SoCon Coaches Pick Baseball Second in Annual Preseason Poll
SPARTANBURG, S.C. - The Georgia Southern Baseball team was selected second by the Southern Conference coaches in their annual preseason coaches poll. The Eagles finished with 81 points and were tied with Elon for the second spot. Shawn Payne (Stone Mountain, Ga.) and Eric Phillips (Carrollton, Ga.) represented Georgia Southern on the Preseason All-Conference Teams. Payne was a first team selection in the outfield, while Phillips was selected to the second team at shortstop.
"Deservedly, College of Charleston is the pre-season pick to finish first," said Head Coach Rodney Hennon. "Obviously, one of our team goals is to win the SoCon Regular Season title. Our players and coaches are looking forward to the challenge of the 2011 Season."
Payne who hit .345 with 15 doubles and five home runs last year, was named to the All-SoCon Second Team. The senior outfielder was a 44th round pick by the Kansas City Royals this past summer after stealing 43 bases in 45 attempts. Payne nabbed 38 bases before being caught for the first time last year.
Phillips was a Second Team All-SoCon Selection last season after hitting .342 with seven home runs and 56 RBIs. The junior infielder tied with Kyle Blackburn for the longest hit streak on the team last year. He collected a hit in 14-straight games and batted .455 with three homers during that stretch.
"It is always a nice honor for our players to be recognized. Both Eric and Shawn will once again play key roles this year and both are working hard to keep improving and be quality leaders for our team," said Hennon.
GSU was also picked to finish fourth in a poll of the league's media. The Eagles finished 13 points behind Elon. The College of Charleston was tabbed first in both polls. The Citadel was second in the media poll and received one first place vote.
Western Carolina finished just behind Georgia Southern in both polls and received a first place vote in each of them. The Citadel was picked fifth in the coaches poll following the Catamounts. Appalachian State, Samford, Furman, UNC Greensboro, Wofford and Davidson rounded out the coaches poll.
Cole Rakar of Charleston was named the Preseason Player of the Year, while Matt Talley of The Citadel was tabbed the Preseason Pitcher of the Year. Raker led the SoCon in hits, doubles and batted .378 last season. Talley went 8-3 with a 3.71 ERA in 16 starts a year ago.
Baseball kicks off its 2011 season Friday, February 18th against George Washington at J.I. Clements Stadium. The Eagles will play 14 of their first 16 games at home and will face seven teams that advanced to a NCAA Regional a year ago.
Season tickets are currently on sale through the Georgia Southern Athletic Ticket Office at 800-GSU-WINS or online at GeorgiaSouthernEagles.com/tickets.
- Category: Baseball
- Published on Thursday, 10 February 2011 15:11