Dec. 27, 2012
Cullowhee, N.C. - A first-team All-Southern Conference reliever a season ago, Western Carolina senior right-hander Preston Hatcher was named to the Louisville Slugger Preseason All-America team as selected and released by Collegiate Baseball. Hatcher was a third-team selection, among 80 collegiate players selected nationwide.
Hatcher is the second Catamount in recent years to garner preseason accolades, joining former standout Ross Heffley. This season, was one of just two players from the Southern Conference honored, joining Samford junior outfielder, Phillip Ervin.
Last season, Hatcher made both a team and career-high 29 appearances, tossing 52.0 innings. He finished tied for the team lead with six victories (6-2) and was third in the SoCon with 10 saves - a mark which ranked tied for second in WCU's single-season record books. He recorded 55 strikeouts on the season, tallying at least one punch-out in all but three outings and three-or-more strikeouts nine times. Midway through the season, Hatcher was featured on the official watch list among 45 other pitchers for 2012 National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) Stopper of the Year Award.
Among his appearances a season ago, Hatcher picked up the save in WCU's win over eighth-ranked Georgia in Athens, striking out two in an inning and two thirds of hitless, scoreless relief. He additionally scored the victory over No. 24 Appalachian State with two strikeouts against the Mountaineers.
During the summer of 2012, Hatcher pitched in the prestigious Cape Cod League with the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox. He finished with 18 strikeouts against eight walks in 14 relief appearances.
Hatcher enters his senior season with a 4.74 collective ERA, tossing 108.1 combined innings through 55 career appearances with nine starts scattered over his freshman and sophomore seasons.
Western Carolina opens its 2013 season with a four-game home stand in mid-February, hosting Washington State and Wake Forest to begin play on Feb. 15.