Sun Belt's Softball Preseason Coaches' Poll Released

       

Feb. 1, 2018

2017-18 Clear Bag Policy

New Orleans, La. -

After finishing eighth in their inaugural season in the Sun Belt Conference, the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers were voted by the coaches to tie for seventh in the 2018 Preseason Coaches' poll that was announced on Thursday. Coastal will look to improve on their 32-23 overall record with a 10-16 mark in conference.

The Chants return 13 players from a year ago that are led by redshirt senior Amanda Daneker, seniors Kailey Mellen and Timi Tooley and junior Ashley Guillette.

In 2017, Tooley was the defensive leader in the outfield as she started all 55 games in centerfield while having an outfield-high five assists. At the plate, the senior tied for second on the team with 10 doubles.

Mellen played in all 55 games and saw time at three different positions. The majority of her playing time came as the designated player where she saw action in 32 games. The Arizona native hit .319 and had 12 doubles, which were good for second on the Chanticleers club.

After returning from a 2016 injury, Daneker came back last season but again was limited to 40 games due to injury. The Pennsylvania native was able to hit .265, highlighted by seven multi-hit games, including a three out of five game stretch which saw her have at least two hits.

The redshirt senior is looking to return to her 2014 and 2015 form where she was named to the Big South All-Freshman Team and to the conference's second team both years. In 2014, Daneker hit .304 and hit seven round-trippers. 2015 was even better as the then-sophomore had a career-high .340 batting average, seven doubles, and six home runs.

Guillette is the lone Chanticleer pitcher to return from last season's squad as she ended up with a team-high 13 wins and staff-best 2.48 ERA which was 7th best in the Sun Belt. She also led the conference with four saves and allowed opponents to hit a paltry .191 while striking out 182 (3rd best in the Sun Belt) in 149.2 innings.

In a tight poll at the top, Texas State amassed 95 points and took six of the first-place votes. Just right behind Bobcats are the defending Sun Belt champions and hosts of the 2018 Sun Belt Softball Championship, Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns who earned 92 points and four first-place votes. Georgia State, who finished third in the standings a year ago earned 80 points for third in the season's pre-season poll. South Alabama, who also finished fourth in standings in 2017, has been nominated for fourth with 72 points.

To round out the bottom six teams; University Louisiana-Monroe (46 points), University Texas-Arlington (42), Coastal Carolina (38), Georgia Southern (38), Troy (34), and Appalachian State (13). The Chanticleers open the season at home on February 10th hosting its annual Kickin' Chicken Classic (Feb. 9-11) tournament. The field includes Iowa State, Saint Francis, UNCG, and Presbyterian.

2018 SUN BELT SOFTBALL PRESEASON POLL

Rank Team (First-Place Votes) Points
1 Texas State (6) 95
2 Louisiana (4) 92
3 Georgia State 80
4 South Alabama 72
5 ULM 46
6 UTA 42
7 Coastal Carolina 38
Georgia Southern 38
9 Troy 34
10 Appalachian State 14

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