June 26, 2013

Cullowhee, N.C. - Western Carolina landed five players on the 2013 University Division All-State Baseball team as selected and released by the North Carolina Collegiate Sports Information Association (NCCSIA). Senior infielder Tyler White led the way with a first team nod, with fellow infielder Aaron Attaway, outfielder Julian Ridings, and right-handed pitchers Jeremy Null and Preston Hatcher all earning second team plaudits.

Twenty-seven players representing eight different North Carolina Universities were named to the 2013 NCCSIA University Division All-State Teams. Big South regular season champion Campbell led the way with nine players selected, followed by the Southern Conference regular season champion Catamounts with five. Both East Carolina and High Point landed three apiece on the squad followed by Elon, North Carolina A&T and Charlotte with two apiece and one from UNCG.

Nominees for the annual all-state awards were submitted by North Carolina sports information professionals and voted on by the NCCSIA members. For the first time in 2013, the group compiled both a first and second team All-State.

Tyler White was the SoCon Player of the year by the media and was named first-team All-SoCon at third base, batting .363 with 91 hits, 52 runs scored and 66 RBI. He was additionally named to the Louisville Slugger All-America third team as well as an American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA) All-Atlantic Region selection. He collected a WCU single-season 27 doubles to compliment his team-leading 16 home runs. The Forest City, N.C., native was drafted by the Houston Astros with the first pick of the 33rd round (977th overall selection).

Aaron Attaway was likewise honored by the ABCA by being named to the organization's All-Atlantic Region squad in mid-June. The Morganton, N.C., product finished the 2013 season ranked in the top 10 of eight different statistical categories in the SoCon including leading the league with 97 hits and 68 runs scored. Attaway, a first team All-SoCon selection, batted .363 on the year collecting 15 doubles, five triples and 12 home runs - all individual single-season career highs - while starting every game at shortstop.

Attaway graced both the Brooks Wallace Award and Dick Howser Trophy watch lists throughout the 2013 season.

Julian Ridings earned a second team nod after playing in 48 games as a junior, all starts in the outfield including 45 in center field. The left-hander paced the squad with a .377 batting average and finished with 31 extra base hits including 16 doubles, four triples and 11 home runs while also going a perfect 14-for-14 in stolen bases - all career highs. A first-team All-SoCon selection, Ridings also garnered all-tournament team honors after hitting .455 (5-for-11) with two doubles and a home run at Fluor Field at the end of May.

A native of Shelby, N.C., Ridings was taken with the 548th overall pick in this year's Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft, selected with the 22nd pick of the 18th round by the Tampa Bay Rays.

Senior right-handed reliever Preston Hatcher finished his WCU career as the program's all-time leader in career saves, capturing the crown and matching the school's single-season record in 2013. Hatcher becomes just the second Catamount to earn NCCSIA All-State honors more than once, joining former Catamount infielder Ross Heffley (2011, '12). A first team All-SoCon selection, Hatcher ranked second on the squad this past season with 32 appearances, tossing 41.1 innings out of the bullpen. He finished with a 6-3 overall record and led the SoCon with 14 saves on the season.

Named to both the pre and mid-season Stopper of the Year Watch List in 2013, Hatcher made 87 career appearances on the mound during his four-year career for the Catamounts, tying him for fourth in program history. He finished 15-9 overall with 24 career saves.

Sophomore Jeremy Null rounded out WCU's five selections to the NCCSIA All-State team. The right-handed weekend starter was tabbed second team All-SoCon following a season that saw him finish 9-2 with a 3.36 ERA through 14 starts. The Claremont, N.C., native tossed 91.0 innings and struck out a team-leading 109 against just 27 walks.

Null recorded double-digit strikeouts four times during the season including 13 on opening-weekend against Pac-12 foe, Washington State, and a career-high 14 in an eight-inning outing versus Georgia Southern in mid-April. Opponents only hit .240 against Null on the year. He was twice selected as a National Player of the Week by Collegiate Baseball and recorded wins in his final seven starts of the season.

Founded in 2002, The North Carolina Collegiate Sports Information Association (NCCSIA) is comprised of sports information professionals from NCAA Division I, II, III, NAIA and independent institutions from the state of North Carolina. The purpose of the organization is to promote collegiate athletics at all schools. Membership is open to anyone affiliated with a college, university or conference located in North Carolina, and whose area of responsibility lies within sports information.

NCCSSIA selects all-state teams in the University (Division I) and College (Division II, III, NAIA) divisions for men's and women's basketball, men's and women's soccer, volleyball, softball and baseball.

NCCSIA Baseball University Division All-State First Team
SP: Heath Bowers, So., Campbell University
SP: Ryan Mattes, Sr., Campbell University
RP: Ryan Thompson, Jr., Campbell University
RP: Drew Reynolds, Jr., East Carolina University
C: Michael DeLucia, Sr., Campbell University
IF: Michael Felton, Sr., Campbell University
IF: Tyler White, Sr., Western Carolina University
IF: Ryan Kinsella, Jr., Elon University
IF: Kelvin Freeman, Sr., North Carolina A&T University
OF: Christian Wolfe, Sr., UNC Greensboro
OF: Ben McQuown, Sr., Campbell University
OF: Justin Seager, Jr., Charlotte
DH: David Olson, Sr., Campbell University

NCCSIA Baseball University Division All-State Second Team
SP: Jeremy Null, So., Western Carolina University
SP: Brock Hudgens, Jr., Charlotte
RP: Joe Goodman, So., High Point University
RP: Preston Hatcher, Sr., Western Carolina University
C: Josh Spano, So., High Point University
C: Alex Swim, Sr., Elon University
IF: Aaron Attaway, Jr., Western Carolina University
IF: Luke Tendler, Jr., North Carolina A&T University
IF: Brent Graham, Sr., Campbell University
IF: Chase McDonald, Jr., East Carolina University
OF: Clayton Brown, Jr., Campbell University
OF: Ryan Retz, Sr., High Point University
OF: Julian Ridings, Jr., Western Carolina University
DH: Drew Reynolds, Jr., East Carolina University

Previous WCU All-State Honorees:
2013: Tyler White, INF (1st team); Aaron Attaway, INF (2nd team); Julian Ridings, OF (2nd team); Preston Hatcher, RP (2nd team); Jeremy Null, SP (2nd team)
2012: Ross Heffley, INF; Preston Hatcher, RP (1st team)
2011: Ross Heffley, INF
2010: Matt Benedict, SP
2009: Brent Greer, INF
2007: Kenny Smith, INF