Friday, July 19, 2013
MACON, Ga. – New champions, records and program firsts were all forged in the 2013 Atlantic Sun Baseball season as Mercer finished conference play with a 20-7 record to earn its first-ever A-Sun Regular-Season Title.
The Bears accomplished the feat with the nation’s top defense and one of the most productive offenses in the NCAA. The A-Sun Player of the Year, Chesny Young totaled 105 hits throughout the season – second most in the nation – to become the first Bear to earn the top A-Sun honor since Mercer’s Head Coach, Craig Gibson, claimed the award as a player for Mercer in 1985.
Mercer earned an at-large bid to the NCAA Regional for the first time in program history as the Bears capped the year with a 43-18 record to set the team record for victories in a season.
Joining Mercer in postseason play was ETSU who captured the A-Sun Championship title by winning four games en route to its first conference tournament title. Kerry Doane, the A-Sun Pitcher of the Year, earned Championship MVP honors as he tossed 18 innings in DeLand including a complete-game victory vs. Kennesaw State in the title game. Doane finished the season with 13 wins, 147 innings pitched, 17 games started, a 2.14 ERA, 12 complete games and four shutouts – all of which rank in the A-Sun single-season record books.
North Florida nearly earned an at-large bid to the NCAA Regional as the Ospreys won 40 games; a Division I program record, to finish in third place in the regular season. The Ospreys posted the nation’s seventh-best team batting average (.316) to rack up 686 hits throughout the season.
Joining the Ospreys in discussion for postseason play was FGCU, who finished second in the regular season to Mercer with a 19-8 league record. The Eagles posted 37 victories overall, which included several against BCS-level opponents with a three-game sweep at Florida. For their efforts, FGCU earned a national ranking as high as No. 23.
At the A-Sun Championship, USC Upstate hit two program milestones as the Spartans earned their first victory at the conference tournament with a 6-0 win vs. Stetson and then Upstate snapped a 12-game losing streak to Mercer, which eliminated the Bears from the field.
Kennesaw State made a return visit to the A-Sun Championship Final behind the strength of their pitching staff as the Owls allowed only seven runs in their four victories in DeLand. Starting pitcher Stephen Janas led the way in their first game as he held FGCU to one run in seven innings. Janas finished the season with a 1.14 ERA to set the A-Sun single-season record and rank fourth this season in the NCAA.
Lipscomb earned a spot in the A-Sun Championship for the first time since 2009 and didn’t waste the opportunity as the Bisons eliminated No. 2 seed FGCU with a 3-2 victory.
With both Mercer and ETSU appearing in NCAA Regional play, the A-Sun has now had multiple teams in postseason play in two of the last three seasons.Additional #ASunBSB Notes: • Legendary Jacksonville Head Coach Terry Alexander retired following the end of the season after 23 seasons as the Dolphins front man, which included 10 NCAA appearances. In total, Alexander spent 34 seasons on the coaching staff at JU and compiled more than 700 wins. • Chris Anderson, a second team all-conference selection, was selected in the First Round of the MLB Draft by the Los Angeles Dodger to become the Dolphins’ first-ever first- round pick. In total, 26 A-Sun players were selected in the draft including six in the first eight rounds. • Former A-Sun Pitcher of the Year and NCAA Player of the Year for FGCU, Chris Sale, earned his second-straight MLB All-Star Game selection as the Chicago White Sox left-handed starting pitcher earned the win for the American League by tossing two perfect innings at Citi Field. • Stetson’s Patrick Mazeika, the A-Sun Freshman of the Year, joined North Florida’s Corbin Olmstead and Donnie Dewees on several Freshman All-American teams. The trio appeared on nearly every publications list of the top first-year players in the NCAA. • Mercer's Brandon Barker earned the Atlantic Sun Scholar-Athlete of the Year honor after posting a 3.61 cumulative GPA as a Engineering Major.