BOONE, N.C. — With third-year head coach Kermit Smith, senior shortstop Joel McDaniel and senior pitcher Brandon Boone in attendance, Appalachian State Baseball held its preseason Media Day press conference Wednesday in the Mark E. Ricks Athletics Complex.
App State, which went 10-9 over the final month of the 2018 season and 8-7 in its last 15 Sun Belt Conference games, opens the 2019 season at Tennessee on Feb. 15.
“The focus is, at 3 o’clock today, we have practice, and we want to do the necessary things to the best of our ability to be the best team that we’re capable of being,” Smith said.
With Boone making 11 starts and averaging a strikeout per inning last season, App State pitchers posted the third-most strikeouts (430) in program history and helped the Mountaineers record their lowest ERA since 2013. The late-season surge coincided with then-freshman Will Sprinkle’s move into the weekend rotation.
The Mountaineers have added 17 newcomers, including 12 freshmen, to a group that returns seven positional players who started at least 42 games and five pitchers who compiled at least 25 innings in 2018.
“The group of guys that were part of the 19-game stretch brought back that same energy into the fall,” Boone said. “You bring in freshmen and transfers, they just pick up on that, that this is who we are, and we’re going to move forward.”
Offensively, freshmen were responsible for the three highest batting averages on the team in 2018, and McDaniel led the Mountaineers in both home runs and doubles as an App State newcomer. He started at shortstop for a defense that had the fourth-best fielding percentage (.969) in school history.
“We’d like to take that momentum into this year, be who we are and compete every day, be ready for practice at 3 o’clock and not look too far forward,” McDaniel said.
App State has a 28-game home schedule, beginning with a Feb. 22-24 home series against Manhattan, and will play 40 of its 56 regular season games in the Carolinas.
Season tickets are available at a cost of just $85 for adults, $75 for App State staff/faculty (limit of two) or senior citizens (limit of two) and $45 for youth (ages 3-12). Additionally, there will be a Family Four Pack plan that includes two adult season tickets and two youth season tickets for $235 ($25 off the regular price for all four).
Season tickets can be purchased by clicking HERE for the App State Ticket Central site, by calling the Appalachian State athletics ticket office at (828) 262-2079 or by going to the ticket office, located at the Holmes Center, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekdays.