 and six top votes.

Senior shortstop Chris Cook (Kingsport, Tenn.) was ETSU’s lone representative on the preseason All-SoCon first team. Cook led the conference last season in doubles (22), total bases (143) and runs (62) while his 91 hits placed second among SoCon hitters.

On the second team, senior right-handed pitcher Ryan Simpler (Lewes, Del.) and senior outfielder and left-handed pitcher Aaron Maher (Brentwood, Tenn.) represented the Bucs. Maher made the list as an outfielder, while Simpler took one of the two starting pitcher slots.

Simpler finished last season with a 3.99 ERA in 14 starts and 90.1 innings pitched. His ERA ranked him seventh in the conference, while his 96 strikeouts ranked sixth. Furthermore, Simpler finished second among SoCon pitchers in freezing up batters with 41 strikeouts looking.

Maher started all 59 games for ETSU last season, batting .324 with 83 hits, five homers, 17 doubles, 62 runs and 41 RBI. Maher’s 83 hits ranked him tied for third in the SoCon, while his 62 runs tied him with Cook for the conference best.

Mercer’s All-American senior catcher JT Thomas took home preseason player of the year honors, while VMI junior righty Josh Winder was named preseason pitcher of the year.


2018 Preseason Southern Conference Coaches Poll

Place   Team (1st-place votes)         Points

T-1.  UNCG (4)                                   58

T-1.  Mercer (3)                                  58

3.     Samford (2)                               43

T-4.   ETSU                                        34

T-4.   Western Carolina                       34

6.      Furman                                    32

T-7.   Wofford                                    28

T-7.   VMI                                         28

9.      The Citadel                                9


2018 Preseason Southern Conference Media Poll

Place   Team (1st-place votes)        Points

1. Mercer (8)                                     119

2. UNCG  (6)                                     114

3. Samford                                       82

4. Furman                                        79

5. Western Carolina                          74

6. Wofford                                        52

7. ETSU                                            50

8. VMI                                              42

9. The Citadel                                   18


Preseason Player of the Year

JT Thomas, Sr., C, Mercer


Preseason Pitcher of the Year

Josh Winder, Jr., RHP, VMI


First Team

SP    Cody Shelton, Samford

SP    Josh Winder, VMI

RP    Robert Broom, Mercer

C       JT Thomas, Mercer

1B     Brandon Elmy, Furman

2B     Austin Embler, UNCG

SS    Chris Cook, ETSU

3B     Caleb Webster, UNCG

OF    Andrew Moritz, UNCG

OF    Dillon Stewart, UNCG

OF    Matt Pita, VMI

OF    McClain Bradley, Wofford

DH    Devin Ruiz, UNCG


Second Team

SP    Ryan Simpler, ETSU

SP    Matt Frisbee, UNCG

RP    Wyatt Burns, Samford

C       Peyton Maddox, VMI

1B     Collin Fleischer, VMI

2B     Reed Massey, Wofford

SS    Tripp Shelton, UNCG

3B     Jonathan Sabo, The Citadel

OF    Aaron Maher, ETSU

OF    Landon Kay, Furman

OF    Troy Dixon, Samford

DH    Ayrton Schafer, Samford


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