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Baseball Garners Big South Player, Pitcher and Coach of the Year; Eight Players Named to All-Conference Teams

Baseball Garners Big South Player, Pitcher and Coach of the Year; Eight Players Named to All-Conference Teams

ASHEVILLE, N.C. – The Coastal Carolina University baseball team earned the Big South Player, Pitcher and Coach of the Year as well as landing eight players on its All-Conference teams, the League announced tonight (May 20) before Game 3 of the 2009 Royal Purple Big South Baseball Championships in Asheville, N.C. Senior David Anderson (Lexington, S.C./White Knoll) was named the Big South Player of the Year. Sophomore Cody Wheeler (Spotsylvania, Va./Spotsylvania) was the League’s Pitcher of the Year, while Head Coach Gary Gilmore earned Big South Coach of the Year honors.   Anderson and Wheeler were joined on the All-Big South First Team by junior Nick McCully (Lakeland, Fla./Santa Fe Catholic), freshman Anthony Meo (Cranston, R.I./Cranston West) and sophomore Rico Noel (Lawton, Okla./Lawton). Junior Adam Rice (Cedar Rapids, Iowa/Elgin C.C.), senior Tyler Bortnick (Mentor, Ohio/Mentor) and freshman Daniel Bowman (Bridgewater, Va./Turner Ashby) were on the Second Team while redshirt junior Austin Fleet (Edmond, Okla./Santa Fe) was named to the All-Academic Team.   Anderson is hitting .378 with 19 home runs and 72 runs-batted-in for the Chanticleers. He becomes the ninth Chanticleer to earn Big South Player of the Year honors and the third straight, following David Sappelt (2007) and Dock Doyle (2008). Anderson leads the Big South in home runs and RBI and well as total bases, walks and slugging percentage. Anderson has 48 career home runs, which is tied with Tom Romano for the Coastal Carolina career home run record. He also is second in Big South history in home runs. Anderson has seven game-winning RBI and a .731 slugging percentage. He had two home runs apiece in games against High Point and Gardner-Webb and hit .420 in Big South games. He also has made just five errors on the year at first base. Anderson also earns All-Big South First Team honors after being named to the Second Team last year and to both the First and Second Teams as a relief pitcher and designated hitter in 2007.   Wheeler, a unanimous selection for Big South Pitcher of the Year, is 10-0 with a 3.11 earned-run average in 13 starts for the Chanticleers. He leads the Big South in wins, strikeouts and opponents batting average, as he has struck out 91 batters and has a .208 opponents batting average. Wheeler pitched a complete-game no-hitter in a 4-0 win over Hawai’i March 26 and had seven-inning, one-hit performances in wins over Stony Brook and VMI. Wheeler is 7-0 in Big South games and has 63 strikeouts in 57 innings pitched in conference matchups. He has been named the Big South Pitcher of the Week three times this season. Wheeler is Coastal Carolina’s second Pitcher of the Year honoree after Bobby Gagg earned the honor in 2007.   Gilmore is now the first six-time Coach of the Year recipient, and receives his fourth award in five years. Gilmore led his squad to the No. 1 seed in the 2009 Big South Baseball Championship with a 21-5 League mark and 43-13 overall record. He guided the Chanticleers to its fifth regular-season title in the last eight year. Gilmore earned his 800th career win in a 9-1 victory over Charleston Southern May 14 and has an 803-392 overall record.  The Chanticleers are vying for its 10th Conference tournament championship and third straight tournament title.   McCully is 7-1 with a Big South-leading 2.04 ERA in 26 appearances for Coastal Carolina. A closer to start the season, McCully has started his last five games, including earning a win in the Chants Big South Championships opener against VMI. McCully has 59 strikeouts in 61 innings pitched and opponents are hitting just .209 off him. McCully has eight saves on the season and was named to the Stopper of the Year Watch List. He pitched 8.1 innings in a win over Liberty, earning Big South Pitcher of the Week honors following the start. McCully earns his second All-Big South honor after being named to the Second Team last season.   Meo is 8-2 with a 2.96 ERA in 15 appearances for the Chanticleers. He tied Coastal Carolina’s freshman wins record with eight victories and has 60 strikeouts in 67 innings pitched. He struck out a career high 10 in a win over VMI May 10, allowing just three hits in six innings pitched. He has a .227 opponent’s batting average and allowed just five hits and two runs in a win over Liberty. Meo was the Chanticleers Opening Day starter, earning the win over Southern Illinois. He also struck out eight in five innings of work in the win over Albany.   Noel is hitting .324 with 16 doubles, a triple and seven home runs in 56 games for the Chanticleers. He leads the League with 41 stolen bases and has a .427 on-base percentage. He went 3-for-3 with three RBI in the win over VMI in the Big South Championship game May 20. Noel had a walk-off home run in a 2-1 win over Radford April 10 and was 4-for-4 with a run scored in a win over Wake Forest April 29. He has stolen three bases or more in a game five times this season and leads the team with 11 sacrifice hits and 12 hit-by-pitches.   Rice is hitting .374 with 17 doubles, seven home runs and 55 RBI for the Chanticleers. He is in the top-10 in the Big South in hits, doubles and RBI. He hit for the cycle in the first four innings in a win over VMI May 9 and was named the Big South Co-Player of the Week April 6 after hitting .600 with two home runs in five games played. He hit two home runs April 3 against Gardner-Webb and was 4-for-5 with six RBI in a win over Wake Forest April 29. Rice has a .436 on-base percentage and leads the team with 211 at-bats.   Bortnick is hitting .373 with 12 doubles, 10 home runs and 41 RBI in 56 games for Coastal Carolina.  He has a .582 slugging percentage and a .476 on-base percentage while leading the team with 24 multi-hit games. He had a 13-game hitting streak to open the season and had two home runs in a win over Elon April 7. Bortnick went 4-for-4 with three runs scored in a win over VMI May 9 and hit .382 in Big South contests. He was 3-for-5 with three RBI in a win over Radford April 11 and is second on the team with 59 runs scored. Bortnick earns his second-straight All-Conference Second Team honor.   Bowman is hitting .335 with 12 doubles, two triples, 10 home runs and 48 RBI for Coastal Carolina this season. He tied the Coastal Carolina freshman home run record in a win over VMI and had five RBI in the win over High Point April 17. He had six hits and five runs scored in the Radford series and was 2-for-4 with a double and a home run in a win over Gardner-Webb April 5. Bowman has not made an error in the outfield this season and is slugging .569 on the season. In Big South games, Bowman is hitting .381 with six home runs.   Fleet, who has a 3.75 grade-point average in business management and graduated from Coastal Carolina May 9, is 6-2 with a 4.22 ERA in 12 appearances for the Chanticleers. He was a CoSIDA Academic All-District Second Team selection this season and was Coastal Carolina’s male nominee for the Big South’s Christenberry Award. Fleet struck out six in six innings of work in a win over Tennessee March 17 and did the same thing Feb. 21 in a win over Kentucky. Fleet’s latest performance came May 16 against Charleston Southern, when he struck out three in three innings of work in the 3-1 win. He has five strikeouts in his last two relief outings.   In other specialty awards, Radford’s Jeff Kemp was named the Freshman of the Year while Gardner-Webb’s Jon Ahearn was the League’s Scholar-Athlete of the Year.   Coastal Carolina will continue the 2009 Royal Purple Big South Baseball Championships Thursday, May 21 against either Liberty or Radford at 3 p.m., in Asheville, N.C.