June 18, 2014
Cullowhee, N.C. - Western Carolina landed a program-best four players on the American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA) 2014 All-Atlantic Region teams released on Wednesday evening. Senior catcher Adam Martin and senior outfielder Cody Jones were first team selections while junior infielders Jacob Hoyle and Bradley Strong were tabbed second team.
Back-to-back regular season champions from the Southern Conference, WCU was among seven teams in the region with multiple players selected. The four Catamounts honored represented the most by any one school this year - and are the most by a WCU in any one season in program history dating back to 1977. It is the first time since 1992 that WCU put two players on the region's first team.
In addition to the four Catamounts, Davidson's Forrest Brandt - a first team selection - gave the Southern Conference five players on the All-Atlantic Region squads. Elon's Casey Jones was tabbed ABCA All-America, also released late on Wednesday afternoon.
Adam Martin adds the All-Atlantic Region accolade to a very successful season that saw him earn first team All-Southern Conference honors at catcher. He hit a career-high .307 (62-for-202) with 25 extra base hits including a team - and SoCon-high tying - 14 home runs, 10 doubles and a triple. He paced the SoCon with 65 RBI to rank nationally. This season, the Marietta, Ga., native collected SoCon Player of the Month honors in March while amassing eye-popping statistics. In 17 games, he hit .415 with more than half of his 27 hits in the month going for extra bases - eight home runs, five doubles and a triple to add up to a .892 slugging percentage. He also recorded 35 RBI and scored 20 runs in March alone.
Martin, a two-time Johnny Bench Award candidate, concluded his career for the Purple & Gold with 192 games played including 180 starts. He blasted 34 career home runs to rank tied for 12th in program history while finishing 16th in the school ledgers with 158 career RBI.
A 10th round draft pick by the Seattle Mariners, Martin is currently playing minor league baseball with the Class A short season Everett (Wash.) AquaSox of the Northwest League.
A senior outfielder and two-time team captain, Cody Jones joined Martin on the ABCA All-Atlantic Region first team. Jones started all 55 games in center field, finishing with a .308 season batting average. The Enka, N.C., native was the epitome of consistency through the 2014 season, recording base hits in 45 of the team's 55 games (82-percent) while reaching base safely in 49 of the 55 games - or 89-percent of the contests. All told, he recorded 73 base hits to rank third on the team, finishing second on the team with 16 doubles, adding a triple and home run while driving home a career-best 40 runs.
Jones finished his career with 204 career hits including 31 doubles, two triples and seven home runs. He charted a .299 career batting average in Cullowhee and drove in 97 runs during his four-year career.
Bradley Strong adds the all-region honor to a very successful third season for the Purple & Gold. The second baseman picked up first team All-SoCon honors from the league's head coaches and third team Louisville Slugger All-America plaudits at the close of 2014. Strong finished the 2014 season with a team-high .339 batting average, recording 81 base hits to rank second in the SoCon. Among his team-best 81 hits were a career-high 20 doubles - a mark which ranked him tied for 11th with seven others in WCU's program's single-season record book. He closed the season riding a career-long 14-game hitting streak.
A native of Richlands, Va., Strong paced the SoCon with 58 runs scored and concluded the year second on the squad with 53 RBI including a team-high 25 two-out runs driven in. The speedy infielder stole a career-high 20 bases in 25 attempts giving him 45 thefts in his WCU career - 13th in the school record book. He moved into second-place on WCU's career triples charts with his 13th triple, matching Danny Jones (13, 1964-67). He enters his senior season just two triples shy of matching all-time record holder, Martin Barrow, who had 15 from 1995-98.
Strong is currently playing summer league baseball for the St. Cloud (Minn.) Rox of the Northwoods League.
Jacob Hoyle joined Strong on the second team all-region, adding the honor to his first team All-SoCon selections at first base from the coaches and media. The slugger from Hickory, N.C., batted .332 on the season to rank second on the squad. Starting all 55 games at first base, Hoyle matched Martin for the team - and SoCon - lead with a career-high 14 home runs. He collected 74 base hits on the year to rank third on the squad, adding 11 doubles to his round-tripper totals. Hoyle drove in a career-high 53 RBI on the season.
Hoyle became the fourth different Catamount baseball player to garner Capital One Academic All-District 3 honors, selected and presented by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA).
During the 2014 season, Hoyle moved into a tie for first place on WCU's all-time sacrifice flies list with 17 sac flies. All told through three seasons, he ranks tied for 19th with 29 home runs and is tied for 18th with 150 career RBI.
Hoyle is currently playing summer league baseball with San Luis Obispo (Calif.) Blues of the California Collegiate League.
- This year marks the 11th time since 1977 that WCU has put multiple players on the ABCA All-Atlantic Region squad ... the four in 2014 are the most all-time for WCU;
- WCU was one of seven region teams with multiple selections, leading the way with four ... ACC-members Virginia and North Carolina State both had three honorees apiece ... Miami (Fla.), Virginia Tech, Charleston Southern and Liberty had two players each between the first and second teams;
- This year represents the third-consecutive season that a Catamount has made the ABCA's all-region team ... the longest consecutive year streak for WCU is 11-straight seasons from 1989 through 1999;
WCU's All-Time, All-Atlantic Region Selections
1977 - Keith Ebersole (1st), Jerry Reed (2nd), Wayne Tolleson (2nd)
1978 - Wayne Tolleson (1st), Keith Ebersole (2nd)
1980 - Willie Carpenter (1st)
1986 - Pat Riley (2nd)
1987 - Clint Fairey (1st)
1989 - Clint Fairey (1st)
1990 - Grant Brittain (1st)
1991 - Kevin Bellomo (1st), Phillip Grundy (2nd), Matt Raleigh (2nd)
1992 - Joey Cox (1st), Matt Raleigh (1st), Dan Kyslinger (2nd)
1993 - Phillip Grundy (1st), Jason Beverlin (2nd)
1994 - Jason Beverlin (1st), Mike Manning (2nd), Mike Tidick (2nd)
1995 - Jody Henson (1st)
1996 - Alex Tolbert (2nd)
1997 - Alex Tolbert (1st), Jeremy Bruce (2nd), J.P. Burwell (2nd)
1998 - Martin Barrow (2nd), Mark DiFelice (2nd)
1999 - Steve Harris (2nd), Chris Moore (2nd)
2001 - Donovan Minero (1st)
2003 - Alan Beck (2nd)
2004 - Jared Greenwood (1st)
2005 - Steven Strausbaugh (2nd)
2006 - Steven Strausbaugh (2nd)
2007 - Kenny Smith (2nd)
2012 - Ross Heffley (2nd)
2013 - Aaron Attaway (2nd), Tyler White (2nd)
2014 - Adam Martin (1st), Cody Jones (1st), Jacob Hoyle (2nd), Bradley Strong (2nd)