SouthernConferenceFeatured

2012 CBD Season Preview: Southern Conference

By: Aaron Kirby
2011 Season Review:

  • Tournament Champion: Georgia Southern
  • Regular Season Champion: Elon
  • Conference RPI: #15
  • Conference ISR: #16

In 2010 the Southern Conference had a conference record 3 teams (Citadel, CofC and Elon) get in a regional. However, in 2011 only the tournament champion Georgia Southern (36-26 overall and 18-12 SOCON) received a NCAA bid. Regular season champion Elon (36-21 overall and 23-7 SOCON) along with CofC (39-22 overall and 18-12 SOCON), and Samford (37-23 overall and 18-12 SOCON) came up just short of a regional. UNCG who won just 7 conference games in 2010 finished just one game behind Elon in regular season at 22-8 in conference and 34-20 overall. +14 games overall and an amazing +15 in conference.

Georgia Southern entered the conference tourney as the #5 seed. The Eagles went 4-1 on their way to title including a 1-0 win over Samford in the Championship game with tourney MVP RHP Chris Beck picking up his 9th win of season throwing a CG, 3 H, 0 BB, 9 Ks shutout. On day 1 of tourney Beck had an even more impressive outing. Picking up the 4-2 win over CofC throwing 8 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 13 K in game that did not start till after 12:30 am and finished after 3:00 am. GSU and CofC had to wait through a 6+ hour 20 inning marathon which #8 seed Western Carolina upset #1 seed Elon 10-7. With GSU’s 8th SOCON championship the Eagles were sent to the Columbia, SC Regional were they lost 2-1 to eventual National Champion South Carolina in game 1 before their season ended with a 5-2 loss to NC State.

There certainly was no shortage of great individual accomplishments in 2011 for SOCON baseball players. Leading the list was Georgia Southern’s Sophmore OF Victor Roache who led the country in HRs with 30 and was a consensus first-team All-America selection. Not far behind was College of Charleston’s redshirt freshman OF Daniel Aldrich who was named national freshman of the year by Collegiate Baseball Newspaper. Joining them on the majority of all American teams were Western Carolina’s 2B Ross Heffley and College of Charlestons 3B Matt Leeds. The only 2011 All-American not returning for 2012 is CofC’s Matt Leeds who signed after being taken in 31st rd by Texas.

2011 Final Standings

Team..………….……..…………..Overall (SOCON)

1st-

Elon…….……….…..…………. ….36-21 (23-7)

2nd-

UNCG……………..………………..34-20 (22-8)

3rd-

CofC………………..……………..39-22 (18-12)

4th-

Samford………….……….………37-23 (18-12)

5th-

GSU..……………………………..36-26 (18-12)

6th-

APP ST…….…..…………………33-27 (15-15)

7th-

Furman………………………..….24-33 (13-16)

8th-

WCU.………..…………………23-31-1 (12-18)

9th-

Wofford…………..………….…….22-33 (9-21)

10th-

Davidson………..…………….…..18-30 (8-21)

11th-

The Citadel………..………….…..20-36 (8-22)

2012 Projections:

#1 Georgia Southern

2011 (36-26/18-12 SOCON 5th)

Position Players:

OF-

JR-

Victor Roache .326, 30 HR, 84 RBI

SS-

SR-

Eric Phillips .390, 98 H, 14 2B, 4 HR, 39 RBI, 26-31 SB

DH-

JR-

Michael Burress .300, 82 H, 11 2B, 5 3B, 3 HR, 46 RBI

2B-

SO-

Ben Morgan .239, 13 2B, 23 RBI

OF-

JR-

Scooter Williams .277, 26 H, 9-9 SB

UTL-

SO-

Styrker Brown .250, 1 HR, 5 RBI

1B-

JR-

TD Davis (transfer Georgia Perimeter)

1B-

SO-

Garren Palmer .236, 2 HR, 14 RBI

INF-

SO-

Brent Pugh .228, 9 2B, 0 HR, 19 RBI

C-

FR-

Chase Griffin (Lee County HS)

3B-

FR-

Nick Rau (HS—Thomson, Ga.)

OF-

JR-

Arthur Owens .222, 40 GP, 15 GS

Pitchers:

RHP-

JR-

Chris Beck 9-5, 3.23, 19 GS, 103.0 IP, 109 K

RHP-

SR-

Josh Adams 9-6, 4.79, 13 GS, 71.1 IP

RHP-

SO-

Will Middour 3-1, 5.09, 20 AP, 2 SV, 40.2 IP

RHP-

JR-

Justin Hess 3-2, 6.58, 5 GS, 52.0 IP, 45 K

LHP-

FR-

Sam Howard (Cartersville, Ga drafted 48th rd)

RHP-

JR-

Josh Stevenson (transfer Gordon College)

LHP-

JR-

Bart Stapelton (transfer Gordon College)

Key Players Lost:

RHP-

Matt Murray 4-3, 2.39, 9 SV, 67.2 IP, 72 K Pitcher of Yr

RHP-

Andy Moye 7-2, 2.39, 12 GS, 79.0 IP

1B-

Steve Cochrane .326, 19 2B, 6 HR, 56 RBI

OF-

Shawn Payne .314, 70 R, 16 2B, 6 HR, 33-36 SB

OUTLOOK-Head Coach Rodney Hennon and Georgia Southern went to their 5th regional since 2000 and won their 6th Southern Conference championship since becoming head coach in 2000. The Eagles returns 7 of 9 starting position players and 2 of 3 weekend starters. You will be hard to find 3 better center pieces of a team in JR OF Victor Roache, JR RHP Chris Beck and returning 1st team all conference SS senior Eric Phillips. Everyone knows about the 2 potential 1st round picks so lets look at what else the Eagles have.

At the plate who ever hits in front of Roache and behind him will need to protect him or teams will not throw to him. Phillips will probably hit behind Roache and it will be interesting to see who hits in front of him. Sophomore UTL Styrker Brown is candidate to hit in front of him after swinging the bat all fall and so far this spring. Brown along with speedy junior OF Scooter Williams both could be in for very solid years with the added ABs. On a side note both Williams and Roache are from Michigan.

The pitching staff has some holes to fill but with Beck and #2 senior RHP Josh Adams they have one of top 1-2 in the league combining to win 18 games in 2011.(CofC’s Powell and Renfro combined for 17). Sophomore RHP Will Middour battled back injuries most of his freshman year and will be counted on to throw a lot in 2012.

3 question marks entering the season may be filled by freshman. Catcher, 3B and who will be #3 starter. The only catcher with any real experience on the roster is JR Michael Burress who hasn’t caught regularly since 2010 when he started 22 games. Freshman Chase Griffin (Lee County HS) may fill that role in 2012. At 3B freshman Nick Rau has a chance to win that job. The Sunday starter could be filled highly regarded HS kid lefty Sam Howard (Cartersville, Ga drafted 48th rd). There is no question the Eagles have the talent so if they play like they are capable they will be at or near the top of SOCON and should be in a regional.

#2 Samford

2011 (37-23/18-12 SOCON 4th)

Position Players:

OF- SO- Philip Ervin .371, 79 H, 15 2B, 4 HR, 41 RBI
1B- SR- Saxton Butler .355, 81 H, 26 2B, 9 HR, 61 RBI
C- SR- Brad Moss .277, 8 2B, 1 HR, 22 RBI
C- SR- Brandon Miller .270, 9 2B, 16 HR, 43 RBI
3B- SO- Tyler Filliben .251, 5 2B, 21 RBI
SS- JR- Austin Allison .288, 1 HR, 10 RBI
OF- SO- Brandon Powell .191, 17 GS
INF- SO- Tommy Corbin .198, 5 2B, 8 RBI

Pitchers:

RHP- SR- Charles Basford 7-4, 2.45, 15 GS, 1 SV, 88.0 IP
RHP- SR- Kyle Putkonen 7-2, 3.25, 13 GS, 80.1 IP,
LHP- JR- Lex Rutledge 5-6, 3.71, 12 GS, 63.0 IP, 79 K
RHP- SO- C.K. Irby 5-1, 2.48, 22 AP, 2 GS, 36.1 IP, 35 K
RHP- FR- Cole Limbaugh (Childersburg HS,Ala Drafted 47th rd)
RHP- SO- Arthur Straus 0-1, 1.10, 15 AP, 16.1 IP, 21 K
RHP- SR- Josh Martin 6-2, 2.76, 8 GS, 58.2 IP
RHP- SR- Tyler Vanderheiden 2-0, 1.99, 25 AP, 22.2 IP, 20 K
LHP- JR- Taylor Hammond (injured for most of career)
RHP- SO- Charles Terry (0-0, 6.17, 11.2 IP 1 GS *2010)
RHP- JR- Joseph Burns 0-1, 4.60, 21 AP, 15.2 IP, 15 K

Key Players Lost:

SS Michael Johnson .342, 82 H, 10 2B, 2 HR 22 RBI
RP Andrew Jones 1-3, 1.49, 31 APP, 15 SV
RP Grant Sides 1-0, 1.78, 22 APP, 1 SV

OUTLOOK: Samford returns 7 of 10 regular starters and all 3 weekend starting pitchers from 2011. How do you fix a bullpen when you lose a closer with 15 SV and setup man 95-97 MPH and 1.78 ERA in 22 appearances? If your Samford the answer is easy you put one of the top LHP in the country who just happened to be one of your top starters from 2011 in there. His name is Lex Rutledge. Did I also mention that the JR southpaw was 5-1, 1.71 ERA, 11 SV, 33 APP, 47.1 IP, and 65 Ks out of the pen as a freshman. And it also does not hurt that you return 2 other very good weekend starters SR RHP Charles Basford (7-4, 2.45, 88.0 IP) and SR RHP Kyle Putkonen (7-2, 3.25, 80.1 IP). If you like pitching then you will love Samford. The Bulldogs had an impressive 3.11 team ERA in 2011 and return the majority of the staff along with highly regarded freshman Cole Limbaugh (Childersburg HS,Ala Drafted 47th rd) .

Their offense is not hurting either with the return of All Conference 1B Saxon Butler (.355, 26 2B, 9 HR, 61 RBI), Freshman of Year OF Philip Ervin (.371, 15 2B, 4 HR, 41 RBI) and SR OF Brad Miller (.270, 16 HR).

If Samford continues to pitch and can put some runs on the board they will be a very hard team to beat.

#3 College of Charleston

2011 (39-22/18-12 SOCON 3rd)

Position Players:

OF-

SO-

Daniel Aldrich .347, 77 H, 17 2B, 22 HR, 73 RBI

OF/LHP

SR-

Marty Gantt .329, 78 H, 15 2B, 7 HR, 44 RBI, 25-29 SB

INF-

SR-

Rob Harding .289, 7 2B, 0 HR, 15 RBI

INF-

SO-

Brandon Glazer .143, 1 HR, 13 RBI

INF-

JR-

Bradley Goodson (transfer Central Florida CC)

C-

JR-

Ryan Welke (Northwest Florida State)

INF-

JR-

Cody Martin (transfer Spartanbug Methodist)

INF/OF-

FR-

Morgan Phillips (HS, NY Drafted 17th rd 2011)

INF/OF-

FR-

Devon Reed (HS, Del. Drafted 20th round 2011 draft)

Pitchers:

RHP-

JR-

Christian Powell 8-1, 3.09, 12 GS, 81.2 IP, 63 K

LHP-

SR-

Josh Renfro 9-3, 3.66, 15 GS, 96.0 IP, 77 K

RHP-

SR-

David Peterson 5-6, 4.52, 15 GS, 87.2 IP

LHP-

JR-

Jake Zokan 4-2, 3.54, 21 AP, 4 GS, 40.2 IP, 41 K

RHP-

JR-

Matt Pegler 2-1, 4.30, 21 AP, 1 GS, 1 SV, 29.1 IP

RHP-

SR-

Kyle Owens 1-3, 4.46, 24 AP, 8 SV, 36.1 IP, 35 K

RHP-

SR-

Nick Osterman 0-0, 4.50, 14 AP, 2 SV, 22.0 IP, 29 K

OF/RHP

JR-

Dre Watts 1-0, 6.39, 15 AP, 1 SV, 25.1 IP

RHP-

JR-

Derek Smith (transfer USC Lancaster)

LHP-

JR-

Ryan Walker (transer UNCW 2010)

RHP-

FR-

Will Dorton (HS Lugoff-Elgin, S.C. drafted 15th rd)

Key Players Lost:

3B

Matt Leeds .345, 18 2B, 18 HR, 80 RBI

C

Rob Kral .319, 17 2B, 11 HR, 48 RBI

CF

Cole Rakar .311, 74 H, 13 2B

RHP

Casey Lucchese 3-2, 3.95, 7 SV 43.1 IP

OUTLOOK- College of Charleston returns just 3 of 9 starting position players but all 3 weekend starters. CofC has been known for its offense for the last 8-9 years and with good reason. The Cougars need to replace 3 1st team SOCON players in 3B Matt Leeds and C Rob Kral who signed early and senior CF Cole Raker. Redshirt sophomore OF Daniel Aldrich will be hard pressed to repeat his 2011 season but he and senior OF/LHP Marty Gantt may not need to put up the huge #s in 2012 with the arms on the pitching staff. All 3 weekend guys(Powell, Renfro and Peterson) return last year who combined for 17 wins. Peterson will likely move to pen to start the year and strengthen the back end. JR LHP Jake Zokan slides up into weekend rotation after 21 appearances and 4 starts in 2011 going 4-2, 3.54.

Also helping to fill 6 of 9 starters from 2011 CofC has brought in a very impressive recruiting class expected to step right in.

#4 Appalachian St

2011 (33-27/15-15 SOCON 6th)

Position Players:

CF- JR- Tyler Zupcic .350, 14 2B, 3 HR, 29 RBI, 15-21 SB
C- SR- Jeremy Dowdy .228, 13 2B, 1 HR, 26 RBI
2B- JR- Hector Crespo .316, 8 2B, 3 3B, 1 HR, 25 RBI, 18-26 SB
1B- SR- Trey Holmes .298, 16, 2B, 6 HR, 45 RBI, 12-17 SB
3B- SR- Zack Briggs .293, 16 2B, 5 HR, 32 RBI
SS- JR- Will Callaway, .295, 7 2B, 2 HR, 16 RBI, 7-7 SB
LF- SO- Preston Troutman .275, 5 2B, 3 3B, 0 HR, 16 RBI
DH- SR- Daniel Kassouf .259, 8 HR, 27 RBI

Pitchers:

RHP- SR- Ryan Arrowood 8-3, 2.96, 15 GS, 94.1 IP, 83 K
RHP- JR- Nathan Hyatt 6-5, 4.26, 14 GS, 88.2 IP, 70 K
RHP- SR- Seth Grant 5-9, 5.28, 14 GS, 87.0 IP, 66 K
LHP- JR- Ryne Frankoff 1-2, 3.19, 7 GS, 36.2 IP
RHP- SR- David Port 2-0, 2.33, 29 AP, 3 SV, 38.2
LHP- SR- Will Helms 4-0, 5.00, 33 AP, 18.0 IP
LHP- SO- Chad Farmer 2-2, 5.08, 21 AP, 2 GS, 33.2 IP
LHP- JR- Zach Joyce 0-1, 5.51, 19 AP, 16.1 IP
LHP- JR- Tyler Jackson 0-0, 7.71, 7.0 IP

Key Players Lost:

RHP Taylor Miller 2-2, 4.76, 26 APP, 12 SV
SP Lawrence Pardo 2-3, 6.54, 8 GS 42.2 IP
OF Jack Myers .317, 71 H, 10 2B, 19-24 SB

OUTLOOK-Head Coach Chris Pollard has done a great job turning the App St program around. He enters his 8th season as head coach and has had 5 consecutive seasons with 30+ wins. However they have yet to take the next step and gotten into a Regional. 2012 could be that year as they return 8 of 9 regular position players along with all 3 weekend starters from last years 33-27 team. Leading the offense are all conference candidates JR CF Tyler Zupcic (.350, 14 2B, 15-24 SB), JR 2B Hector Crespo (.316, 18-26 SB) and SR 1B Trey Holmes (.298, 6 HR, 45 RBI, 12-17 SB). If the Mountaineers are to take the next step into a regional it will more than likely be due to their pitching staff. They return 29 of 33 wins from 2011 including one of the best pitchers in the SOCON in SR RHP Ryan Arrowood (8-3, 2.96, 15 GS, 94.1 IP, 83 K). Also returning are last year’s weekend starters Sr RHP Seth Grant and JR RHP Nathan Hyatt. A key to their success could be JR LHP Tyler Jackson who as a freshman was in weekend rotation (2-4, 5.34, 13 GS, 64.0 IP) but only made 5 appearances totaling 7 IP as a sophomore. Look for App St to finish in the top 4 or 5 this season.

#5 Elon

2011 (36-21/23-7 SOCON 1st)

Position Players:

INF- SO- Sebastian Gomes .305, 2 HR, 28 RBI, 14-15 SB
OF- JR- Niko Frasor .300, 5 3B, 1 HR, 32 RBI, 20-32 SB
C- JR- Alex Swim .280, 12 2B, 0 HR, 33 RBI, 11-16 SB
OF- SR- Jake Luce .277, 14 2B, 2 HR, 23 RBI
C- SO- Ryan Kinsella .254, 5 HR, 24 RBI
1B- JR- Grant McCoury .238, 6 HR, 24 RBI
INF- SR- Garrett Koster .223, 9 2B, 6 HR, 25 RBI, 13-16 SB
1B- SO- Connor Lewis (transfer USC Sumter)
OF- FR- Nick Bruno (Don Bosco Prep HS, NJ)

Pitchers;

LHP- JR- Dylan Clark 3-3, 2.78, 7 GS, 1 SV, 68.0 IP
RHP- JR- Kyle Webb 2-1, 2.80, 9 GS, 54.2 IP
1B- JR- Grant McCoury 1-2, 3.48, 2 GS, 20.2 IP
RHP- SO- David Whitehead 6-2, 4.84, 8 GS, 67.0 IP
RHP- SO- Brad MacHaffie 0-0, 6.17, 13 AP, 11.2 IP
RHP- FR- Darren Lauer (New Hope, PA Council Rock North HS)

Key Players Lost:

SS Neal Pritchard .295, 8 HR, 39 RBI
RHP John Brebbia 7-1, 1.76, 27 APP 3 SV Pitcher of Year
RHP Thomas Girdwood 4-5, 3.39, 9 GS, 63.2 IP
RHP Ken Ferrer 5-3, 4.02, 13 GS, 69.1 IP

OUTLOOK-Elon head coach Mike Kennedy has had a very impressive run the last 6 years at his alma mater. Starting in 2006 the Phoenix have won 236 games for an average of 39.33 per year, won regular season title 4 of 6 years, and played in a regional 4 of 6 years. They may not wow you with flash or 450 FT bombs but you cannot argue with their success, all they do is win. However this year might be a little tough to maintain that success. Returning is 7 of 9 regular position starters including the only 2 who hit over .300 last year. Sophomore 2B Sebastian Gomez (.305, 2 HR, 28 RBI, 14-15 SB) and junior OF Niko Fraser (.300, 1 HR, 32 RBI, 20-32 SB). The strength for 2012 will once again be their pitching staff even after losing 3 starters who started 8+ games and conference pitcher of year reliever John Brebbia (7-1, 1.76, 27 APP, 41.0 IP) who was drafted and signed late. Returning are JR LHP Dylan Clark (3-3, 2.78, 7 GS, 68.0 IP), JR RHP Kyle Webb (2-1, 2.80, 9 GS, 54.2 IP) and sophomore RHP David Whitehead (6-2, 4.84, 8 GS, 67.0 IP). It will not be surprising if Elon finishes at or near the top once again this year however there are several very solid clubs who will push them down. They could realistically finish anywhere from 1 thru 7. That is why baseball is so great.

#6 Western Carolina

2011 (23-31-1/12-18 SOCON 8th)

Position Players:

2B- SR- Ross Heffley .419, 52 R, 96 H, 18 2B, 2 3B, 11 HR, 65 RBI
SS- SO- Aaron Attaway .293, 8 2B, 1 HR, 31 RBI, 9-11 SB
1B- JR- Tyler White .289, 10 2B, 2 HR, 27 RBI, 10-12 SB
C- SO- Adam Martin .291, 7 2B, 5 HR, 24 RBI
C- SO- Luke Gragg .318, 6 2B, 1 HR, 11 RBI
OF- SO- Dykota Spiess .209, 5 2B, 2 HR,
OF- SO- Cody Jones .273, 2 HR, 12 RBI
INF- FR- Bradley Strong (Richlands, Va./Richlands HS)
INF- FR- Austin Neary (Baltimore, Md./Archbishop Spalding HS)
CF- FR- Garrett Brown (Erwin, NC, HS drafted 43rd round 2011)

Pitchers:

RHP- SO- Jordan Smith 6-7, 5.29, 14 GS, 80.0 IP, 61 K
RHP- SR- Andrew Blackwell 1-0, 6.23, 14 AP
RHP- SR- Darren Dotston 0-0, 3.48, 1 GS, 10.1 IP
RHP- JR- Preston Hatcher 2-2, 7.15, 4 GS, 34.0 IP
RHP- JR- Jeremy Sluder 0-0, 7.17, 23 AP, 1 SV, 21.1 IP
RHP- FR- Jeremy Null (Bunker Hill, NC HS drafted 37th rd)
RHP- FR- Tyler Powell (Myers Park,NC HS drafted 46th rd)
LHP- FR- Jacob Hoyle (Hickory, N.C./St. Stephen HS)
LHP- JR- Joe Nadale (transfer Petaloma, Calif/Santa Rosa JC)
LHP- SR- Vance Chavis 0-0, 14.04, 2 GS, 8.1 IP

Key Players Lost:

C Stephen Notaro .335, 10 2B, 6 HR, 42 RBI
OF- Matt Johns .318, 71 H, 16 2B, 6 HR, 44 RBI 26-26 SB
3B- Austin Schultz .288, 15 2B, 1 HR, 29 RBI, 13-17 SB
RHP- Matt Benedict 2-4, 4.01, 13 GS, 85.1 IP
RHP- Brandon Johnson 5-4, 2.84, 25 APP, 44.1 IP
RHP- Andrew Chilcoat 2-0, 2.14, 34 APP, 33.2 IP
RHP- Taylor Sandefur 2-3, 8.86, 6 GS, 43.2 IP *injured will miss 2012

OUTLOOK-After a disappointing 2011, which saw the Catamounts need a sweep over The Citadel on the last weekend of season just to get into the conference tourney, finished the season 8 games under .500 at 23-31-1 overall and 12-18 in SOCON, Western Carolina looks to get back in the mix in 2012. Five all conference players graduated leaving just 4 regular returning position starters and one weekend starter. However one of the best overall hitters in country and most decorated hitter in school history returns in senior 2B Ross Heffley (.419, 96 H, 18 2B, 11 HR, 65 RBI, .483 OB%) to lead the offense. You know Heffley is going to hit but who is going to step up and join him? Sophomore C/DH Adam Martin is a good candidate to have a break out season after having solid freshman season and good summer in Alaska. Sophomore SS Aaron Attaway was just voted preseason 2nd team by coaches after also having good freshman season. On the mound the only pitcher returning with over 40 IP last year is sophomore RHP Jordan Smith who stepped in weekend rotation as a freshman last year going 6-7 in 14 GS and 80.0 IP. WCU took a blow this fall when junior RHP Taylor Sandefur was lost for year with shoulder injury. 6’-8” freshman RHP Jeremy Null had a very good fall and is likely to start season in weekend rotation. The big righty from Claremont, NC was taken in the 37th round last year but made it to Cullowhee along with 2 other HS kids drafted, RHP Tyler Powell Charlotte, NC 46th round and OF Garrett Brown from Asheville, NC 43rd round. The speedy Brown also plays football for WCU and may start season in CF. Some other freshman that should make a big impact on 2012 are INF Bradley Strong (Richlands, VA), INF Austin Neary (Baltimore, MD), and INF/LHP Jacob Hoyle (Hickory, NC). Its hard to say what to expect from the 2012 Catamounts but if they are to compete for SOCON they will need a lot of players to step up and get it done.

#7 Furman

2011 (24-33/13-16 SOCON 7th)

Position Players:

LF- SR- Will Owens .321, 7 2B, 1 HR, 27 RBI, 13-16 SB
3B- SO- Alex Abrams .289, 1 HR, 18 RBI
RF- SR- Will Miller .298, 10 2B, 3 HR, 29 RBI, 16-19 SB
2B- JR- Will Muzika .271, 16 2B, 5 HR, 29 RBI
C- JR- Paul Nitto .282, 5 2B, 6 HR, 26 RBI

Pitchers:

LHP- JR- Nate Smith 3-5, 5.88, 8 GS, 59.2
RHP- SR- Daniel Stallsmith 4-3, 4.83, 14 GS, 76.1 IP
RHP- SO- Tyler Wood 3-5, 6.52, 14 GS, 69.0 IP
RHP- SR- Bobby Lyne 4-4, 3.84, 13 GS, 79.2 IP
RHP- JR- Matt Plate 2-3, 8.04, 1 GS, 28.0
RHP- JR- Drake Brown 2-2, 3.62, 31 AP, 39.0 IP
LHP- SR- Kevin Gottlieb 0-2, 6.75, 1 GS, 13.1 IP
LHP- SR- Stephen Gary 2-2, 5.87, 4 GS, 38.1

Key Players Lost:

1B Aaron Thompkins .348, 71 H, 1 HR, 26 RBI
DH Reese Wade .285, 45 H, 2 HR, 33 RBI
RP Dylan Cole 2-2, 3.00, 26 APP, 10 SV, 39.0 IP

OUTLOOK-The 2012 Furman Paladins should be a very solid club with their pitching staff being the strength. At the plate the Paladins return 5 starters including former freshman of the year JR 2B Will Muzika (.271, 16 2B, 5 HR), SR OF Will Owens (.321, 1 HR, 27 RBI, 13-16 SB) and JR Catcher Paul Nitto (.282, 6 HR, 26 RBI). On the bump Furman returns 3 weekend starters with 13+ starts (SR RHP Bobby Lyne 4-4, 3.84, 79.2 IP, SR RHP Daniel Stallsmith 4-3, 4.83, 76.1 IP and SO RHP Tyler Wood 3-5, 6.52, 69.0 IP) and another with 8 GS (JR LHP Nate Smith 3-5, 5.88, 59.2 IP). Furman is always a scrappy bunch and a very good tourney team and the 2012 tourney comes back to Greenville, SC for the 2nd time and first since 2009. They should finish in the 6th-8th range but don’t be surprised if they make a run in tourney.

#8 UNCG

2011 (34-20/22-8 SOCON 2nd)

Position Players;

1B/C- JR Trevor Edwards .318, 18 2B, 8 HR, 51 RBI
INF- SR- Andrew Spleth .282, 5 2B, 10 RBI
OF- SR- Bobby Martin .270, 8 2B, 1 HR, 25 RBI
INF- SR- Thomas Troelstrup .244, 11 2B, 3 HR, 29 RBI

Pitchers:

LHP- SO- Brandon Browne 2-2, 3.78, 13 GS, 66.2 IP, 42 BB, 45 K
LHP- SR- Jonathan Jones 2-4, 4.72, 26 AP, 5 GS, 2 SV, 53.1 IP
RHP- JR- Tyler Hollstegge 3-1, 5.18, 4 SV, 24.1 IP
LHP- SO- Dylan Hathcock 2-1, 4.75, 23 AP, 1 GS, 41.2 IP
RHP- SR- Zach Furl 2-0, 5.95, 26 AP, 2 SV, 19.2 IP

Key Players Lost:

Drew Gehringer .303, 57 H, 9 2B, 3 HR, 31 RBI
Colby Hyatt 8-3, 3.43, 14 GS, 94.1 IP
Warren Slack 7-2, 4.25, 15 GS, 82.2 IP
Jarett Miller 4-2, 4.01, 28 APP, 4 GS, 3 SV, 60.2 IP

OUTLOOK-2011 SOCON Coach of Year Mike Gaski did an incredible job in 2011 taking a 20-33/7-23 the previous year to 34-20/22-8 in 2011 finishing just 1 game behind Elon. The Spartans return just 4 position player starters and lost 5 of top 6 hitters with 22 GS or more. However returning is 1st team All conference catcher JR Trevor Edwards (.318, 18 2B, 8 HR, 51 RBI). On the mound they also lost a ton. Just one weekend starter returns SO LHP Brandon Browne (2-2, 3.78, 13 GS) and gone are Colby Hyatt and Warren Slack but they do have several solid arms from pen coming back who will need to step it up if they want to repeat the success of their 2011 season.

#9 The Citadel

2011 (20-36/8-22 SOCON 11th)

Position Players:

OF- SR- Nick Orvin .320, 14 2B, 9 HR, 32 RBI, 19-22 SB
INF- SO- Drew DeKerlegand .317, 11 2B, 4 3B, 2 HR, 24 RBI
1B- SR- Justin Mackert .303, 14 2B, 2 HR, 33 RBI, 17-23 SB
INF- FR- Jonathan Stokes (HS Cheraw, S.C.)
C- SO- Joe Jackson .302, 8 2B, 23 RBI

Pitchers:

RHP- JR- Austin Pritcher 5-3, 4.61, 14 GS, 84.0 IP, 77 K
RHP- SR- TJ Clarkson 1-4, 4.24, 32 AP, 4 SV, 57.1 IP, 51 K
RHP- SO- Bryce Hines 4-4, 4.38, 9 GS, 49.1 IP, 53 K
LHP- FR- Connor Walsh (HS Jupiter, FL)
LHP- FR- Kevin Connell (Daniel Boone HS, Grey, TN)
LHP- SO- Logan Cribb 1-4, 5.36, 25 AP, 3 GS, 43.2 IP

Key Players Lost:

OF- William Ladd .327, 67 H, 34 RBI, 18-22 SB
OF- Matt Simonelli .288, 15 2B, 3 HR, 34 RBI, 15-17 SB
LHP- Matt Talley 3-7, 3.95, 13 GS, 82.0 IP
RHP- Justin Russell 1-7, 5.91, 13 GS, 70.0 IP
RHP- Jeremy Long 4-3, 2.95, 27 APP, 1 SV, 36.2 IP
LHP- Drew Mahaffey 0-4, 3.15, 5 SV

OUTLOOK-2011 was a season to forget for The Citadel. For the first time in the history of their program (1936) they finished last in the Southern Conference and the first time in long time missed the conference tourney. The good news is the Cadets return 5 of 8 regular starting position players including all conference OF/INF Nick Orvin and 3 other potential all conference players in senior 1B Justin Mackert, sophomore 3B Drew DeKerlegand, and sophomore C Joe Jackson. On the mound only 1 weekend starter returns junior RHP Austin Pritcher (5-3, 4.61, 14 GS, 84.0 IP) joining Pritcher is sophomore RHP Bryce Hines (4-4, 4.38, 9 GS, 49.1 IP), senior reliever TJ Clarkson who had 32 appearances out of pen and sophomore LHP Logan Cribb who threw 43.2 innings as a freshman. Two incoming freshman lefthanders should make and immediate impact in Walsh (Jupiter, FL) and Connell (Grey, TN). That is where the good news ends and the bad news starts again. 8 players from the 2011 team who had eligibility left are no longer on the roster, included where 4 freshman pitchers. Only 5 pitchers on the roster have experience meaning a lot of guys are going to be thrown to fire early and often. It may be a very long 2012 season for the Bulldogs but they will not be down long.

#10 Wofford

2011 (22-33/9-21 SOCON 9th)

Position Players:

C- SR- Mac Doyle .300, 13 2B, 7 3B, 10 HR, 46 RBI
INF- SR- Konstantine Diamaduros .332, 8 2B, 5 3B, 36 RBI
OF- SR- James Foster .306, 10 2B, 22 RBI, 22-27 SB
C- SR- David Roney .256, 10 2B, 4 HR, 23 RBI
SS- JR- Matt Moore .210, 4 2B, 14 RBI
OF- JR- Clark Wise .298, 7 2B, 15 RBI

Pitchers:

RHP- SR- Cash Collins 8-4, 3.15, 14 GS, 97.0 IP 59 K
RHP- JR- Brandon Yarusi 1-6, 5.89, 8 GS, 47.1 IP
RHP- JR- Ryan Traylor 2-1, 5.23, 26 AP, 32.2 IP

Key Players Lost:

INF- Josh McKinney .298, 27 RBI
OF- Landon Bennett .238, 2 HR, 30 RBI
RHP- Tom Doninak 4-7, 4.59, 12 GS, 68.2 IP
RHP- John Cornely 2-1, 1.85, 23 APP, 39.0 IP, 9 SV

OUTLOOK-The Wofford Terriers finished 9th in the SOCON in 2011 and have enough pieces to get back in the top 8 in 2012. The Terriers return 6 of 8 starting position players returning including one of best hitters in SOCON and one of the most under rated starting pitchers in the conference. Senior C/DH Mac Doyle had a down year in 2011 after being a 2nd team all American and 1st team all conference his sophomore year (.377, 23 2B, 6 3B, 16 HR, 75 RBI, .755% slugging in 2010). He had a shoulder injury which may have slowed him down in 2011 and if healthy he will be one of best hitter in league once again. Another all conference candidate is senior 1B Diamaduros (.338, 5 3B, 36 RBI). Anchoring the pitching staff is senior RHP Cash Collins (8-4, 3.15, 97.0 IP). For Wofford to make it just down the street to Greenville, SC they are going to need some arms to behind Collins to get the job done and Doyle to return to 2010 form.

 

 

 

#11 Davidson

2011 (18-30/8-21 SOCON 10th)

Position Players:

OF- SR- Drew Gadaire .362, 15 2B, 5 HR, 36 RBI
OF- SO- Forrest Brandt .300, 15 2B
OF- SO- Kelly Myers .258, 3 HR, 14 RBI
C/OF- SR- Seth Freeman .247, 10 2B, 1 HR, 15 RBI
IF- JR- Andrew Barna .223, 9 2B, 2 HR, 29 RBI

Pitchers:

RHP- SR- Ryan Overcash 2-6, 4.03, 10 GS, 58.0 IP
RHP- SO- Danny Mooney 2-3, 7.43, 4 GS, 26.2 IP
RHP- SR- Brian Russell 2-4, 7.67, 9 GS, 29.1 IP

Key Players Lost:

INF Danny Weiss .302, 9 2B, 2 HR, 19 RBI, 43 GS
LHP Chris Lamb 1-7, 3.75, 12 GS, 81.2 IP, 85 K
RHP Mike Frongello 4-3, 2.54, 39 APP, 67.1 IP, 5 SV

OUTLOOK-The Davidson Wildcats finished in 10th last season but return 9 of 11 position players who started 23+ games and return 2 starting pitchers who started 9+ games. You ask just about any coach in the Southern Conference last year who they did not look forward to seeing on Friday night and Davidson LHP Chris Lamb’s name would have been at or near the top. However, he signed after being drafted in the 11th rd by the Oakland A’s. The cupboard is not bare at Davidson as senior RHP Ryan Overcash should move up into the Friday night spot after starting 10 games in 2011 with a very solid 4.03 ERA. Senior OF Drew Gadaire is back after leading the team in BA .363, H’s 63, 2Bs 15, 3Bs 3, HR’s 5 and RBI’s 36.

Awards

1st Team All Conference

C-

Trevor Edwards…………………………….UNCG

1B-

Saxton Butler……………………………..Samford

2B-

Ross Heffley…………………………………WCU

3B-

Drew DeKerlegand……………………….Citadel

SS-

Eric Phillips……………………………………GSU

OF-

Victor Roache………………………………..GSU

OF-

Marty Gantt………………………………….CofC

OF-

Philip Ervin………………………………..Samford

DH-

Daniel Aldrich……………………………….CofC

SP-

Chris Beck……………………………………GSU

SP-

Christian Powell……………………………..CofC

RP-

Lex Rutledge……………………………..Samford

 

2nd Team All Conference

C-

Adam Martin………………………………….WCU

1B-

Trey Holmes……………………………….App St

2B-

Hector Crespo……………………………..App St

3B-

Zack Briggs………………………………..App St

SS-

Aaron Attaway………………………………WCU

OF-

Nick Orvin………………………………….Citadel

OF-

Tyler Zupzic………………………………..App St

OF-

Drew Gadaire…………………………..Davidson

DH-

Brandon Miller…………………………..Samford

SP-

Ryan Arrowood……………………………App St

SP-

Josh Renfro………………………………….CofC

RP-

David Peterson…………………………………CofC

Best Hitters

#1-

Ross Heffley…………………………………WCU

#2-

Eric Phillips……………………………………GSU

#3-

Saxton Butler……………………………..Samford

#4-

Victor Roache………………………………..GSU

#5-

Daniel Aldrich………………………………..CofC

Best Pitchers

#1-

Chris Beck……………………………………GSU

#2-

Lex Rutledge……………………………..Samford

#3-

Ryan Arrowood…………………………….App St

#4-

Josh Renfro………………………………….CofC

#5-

Christian Powell……………………………..CofC

#5A-

Kyle Putkonen…………………………..Samford

Top Pitching Staff

#1-

Samford

#2-

App St

#3-

College of Charleston

#4-

Georgia Southern

#5-

Elon

 

Top Offenses

#1-

Georgia Southern

#2-

Samford

#3-

College of Charleston

#4-

App St

#5-

Western Carolina

Toughest Schedule

#1-

Samford

#2-

Elon

#3-

College of Charleston

#4-

Georgia Southern

#5-

App St

Regional Contenders

#1-

Georgia Southern

#2-

Samford

#3-

CofC

#4-

App St

Top Non Conference Weekends

#1-

May 5-7 CofC at Clemson

#2-

May 17-19 Samford at Oklahoma

#3-

Feb 24-26 Elon at South Carolina

#4-

Feb 24-26 App St at LSU

#5-

Feb 24-26 WCU vs Maryland, at ECU,
vs Purdue at Keith Leclair Invitational ECU

#5A-

March 23-25 Citadel at Minnesota
  • SoConbaseball

    Great analysis. After a down year in 2011 the SoCon will be much better in 2012.

    Here is how it goes: 
    1-Samford: experienced team, they play the game the right way, have been trending better over the last couple years
    2-GA Southern: Star power, but have history of playing below talent level
    3-Elon: The gurus have been saying for 4 years this is the year Elon takes a step back. But they never do.
    4- CofC: A lot of holes to fill, but a ton of talent is there.
    5-App St: Best team in school history, but that ain’t saying much
    6-WCU:  Dark horse, some interesting pieces, could be the similar to a UNCG of last year.
    NonContenders: Furman, UNCG, Citadel, Wofford, Davidson

    • RSN

       I agree with your breakdown too.  One key to Georgia Southern have a good year or a great year is if the kids dont throw to radar gun or play for the scouts.  There have been 10-20 scouts at just about every scrimmage already this spring and it will probably get even worse as the season goes on.  That is something i doubt any SOCON school has had to deal with. 

      Ill stand by my predictions of Elon for last year and this year.  Last year i had them 5th also and still say they were the 4th or 5th best team last year.  However this is no denying they win and they believe they will win.  Coach Kennedy and staff have done unbelievable job there.  That is what separates them from alot of other SOCON teams.  You take catcher Alex Swim for example.  He should probably be the 1st team catcher but he hit .280, 0 HR, 33 RBI last year?  The last 2-3 years their lineup has been full of lines similar.  They won the regular season last year with a .256 team average. 

      The more i researched and talked to people the more i like Samford.  They have some really impressive arms. 

      Usually the kid who is “supposed” to win player of year does not.  After 30 HRs last year and impressive summer Roache is the obvious choice but teams probably wont give him much to hit so ill say he ends up around .330, 16 HR.  My pick was Saxton Butler from Samford  and darkhorse is GSU’s Eric Phillips.  Phillips may start season at 3B. 

      Pitcher of year ill stick with Beck.  If he is healthy he is best.  Freshman of year im going with Bradley Strong of WCU or the Null kid.  The freshman of year has a good chance to come from either WCU or CofC because they are going to have some in lineup. 

  • RSN

    Hey SoConbaseball,
    why do you say Georgia Southern has a history of playing below their talent level?  i think its a couple other Georgia schools your thinking of.  

    • SoConbaseball

      Just compare Ga Southern to Elon over the last 6 years.  Ga Southern has brought in more talent, especially the high-profile guys. But Elon has won 4 titles and Ga Southern has a couple tourney wins.  There is not one year, maybe other than 2009, that Elon was even in the same area code of Ga Southern with talent.  Just about anyone that follows the SoCon will say the samething about Ga So. A lot of 3rd place finishes with the top talent and until they break through, the under-acheiver label will stick.

      • RSN

        Not really sure what you mean by bring in the high profile guys?  They have had some very good players but the only “high profile” guys they have had are Beck and Roache and they have been there 2 years and they won it once.  I went back and looked at records since Elon joined SOCON in 2004.  Elon has the regular season edge by a good margin.(won 14 more games). 

        Elon-
        overall-(298-181) .620 win %
        conf.-(155-73) .680 win %
        NCAA appearances-4
        Regular Season Titles-4

        Georgia Southern-
        overall-(282-194) .590 win %
        conf.-(141-87) .620 win %
        NCAA appearances-2
        Regular Season Titles-0

        And if you asked how many really good teams they each have had in that time frame id say GSU had 1 (2009) and Elon had 2 (2008 and 2009). 

        Both Kennedy and Hennon have done very good jobs.  You take last year for example.  How in the hell did Elon go 23-7 in league hitting .256 and not really have a stud starter.  They had Brebbia but he was a reliever.  Anyway the are both good