The Southern Conference has released its pre-season coaches poll and College of Charleston is the pick to win the conference behind All-American pitcher Nick Chigges. Western Carolina, Elon, and Georgia Southern round out the top four. The full poll and the pre-season conference teams are available here.
Mark Etheridge of SEBaseball has an article posted by CSTV on the struggles of the mid-majors in college baseball. Most of the bids have gone to teams in the Big 5 conferences which are the SEC, ACC, Big 12, Pac 10, and C-USA. Since the year 2000, the amount of teams coming from outside of these conferences has dwindled from 42 to 34 last season. Considering that 25 of those bids are automatic bids, you can see how difficult it is to make the tournament for the mid-major schools like College of Charleston who ended up winning a regional last season. The full article is available here and can be discussed in my comment section.
The Western Carolina Catamounts were picked by Collegiate Baseball to win the Southern Conference in 2007. The full press release from Western Carolina is available here.
Projected Order of Finish
1. Western Carolina
2. College of Charleston
4. UNC Greensboro
5. The Citadel
6. Georgia Southern
8. Appalachian State
College of Charleston visits the Yellow Jackets of Ga Tech in a Great Super Regional matchup this weekend. College of Charleston face a stiff Challenge from the hitting Jackets. Ga Tech is led by Super-Sophomore Matt Wieters who is from the Charleston SC area. Wieters has been hitting better since he got his contacts redone recently as evidenced in this article. Since May 1st, He is hitting .431 with 7 homeruns and 22 RBI’s.
Charleston will send Nick Chigges to the mound in the opener on Friday on ESPN at Noon. Nick is 11-1 in 15 starts with a 1.32 ERA. He has struck out 94 guys in that time period. The biggest stat for him is that opponents are hitting .204 off of him. Josh McLaughlin is the closer for the Cougars and he has a 1.27 ERA with 15 saves. He has 71 strikeouts in 56.2 innings.
Georgia Tech also is led by Blake Wood who is their ace pitcher. He has a 5.01 ERA and is 10-4. David Duncan is a lanky left-handed pitcher with mediocre stuff but has a 7-2 record by a 5.50 ERA. The GA Tech rotation for the weekend is not complete as of this article so I can’t tell you when they are going to pitch. Ga Tech needs to win this series with their bats and that is led besides Wieters by Jeff Kindel and Wes Hodges. Kindel is a solid outfielder with a good bat with some pop which I witnessed when GA Tech took on the Boston College Eagles in Chestnut Hill this season. Hodges is battling a stress fracture in his leg but still is hitting .337 with 11 HR’s.
I predict an upset in this series with College of Charleston in 3 games. I just don’t think Tech’s batting will be able to beat this staff.