Spartans Garner Preseason Honors, Picked Third in A-Sun

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: David Beall (@jdbeall21),
 dbeall@uscupstate.edu

MACON, Ga. – Following the most wins in Division I program history last season, the USC Upstate baseball team has been picked to finish third in the Atlantic Sun Conference, while Gaither Bumgardner and Chad Sobotka earned preseason accolades after record-breaking seasons a year ago.

After earning A-Sun Player of the Year honors at the conclusion of last season, Bumgardner was voted by the league's head coaches as the preseason Player of the Year and an All-Conference selection as an outfielder.

He hit .376 during his junior campaign, tallying 77 hits and 32 runs batted in. He recorded a team-high 12 doubles and added three triples and 43 runs batted in. Bumgardner opened last season on an eight-game hitting streak and ended the year hitting safely in 11 of 13 games.

Sobotka earned Preseason All-Conference honors as the lone relief pitcher after putting together one of the most dominating freshman pitching performances in Upstate baseball history. He tallied 12 saves, the most in a single season in Upstate history, and posted a 3-0 record in 25 relief appearances.

2013 Atlantic Sun Preseason Baseball Coaches' Poll
Place School (First Place Votes)
Points
T1. Mercer (3)
81
T1. FGCU (2)
81
3. USC Upstate (3) 78
4.
Kennesaw St. (1)
72
5.
North Florida
65
6.
Stetson
61
7. ETSU 38
8. Lipscomb
36
9. Jacksonville
28
10. Northern Kentucky
10

The Sarasota, Fla., native recorded a 1.72 earned run average in 31.1 innings of work and notched 34 strikeouts, while opponents hit just .196 against the right-hander. He was a unanimous Atlantic Sun All-Freshman team selection and earned Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American honors at the conclusion of his first collegiate season.

The Spartans were selected third in the 10-team league with 78 total points, finishing just behind Mercer and FGCU who tied for first with 81 points. Upstate and Mercer each tallied three first-place votes, while FGCU picked up two. The 2013 A-Sun Baseball Championship will take place may 22-26 on the campus of Stetson University in DeLand, Fla.

Kennesaw State and North Florida rounded out the top five respectively, while Stetson was sixth, ETSU seventh, Lipscomb eighth, Jacksonville ninth and league-newcomer Northern Kentucky was picked last in the preseason coaches poll.

Upstate opens the 2013 slate with 13 of their first 16 games at home, including the its season-opening weekend Feb. 15-17, when they will play host to Niagra University, the University of Kentucky and Georgetown University.

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2013 Atlantic Sun Preseason Baseball All-Conference Team
Pos. Player, School
Cl.
Hometown Major
SP Ricky Knapp, FGCU Jr. Port Charlotte, Fla. Civil Engineering
SP Chris Anderson, Jacksonville Jr. Lino Lakes, Minn. Sports Management
SP Tyler Moore, North Florida Jr. Ormond Beach, Fla. Criminal Justice
RP Chad Sobotka, USC Upstate So. Sarasota, Fla. Undeclared
C Corey Bass. North Florida Sr. Orlanda, Fla. Health Science
1B Clinton Freeman, ETSU Jr. Joesborough, Tenn. History
2B Andy Almonte, Kennesaw St. Sr. Moca, Puerto Rico Exercise Science
2B Joe Wielbruda, North Florida Sr. Youngstown, Ohio Communications
3B Chesny Young, Mercer So. Atlanta, Ga. Business
SS Evan Boyd, Mercer Sr. Albany, Ga. Pre-Medicine
OF Tyler Marincov, North Florida Jr. Orlando, Fla Criminal Justice
OF Derrick Workman, Mercer Jr. Acworth, Ga. Education
OF Gaither Bumgardner, USC Upstate Sr. Fort Lawn, S.C. Physical Education
DH Nick Bachlund, Mercer Jr. San Jose, Calif. Economics
* - A tie in voting resulted in a 14-person team
Preseason Player of the Year: Gaither Bumgardner, USC Upstate
Preseason Pitcher Player of the Year: Ricky Knapp, FGCU