Gardner-Webb Pair Named To Louisville Slugger Freshmen All-America Team -—Official Web Site of Gardner-Webb Athletics
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Warner (left) and Hodge (right) powered GWU to a top-4 Big South finish in 2012.
Courtesy: Tim Cowie /
Gardner-Webb Pair Named To Louisville Slugger Freshmen All-America Team
Courtesy: Gardner-Webb
          Release: June 06, 2012
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TUSCON, Ariz. - Gardner-Webb shortstop Ryan Hodge and relief pitcher Mitch Warner were each named to the 2012 Louisville Slugger Freshmen All-America Team Wednesday.

The team is selected by the staff of Collegiate Baseball Newspaper. Hodge and Warner are the first Gardner-Webb players to earn Freshmen All-America honors since catcher Jay McConnell in 2005.

"We feel extremely honored to have two players make the Freshmen All-America Team," said Gardner-Webb head coach Rusty Stroupe. "Ryan and Mitch are both excellent, hard working young men. The entire freshmen class was a major part of our success this season."

Hodge (Matthews, N.C. / Butler HS) had a strong season throughout for the Runnin' Bulldogs and finished the season by posting a team-high .315 batting average in 52 starts. The 6-foot-1, 165-pound standout led the team with 46 runs scored and 16 stolen bases, and added 11 doubles, two triples, one home run and 23 RBI.

In Big South Conference games, Hodge batted a robust .368 and hit safely in 21 of 24 league contests to help Gardner-Webb to a fourth-place finish in the regular season standings. Counting the four conference tournament games in May, Hodge hit safely in 25 of 28 games played this past season against conference foes.

He enjoyed a 17-game hit streak midway through the season, batting a strong .500 (33-of-66) during that stretch. That streak was the longest by a Big South Conference player this season.

Hodge was a second-team All-Big South Conference selection, and heated up in the Big South Tournament. He led the team with a .375 average in four games, helping the Runnin' Bulldogs advance to the semifinals.

Warner (Chambersburg, Pa. / Chambersburg HS) was outstanding out of the bullpen for Gardner-Webb, making 27 relief appearances for the Runnin' Bulldogs.

He tied for the team lead with seven wins, going 7-2 with a team-low 2.48 ERA in 58.0 innings of work. Warner fanned 52 batters and walked just 13 - while allowing opponents to hit just .227 on the season.

The 5-foot-11, 175-pound lefty was at his best against top teams, collecting wins over nationally-ranked opponents twice – a 7-4 win at No. 4 North Carolina on March 14 and at home in a 6-3 win over No. 27 Appalachian State on April 10. Warner had a three-win week in late April, picking up two relief wins in the VMI series.

Warner was part of a pitching staff that forged a sparkling, 1.77 ERA in four Big South Conference Tournament games this past May in High Point. Warner picked up a key relief win in that event, tossing 3.1 innings and striking out five in a 4-3 win over Charleston Southern.

Gardner-Webb finished the 2012 campaign with a 32-28 overall record, reaching the 30-win plateau for the second season in a row. GWU picked up wins over five teams that appeared in the 2012 NCAA National Tournament, including three over nationally-ranked foes.

Gardner-Webb's Louisville Slugger Freshmen All-America Selections (Division I, Since 2003)
2003 – Zach Ward, RHP, Kannapolis, N.C. ( A.L. Brown HS)
2005 – Jay McConnell, C, Mt. Holly, N.C. (East Gaston HS)
2012 – Ryan Hodge, SS, Matthews, N.C. (Butler HS)
2012 – Mitch Warner, LHP, Chambersburg, Pa. (Chambersburg HS)



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