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Coastal Carolina is unanimous choice to win Big South
La Stella, Meo earn individual honors
the fourth straight year, Coastal Carolina was picked to win the
Big South Conference, in voting by the league’s head coaches and
released by the conference office.
Two Chanticleers received individual honors.
Junior second baseman Tommy La Stella was voted Preseason Player
of the Year, while junior right-hander Anthony Meo was named
Preseason Pitcher of the Year.
Coastal earned all 10 first-place votes to be the
unanimous favorite. The Chants have won four straight Big South
titles and earned four consecutive NCAA tourney berths. Coastal
has reached the Super Regionals twice in the past three years.
Head coach Gary Gilmore (pictured above) has posted a record of
609-303 (.668) in 15 seasons at Coastal. He guided the Chants to
a perfect 25-0 mark in conference play in 2010 as Coastal set a
league record with 55 wins. The Chants return seven position
starters and 17 letter-winners.
Liberty, last season’s tourney runner-up, placed
second in the preseason voting. Winthrop came in third and High
Point took fourth. VMI and Radford tied for fifth, followed by
Gardner-Webb, Charleston Southern, UNC Asheville and
La Stella batted .378 a season ago, the top mark
on the team and fifth in the Big South. He had 93 hits and
fanned just 15 times. La Stella had 14 homers and 66 RBI with a
slugging percentage of .622. He hit .442 with nine homers and 34
RBI in conference games.
La Stella received eight first-place votes and 17
points to finished ahead of Tyler Bream of Liberty, who got two
first-place votes and six points. Nick Chinners of Charleston
Southern was third with three points.
Meo was the unanimous pick
as 2010 Big South Pitcher of the Year, as he was for 2011
Preseason Pitcher of the Year. He was 13-2 with a 2.61 ERA in 18
starts. Meo was a perfect 8-0 in league games with a 1.27 ERA
and 50 strikeouts in 49.2 innings. The All-American was a
semifinalist for both the Dick Howser Trophy and Golden Spikes
Steven Evans of Liberty was second in the
preseason pitcher voting, followed by Ryan Dull of UNC Asheville
and Adam Lopez of VMI.
The 2011 season kicks off on Friday, Feb. 18,
with all 10 Big South teams in action. Conference play begins
the weekend of March 18-20. The 2011 Royal Purple Big South
Championship will be held for the first time at VMI’s Gray-Minor
Stadium in Lexington, Va., on May 24-28.
Big South Preseason Poll
Team, Points (First Place Votes) (2010 Big
South, Overall Records)
1. Coastal Carolina, 100 (10) (25-0, 55-10)
2. Liberty, 90 (19-8, 42-19)
3. Winthrop, 68 (13-14, 27-30)
4. High Point, 63 (15-12, 31-29)
5. VMI, 61 (13-14, 33-22)
5. Radford, 61 (15-11, 29-26)
7. Gardner-Webb, 39 (10-17, 25-30)
8. Charleston Southern, 30 (6-20, 17-38)
9. UNC Asheville, 26 (10-17, 17-35)
10. Presbyterian, 12 (7-20, 15-39)
Preseason Player of the Year:
Tommy La Stella, Coastal Carolina, junior second baseman
Preseason Pitcher of the Year:
Anthony Meo, Coastal Carolina, junior right-hander
(photo courtesy of Coastal Carolina
Media Relations Office)