Feb. 1, 2013

CBI Atlantic Sun preview

Atlantic Sun Preseason Coaches' Poll

Coaches' Preseason All-A-Sun Team


Inside: With Mercer's Nick Backlund

By Phil Stanton

CollegeBaseballInsider.com Co-Founder

phil@collegebaseballinsider.com  @RoadToOmaha


Nick Backlund (left) is a junior first baseman from San Jose, Calif. He batted .326 in his only season at Chemeketa Community College in Salem, Ore., two years ago. Backlund led the Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges with 12 homers and was third with 43 RBI.


He arrived at Mercer in 2012 and continued to pound the ball. Backlund led the Atlantic Sun Conference with 85 hits, 149 total bases, a batting average of .381 and slugging percentage of .668. He was second in the league with 16 home runs, 58 RBI and .471 on-base percentage while placing third with 51 runs. Backlund was a member of several All-America teams, including honorable mention by CollegeBaseballInsider.com.


Many anticipate big things from Backlund in 2013. He has already been named to a pair of Preseason First Team All-America squads.


1. Have the adjustments been difficult to go from living in San Jose, Calif., to Salem, Ore., to Macon, Ga.?
I would not say it's been difficult. It's been a fun experience to be able to live in a few different places and enjoy what each has to offer. The hardest part is my family not getting to watch all my games. Other than that I love it down here and I'd rather play in the hot, humid south than the cold rain in Oregon any day.

2. What were the keys for your success at the plate in 2012?
I would credit my success at the plate last year to my hard work and my mental toughness. My goal last year was to enjoy the moment and not worry about the past or future. I only dealt with what was right in front of me and just focused on having fun.

3. You reached base 39 times by walks or being plunked and struck out 37 times. How important is patience for you at the plate?
Patience is huge for me! It is what Coach Holmes preaches to me every day during batting practice or before a game. I read a book by Shawn Greene last year before the season and one of the big things I took away from it was about how the pitcher is my friend who is there to help me. I took that to heart and was able to be a much more patient hitter when I viewed the game that way.

4. How important is the first weekend of the season, facing Ohio State, St. John's and Notre Dame?
The first weekend is big for us as a team. It will set the tone for the whole season. We have been working tirelessly to be as prepared as we possibly can. Going down to Florida and getting a few wins will give us great confidence that we can carry through the rest of the season.

5. What are the biggest factors for Mercer to reach the NCAA Tournament this season?
The biggest factor will be consistency. Last year we played phenomenally at times and horrible at others. We need to bring the same intensity every day regardless of who we are playing, making sure to learn from our mistakes and ramp up to be playing our best baseball at the end of the season. Lastly, winning the big moments will be huge. If our pitchers can win the big pressure situations and our hitters can win the big moments on offense we will be a special team. 


(photos courtesy of Mercer Media Relations Office)