League's Coaches and Media Differ on Preseason Picks
SPARTANBURG, S.C. - The Southern Conference baseball coaches have selected College of Charleston as the preseason favorite to win the league championship in 2012 while the media representatives who cover the league have chosen Georgia Southern as the conference favorite.
The Cougars received six of the 11 possible first-place votes and 93 points in the coaches' balloting, narrowly edging Georgia Southern by a single point. Charleston, which finished 39-22 last year and tied for third in the conference at 18-12, returns its entire starting pitching rotation along with all-conference outfielders Daniel Aldrich and Marty Gantt.
Georgia Southern was the clear preseason favorite of the league's media, earning 20 of 25 first-place votes and 269 points overall. The 2011 SoCon Tournament champion Eagles advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the second time in the past three seasons. All-America slugger Victor Roache leads the Eagles' hitters while right-hander Chris Beck, last year's tournament Most Outstanding Player, anchors the rotation.
The Cougars and Eagles swapped positions in the respective polls, with the coaches voting GSU second and the media tabbing CofC as league runners-up.
In the coaches' poll, GSU grabbed 92 points and four first-place votes while Samford placed third with 83 points and the remaining first-place nod. Elon (76 points), the 2011 regular season champion, was selected to finish fourth, followed by Appalachian State (62), Western Carolina (51) and UNCG (50) in the fifth through seventh spots, respectively. The Citadel (33) edged Furman (32) for eighth spot while Wofford (18) and Davidson (15) concluded the rankings.
With 246 points and three first-place tallies, Charleston placed second in the media balloting, directly ahead of Elon (220) which recorded the final two first-place votes. Samford (198), UNCG (150), Appalachian State (149), Western Carolina (130), The Citadel (112), Furman (86), Wofford (55) and Davidson (35) rounded out the poll.
The 2012 Southern Conference baseball season begins on Friday, February 17 with all 11 league teams in action. The 2012 Southern Conference Baseball Championship will be held from May 23-27 at Fluor Field in Greenville, S.C.
2012 SoCon Baseball Preseason Coaches Poll
Place School (First) Points
1. College of Charleston (6) 93
2. Georgia Southern (4) 92
3. Samford (1) 83
4. Elon 76
5. Appalachian State 62
6. Western Carolina 51
7. UNCG 50
8. The Citadel 33
9. Furman 32
10. Wofford 18
11. Davidson 15
2012 SoCon Baseball Preseason Media Poll
Place School (First) Points
1. Georgia Southern (20) 269
2. College of Charleston (3) 246
3. Elon (2) 220
4. Samford 198
5. UNCG 150
6. Appalachian State 149
7. Western Carolina 130
8. The Citadel 112
9. Furman 86
10. Wofford 55
11. Davidson 35