Greenville, S.C. – Western Carolina sophomore second baseman Will Prater was named to the Southern Conference All-Tournament team as voted by members of the media following Sunday’s conclusion of the 2019 SoCon Baseball Championship presented by Holston Gases at Fluor Field.
This year marks the 16th year since 1990 that WCU has put a player on the all-tournament team at the conclusion of the conference’s champion-crowning event.
Prater (4-for-12, .333) finished tied for second on the team with four base hits including a double with a sacrifice bunt and a total of four RBI. Defensively, he was also an instrumental part of turning two double-plays with freshman shortstop Jalen Jones. Opening his tournament with a 3-for-4 outing with two RBI and a double against The Citadel, the Dallas, Ga., native was instrumental in pushing the Catamounts into the double-elimination portion of the tournament with Tuesday’s 7-3 win.
Prater added to his memorable moments as he came through in Thursday morning’s elimination game against Furman, delivering a two-RBI single up the middle during the two-out seventh-inning rally that put WCU ahead, 7-6, after falling behind 6-0 over the first six frames.
Prater finished the season batting .282 with a career-best 58 hits including 10 doubles, three triples and his first collegiate homerun with 23 RBI.
Seeing most of his action at first-base, Justin Sparks led the Catamounts over its three games at the conference tournament with a .556 batting average, finishing 5-for-9 with a pair of walks and two HBP while collecting a team-best five RBI. Junior Luke Robinson had the squad’s best slugging percentage, legging out a double, a triple and hitting one of the team’s two home runs.
Advancing out of the loser’s bracket and into championship Sunday after eliminating top-seeded Samford, avenging a shutout loss earlier in the tournament, No. 4 Mercer claimed the SoCon’s automatic bid to the 73rd NCAA Championship field by virtue of its 9-5 win over No. 2 Wofford. The Bears learn their destination with Monday’s selection show on ESPNU at Noon.
Selected by position, tournament-champion Mercer put four players on the 12-member post-tournament squad including the Walt Nadzak Most Outstanding Player in freshman third baseman, Trevor Austin. Runner-up Wofford landed two while regular-season champion, Samford, matched Mercer with four honorees while Furman and WCU both had one selection.
Western Carolina finished the season 21-32 overall, winning its single-elimination game against The Citadel in the 2019 SoCon Championship before nearly upsetting top-seeded Samford before bowing out to fifth-seeded Furman despite erasing a six-run deficit to lead in the latter stages.
SP – Jackson Kelley, Mercer
SP – Jesse McCord, Samford
RP – Reece Maniscalco, Wofford
C – Alex Crotty, Mercer
1B – Sonny DiChiara, Samford
2B – Will Prater, Western Carolina
SS – Branden Fryman, Samford
3B – Trevor Austin, Mercer
OF – Collin Price, Mercer
OF – Jordan Fucci, Samford
OF – Mike Brown, Wofford
DH – John Michael Boswell, Furman
Walt Nadzak Most Outstanding Player
Trevor Austin, Mercer, Fr., 3B
Pinnacle Award (highest GPA on championship-winning team)
Andrew Kane, Mercer, Jr., RHP