Concord Baseball Picked to Win WVIAC-South - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

Concord Baseball Picked to Win WVIAC-South

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For the first time in program history, the Concord University baseball team has been picked to win the West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference-South Division, as announced in the 2013 WVIAC Baseball Preseason Coaches poll released by the league office Wednesday.

Concord received 11 first-place votes and a WVIAC-high 113 points; 20 points ahead of West Virginia Wesleyan, which was tabbed to finish in second place in the WVIAC-South with 93 points and two first-place votes. Charleston (87 points) and West Virginia State (85 points) both earned one first-place vote. Davis & Elkins (66 points), Ohio Valley (42 points), Bluefield State (28 points) and Glenville State (25 points) round out the predicted order of the WVIAC-South.

In addition to being selected as the WVIAC-North champions, Seton Hill (13 first-place votes and 103 points) was chosen to win the WVIAC Tournament. Shepherd was projected second with 74 points and one first-place vote followed in the top-five of the division by Alderson-Broaddus (69 points), Pitt-Johnstown (63 points) and Fairmont State (56 points). Wheeling Jesuit (30 points) and West Liberty (25 points) filled out the sixth and seventh slots.

Concord's 11 first-place votes is a program-high dating back to the 2008 WVIAC Coaches Poll, the earliest information the league office has on file. Previously, CU received four first-place votes and was picked to finish second in its respective division in 2012, 2010, 2009 and 2008.

The Mountain Lions were also prognosticated to win the WVIAC-South by as well as receiving votes in College Baseball Newspaper's preseason top-25 poll.

Head coach Andrew Wright returns 18 players from last year's squad, including seven players who started at least 38 games in the field and three pitchers who made at least 11 starts, that finished the season 26-27 overall and 20-15 in the WVIAC. The Mountain Lions ended 2012 by winning 11 of its final 13 games.

Leading the returners are junior outfielder Bret Blevins, sophomore first baseman Ryan Johnston and senior short stop Josh Wenger. All three are former all-conference choices. The Mountain Lions' offense will also welcome the return of senior Jacob Mays, who hit a team-high .382 in 2011 before playing in only three games in 2012.

On the mound, junior reliever Will Zuspan was an All-WVIAC selection last season while junior Ryan Weatherholtz, junior Tyler Zimm and senior Devin Smith are all experienced starters.

Concord opens its season with a three-game series at perennial power Armstrong Atlantic February 8-10.