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ASU Baseball Coach Named SoCon Coach of the Year

Chris Pollard. Photo by Dave Mayo and courtesy of Appalachian Sports Information

May 22, 2012. Head coach Chris Pollard was tabbed as the Southern Conference Coach of the Year, six Appalachian State University players received all-conference accolades and two garnered all-freshman recognition in the 2012 SoCon postseason baseball awards as voted on by the league’s coaches on Monday.

In addition to Pollard becoming Appalachian State’s first SoCon Coach of the Year in 28 years, shortstop Will Callaway (Greenville, S.C./Eastside) and designated hitter Daniel Kassouf (Lexington, N.C./North Davidson) earned first-team all-SoCon honors while starting pitcher Ryan Arrowood (Rutherfordton, N.C./R-S Central), second baseman Hector Crespo (Miami, Fla./Florida Christian) and outfielders Tyler Tewell (Charlotte, N.C./Butler) and Tyler Zupcic (Charlotte, N.C./Providence) received second-team accolades. Additionally, outfielder Brandon Burris (Concord, N.C./Mount Pleasant) and pitcher Jamie Nunn (Winston-Salem, N.C./Mount Tabor) were tabbed to the SoCon’s 12-member all-freshman squad.

After leading the Mountaineers to their first SoCon championship in 25 years, Pollard becomes Appalachian’s first SoCon Coach of the Year since Jim Morris received the honor in 1984 and the only the third Mountaineer skipper to win the award in ASU’s 40 years in the league (Frank Lovrich in 1973 being the other). 

Pollard’s Apps were picked to fifth by the media and sixth by the league’s coaches in the preseason SoCon polls but went on to finish the regular season with a 38-14 overall mark and 21-9 record in conference play, good for the program’s first SoCon title since 1987. Appalachian burst on the national scene by winning 2-of-3 games at eventual Southeastern Conference champion LSU in February and spent four weeks in the national rankings, coming in as high as No. 24 nationally in last week’s Baseball America poll. 

The championship campaign comes in Pollard’s eighth season at Appalachian. The Mountaineers won just 10 games the season prior to his arrival (2004) and again in Pollard’s first season at the helm but have won 30-plus games in each of the last six campaigns. He is the second-winningest coach in Appalachian history with a 241-206-2 record.

In addition to Pollard’s recognition, the six Mountaineers to earn all-conference accolades are Appalachian’s most since seven Apps were named all-SoCon in 1989. 

Arrowood represents a sterling ASU pitching staff on the coaches’ all-conference squads after posting a perfect 9-0 regular-season record and 3.93 ERA. The five Mountaineer position players that received all-SoCon recognition from the coaches are hitting a combined .342 with 71 doubles, 11 triples, 32 home runs, 202 RBI and 250 runs scored between them.

The SoCon will announce the media all-conference teams and individual awards on Tuesday. 

Top-seeded Appalachian opens SoCon Tournament action on Wednesday at 5 p.m. when it plays No. 8 seed Furman (26-29, 13-17 SoCon). The entire tournament will be played at Fluor Field in Greenville, S.C. with the championship game slated for Sunday at 2 p.m.