Jan. 30, 2013


Coastal Carolina, Liberty lead Big South Preseason Poll


Coastal Carolina was named top team in the South Division and Liberty was first in the North Division as the Big South Conference released its preseason poll, in voting by the league’s head coaches as released by the conference office.


In addition, Aaron Burke of Coastal Carolina was named the league’s Preseason Pitcher of the Year, while Michael Felton of Campbell and Jeff Kemp of Radford are the conference’s Preseason Co-Players of the Year.


The Chanticleers, under the director of head coach Gary Gilmore (right), were the unanimous pick to capture the South as the Big South splits into divisions for the first time in league history. Coastal Carolina has won six consecutive Big South titles. Gardner-Webb was selected second in the South Division, followed by Charleston Southern, Winthrop, UNC Asheville and Presbyterian.


The voting was closer in the North. The Flames, led by head coach Jim Toman (left), picked up seven first-place votes and 67 points to claim the top spot. Campbell got one first-place vote and 55 points to edge High Point, who garnered four first-place votes and 53 points. Radford came in fourth, followed by VMI and league newcomer Longwood.


Burke is a senior right-hander who was fifth in the nation in ERA last season at 1.58. He was Big South Co-Pitcher of the Year and Second Team All-America. Burke posted 10 wins and registered seven saves in 35 appearances.


Felton batted .424 in 2012 and set a Big South record with 103 hits. The All-American second baseman had 12 doubles and 45 RBI during his junior season with an on-base percentage of .474.


Kemp was First Team All-Big South as a junior shortstop in 2012, leading the league with six triples and placing fourth with 48 RBI. He was sixth in the conference with 16 doubles and a slugging percentage of .536.


The 2013 campaign begins on Friday, Feb. 15, with 11 teams taking the field. Conference play kicks off the weekend of March 1-3 with High Point visiting Presbyterian. The Big South Championship will be held at Liberty Baseball Stadium in Lynchburg, Va. The eight-team double elimination tournament will be held from May 21-25.


2013 Big South Preseason Poll


South Division

Team, Points (First Place) (2012 BSC, Overall Records)

1. Coastal Carolina 72 (12) (18-5, 42-19)

2. Gardner-Webb 48 (12-12, 32-28)

3. Charleston Southern 42 (11-13, 20-36)

4. Winthrop 36 (9-14, 17-35)

5. UNC Asheville 28 (12-12, 25-30)

6. Presbyterian 26 (10-14, 24-31)


North Division

Team, Points (First Place) (2012 BSC, Overall Records)

1. Liberty 67 (7) (14-10, 41-19)

2. Campbell 55 (1) (15-9, 41-18)

3. High Point 53 (4) (11-13, 28-31)

4. Radford 39 (12-12, 29-28-1)

5. VMI 22 (7-17, 16-36)

6. Longwood 16 (independent, 27-21)


(photos courtesy of Coastal Carolina & Liberty Media Relations Offices)