2009 Southern Conference Preseason Polls

FROM CBB NEWS SOURCE

Courtesy of Southern Conference
Courtesy of Southern Conference

SPARTANBURG, S.C. – The Southern Conference baseball coaches and the voting members of the Southern Conference Sports Media Association have each selected Elon as the preseason favorite to repeat as champion in 2009. A year ago, the Phoenix became the first team in seven seasons to win both the regular season and tournament titles en route to a 44-18 season and a berth in the NCAA Regionals.

The Phoenix received eight of 11 first place votes from the league’s head coaches while 15 of 18 media members placed Elon at the top of their predicted orders of finish. Coach Mike Kennedy’s squad, which fashioned a 19-8 SoCon mark in 2008 and swept through the league tournament, returns seven of nine starters in the field and nine of its 12 pitchers from a season ago, including SoCon Preseason Player of the Year Cory Harrilchak.

The only difference between the two polls came in the second slot where the coaches placed Georgia Southern and the media selected College of Charleston. The Eagles, under 10th-year head coach Rodney Hennon, received the remaining three first-place votes in the coaches’ poll and one first-place tally in the media balloting. Georgia Southern finished 33-25 overall and 16-11 in the SoCon in 2008.

College of Charleston enters 2009 under the guidance of first-year head coach Monte Lee and will be led by SoCon Preseason Pitcher of the Year Jesse Simpson. Lee, who played collegiately for the Cougars from 1996-99, was most recently an assistant at the University of South Carolina. SCSMA members gave the Cougars two first-place votes.

Following GSU and Charleston in the fourth slot is The Citadel which returns its top four hitters and top three starting pitchers from a season ago. In fifth is Appalachian State, followed by Western Carolina in sixth, UNC Greensboro in seventh and Furman in eighth.

Samford is predicted to finish ninth as it enters its first Southern Conference season while Wofford and Davidson complete the polls.

Coaches were not permitted to vote for their own teams in the voting process.

The 2009 Southern Conference season begins next Friday, February 20 with all 11 league teams in action. The 2009 Southern Conference Baseball Championship will be held May 20-24 at Fluor Field in Greenville, S.C.

2009 SoCon Baseball Preseason Coaches Poll

Place School (First) Points

1. Elon (8) 98
2. Georgia Southern (3) 89
3. College of Charleston 79
4. The Citadel 62
5. Appalachian State 57
6. Western Carolina 52
7. UNC Greensboro 51
8. Furman 46
9. Samford 40
10. Wofford 19
11. Davidson 12

2009 SoCon Baseball Preseason Media Poll

Place School (First) Points

1. Elon (15) 194
2. College of Charleston (2) 176
3. Georgia Southern (1) 158
4. The Citadel 125
5. Appalachian State 110
6. Western Carolina 101
7. UNC Greensboro 91
8. Furman 89
9. Samford 83
10. Wofford 41
11. Davidson 20