April 24, 2013
Cullowhee, N.C. - Preston Hatcher, a senior pitcher on the Western Carolina baseball team, has been named the Southern Conference Student-Athlete of the Week for April 24, the league office announced today.
Hatcher is the fourth Catamount this season to earn the weekly student-athlete accolade which honors both academic and athletic prowess. The Catamount closer joins women's soccer's Laura Greb (Oct. 24), Clark Sechrest from football (Nov. 7) and women's basketball player Makensey Campbell (Feb. 6) as previous SoCon Student-Athlete of the Week honorees.
Last week, Hatcher made four appearances as Western Carolina went 5-0, defeating Gardner-Webb and Kennesaw State in mid-week action before sweeping Georgia Southern to move atop the SoCon standings. In those four appearances, Hatcher secured a victory and three saves, scattering three hits through five and a third innings pitched without allowing a run. Hatcher limited opposing hitters to a .167 batting average against, working around two walks with five strikeouts.
With his three saves, Hatcher has moved into sole possession of second place on both WCU's single-season and career saves charts. The Atlanta, Ga., native has 11 saves this year to rank tied atop the SoCon rankings and has 21 career saves, just one shy WCU's career benchmark.
A two-time, SoCon Spring Academic All-Conference selection, Hatcher is on the ballot for baseball's CoSIDA Academic All-America with All-District voting currently underway. A preseason All-America selection, he was additionally named to the first and mid-season National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) Stopper of the Year watch list.
The accounting major currently holds a 3.51 GPA.
SoCon Student-Athlete of the Week standard is similar to those of other national academic award guidelines. Student-athletes must have a minimum 3.3 grade point average, completed one full year at the institution and be in their sport's championship season. Nominees are solicited from conference schools' media relations offices, and then voted on and released by the conference office.
Western Carolina (27-16) visits No. 13/25 Clemson on Wednesday evening in the first of five-straight road games for the Catamounts. WCU looks to avenge an April 9, 12-9, home loss to the Tigers, the Catamounts' lone blemish having won 10 of their last 11 games on the season.
Wednesday's game will be broadcast on the Catamount Sports Network with an air time of 6:15 pm online at CatamountSports.com.