Appalachian State University baseball begins the 2017 season this weekend as it heads to UNC Wilmington for a four-team tournament: the Hughes Bros. Challenge.
The Mountaineers open the season versus VMI on Friday at noon. App State then faces George Mason at 10 a.m. on Saturday before a night-cap against VMI at 6 p.m. The Black and Gold close out the tournament and weekend by playing host-team UNC Wilmington on Sunday at 2 p.m.
NOTING THIS WEEKEND'S TOURNAMENT
• Appalachian State baseball begins its new era under head coach Kermit Smith this weekend, going against VMI, George Mason and hosting UNC Wilmington.
• Last season, VMI went 21-35 overall and a 4-20 record in the Southern Conference, finishing ninth overall.
• Coming into this season, the Keydets were picked to finish eighth in the SoCon.
• Leading the Keydets offensive last year was Matt Pita who batted .322 with a .592 slugging, for 68 hits, 40 RBI and 48 runs scored. Pita led the team in total bases with 125.
• From the mound, VMI held fast with a Jack Gomersall and Josh Winder combination. Gomersall led all with a 4.42 ERA while Winder flashed an cool 4.80 ERA. Winder will be the first pitcher that Appalachian State sees in the 2017 season.
• Last year, George Mason went 19-35 overall and 7-17 in the Atlantic 10 Conference, finishing 12th overall.
• The Patriots were picked 10th in the 2017 preseason A-10 poll, hoping to leverage a young group of seven newcomers into some much needed wins.
• Brady Acker returns to the lineup with George Mason after leading it in batting average (.352), slugging percentage (.519), while the Patriots’ hit leader Michael Smith also returns this year.
• The ace on the mound for George Mason was Zach Mort, who led the way with a 2.55 ERA and eight saves on the season.
• Last year the UNCW went 41-19 and 16-6 in the Colonial Athletic Conference. The Seahawks made it to the NCAA Columbia Regional where they downed Duke and Rhode Island, but fell to South Carolina twice.
• With seven position players returning and three starting pitchers back in the bullpen, UNCW is poised to make another run with veteran leadership.
• Leading the Seahawks in batting last season was Steven Linkous and Brian Mims, each hitting .374 and .371, respectively. Linkous led the team in runs scored at 78, but Mims let the team in hits at 96.
• Nick Feight shined as a 91 RBI and 21 homer guy for UNCW in 2016, also leading the team in doubles at 24 on the season.
• On the mound for the Seahawks last season was Ryan Foster and Alex Royalty. With Foster graduated and Royalty pitching earlier in the weekend, the Mountaineers will face redshirt sophomore Logan Beehler. The RHP hasn’t made an appearance after transferring to UNCW from Pitt Community College last year.
|APPALACHIAN STATE BASEBALL at UNCW Tournament
App State Probable
|Friday, Feb. 17||VMI||12:00 p.m.||Jr. RHP Travis Holden||So. RHP Josh Winder|
|Saturday, Feb. 18||George Mason||10:00 a.m.||So. LHP Colin Schmid||Jr. RHP Joel Kuhnel|
|Saturday, Feb. 18||VMI||6 p.m.||So. LHP Bobby Hampton||Jr. LHP Brandon Barbery|
|Sunday, Feb. 19||UNC Wilmington||2:00 p.m.||Jr. RHP Luke Watts||So. RHP Logan Beehler|