CHARLOTTE -- Coastal Carolina's baseball team has been voted the Big South Conference's preseason favorite by the league's head baseball coaches. In addition, the coaches voted Radford senior infielder Alex Gregory the conference's Preseason Player of the Year and Coastal Carolina junior Nick McCully the Preseason Pitcher of the Year.
Winthrop was picked third, behind Coastal and Radford, with one first-place vote and 78 points.
Winthrop coach Joe Hudak expects the Big South race to come down to his Eagles and Coastal.
"The preseason picks are based on last year, and last year we didn't play as well," Hudak said. "Preseason polls are just that, they are nice discussion items. We are looking at the polls at the end of the year. The last two years we haven't played as well as we have in the past. We have to earn our respect back."
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Winthrop starts intersquad games Sunday. The season-opener is at 4 p.m. on Feb. 20 at The Winthrop Ballpark against Eastern Michigan.
The 2009 Big South baseball season begins Friday, Feb. 20 with all 10 teams in action. The first BSC games are set for the weekend of March 6-8, while the Conference championship tournament is slated for May 19-23 at McCormick Field in Asheville, N.C.
Big South preseason baseball poll
(first place votes in parentheses)
1. Coastal Carolina (7) -- 97
2. Liberty (2) -- 86
3. Winthrop (1)-- 78
4. VMI (-) -- 74
5. Radford (-) -- 53
6. High Point (-) -- 46
7. Gardner-Webb (-) -- 43
8. UNC Asheville (-) -- 38
9. Charleston Southern (-) --22
10. Presbyterian (-) --13