Jan. 25, 2011
CONWAY - After winning both the Big South regular season and tournament championships in each of the last four years, Coastal Carolina's baseball squad was the unanimous preseason favorite to win the 2011 Big South title by the league's coaches.
The league coaches also picked Chanticleer junior Anthony Meo as the unanimous pick for preseason Pitcher of the Year, while CCU junior second baseman Tommy La Stella was voted preseason Player of the Year, receiving eight of the possible 10 first-place votes.
Coastal Carolina set Big South and school records last season by posting an NCAA-best 55 wins, while leading the nation in winning percentage (.846, 55-10). Also, Coastal became the first Big South team to go an entire season without a loss to a league member, going undefeated in Big South play (25-0) as well as going undefeated in the conference tournament (4-0). Coastal returns seven starters (Rich Witten, Tommy La Stella, Taylor Motter, Scott Woodward, Daniel Bowman, Anthony Meo and Jim Birmingham) and a total of 17 lettermen from last season.
The Chants have won a total of 24 Big South Championships, including 13 regular season and 11 tournament, and have posted an 80-12 (.870) conference record in winning league titles 2007, '08, '09 and '10.
Meo, a 2010 National Player of the Year candidate, was the consensus Big South Pitcher of the Year last season (2010), going 13-2 with a 2.61 ERA overall and posting a perfect 8-0 mark with a 1.27 ERA in league play. He has landed on several 2011 preseason All-American teams and enters his junior season with a 22-4 career record with a 2.75 ERA and opponents batting a meager .232 off the right-hander.
La Stella was a first team All-Big South pick in 2010, leading the Chanticleers in hitting (.378) and his .977 fielding percentage was a CCU single-season record for second basemen. In addition to hitting for average, he produced 14 doubles and 14 home runs for a .622 slugging percentage - fifth-best in the Big South - while ranking 29th in the NCAA for "toughest to strike out," fanning just 15 times in 246 at bats (once every 16.4 at bats). La Stella's 66 RBI ranked second on team in 2010. H batted .442 in Big South play last season while posting a .421 batting average in the postseason.
Coastal Carolina will have its first official practice of 2011 this Friday (Jan. 28) and opens the 2011 season Feb. 18 versus Boston College in the Caravelle Resort Tournament at Watson Stadium/Vrooman Field. The Chants officially begin their defense of their Big South championship Mar. 25-27 at UNC Asheville. The 2011 Big South Baseball Tournament will be May 24-28 and hosted by VMI.
To purchase 2011 Coastal Carolina baseball season tickets, please visit www.GoCCUSports.com for prices and/or order online. For questions, contact the CCU Athletics Ticket Office at 1-877-424-2687 or locally at 843-347-TIXX (8499). Also, orders may be obtained in person at the CCU Athletics Ticket Office, located in the main lobby of Arcadia Hall, home of the Athletics Administration Offices.
2011 Big South Preseason Baseball Poll (as voted on by the coaches)
Team (first place votes) Points 1. Coastal Carolina (10) 100 2. Liberty 90 3. Winthrop 68 4. High Point 63 5. VMI 61 Radford 61 7. Gardner-Webb 39 8. Charleston Southern 30 9. UNC Asheville 26 10. Presbyterian 12
2011 Big South Preseason Player of the Year: Tommy La Stella (Coastal Carolina)
2011 Big South Preseason Pitcher of the Year: Anthony Meo (Coastal Carolina)