Cougars and Elon preseason pick to win the SoCon

SPARTANBURG, S.C. - Elon is the preseason selection to win the Southern Conference in balloting of the league's 11 head coaches, while the league's media have picked College of Charleston to win the conference, the SoCon announced Thursday.

The Phoenix claimed five first-place votes and 93 total points in the coaches' poll, in which coaches were not allowed to vote for their own teams. Elon finished 20-10 in SoCon play last season, a game out of first place. The Phoenix return four Preseason All-SoCon selections this year in first-team starting pitcher Dylan Clark, catcher Alex Swim and first baseman Ryan Kinsella and second-team relief pitcher Nate Young.

Western Carolina, which returns its entire starting rotation, picked up three first-place votes and narrowly edged College of Charleston for second place in the coaches' poll, collecting 88 points. The Cougars, who shared the regular-season SoCon title with Appalachian State and earned an at-large NCAA selection in 2012, nabbed the remaining three first-place votes and had 87 points. CofC boasts Preseason SoCon Pitcher of the Year Matt Pegler.

Last season's SoCon tournament champion, Samford, was picked fourth by the coaches with 65 points and is led by Preseason Player of the Year Phillip Ervin.

Fifth-place Georgia Southern finished one point shy of Samford in the balloting with 64 points. Appalachian State, which also earned an NCAA at-large bid in 2012, was sixth with 61 points, followed by Furman (42 points), The Citadel (39), UNCG (37), Wofford (16) and Davidson (13).

In the media poll, CofC earned 10 first-place votes and totaled 195 points. Elon was second with 185 points and four first-place votes, while Samford earned three first-place votes and 152 points. Appalachian State was fourth with a first-place vote and 143 points, edging fifth-place Georgia Southern, which grabbed 142 points.

Western Carolina was picked sixth with 139 points, followed by The Citadel (87 points), Furman (74), UNCG (73), Wofford (41) and Davidson (23).

The 2013 season opens for all 11 league teams on Friday, Feb. 15. This season's SoCon tournament returns to Greenville, S.C., and will be played at Fluor Field from May 22-26.


2013 Preseason Southern Conference Coaches Poll

Place Team (1st-place votes) Points

1. Elon (5) 93

2. Western Carolina (3) 88

3. College of Charleston (3) 87

4. Samford 65

5. Georgia Southern 64

6. Appalachian State 61

7. Furman 42

8. The Citadel 39

9. UNCG 37

10. Wofford 16

11. Davidson 13



2013 Preseason Southern Conference Media Poll

Place Team (1st-place votes) Points

1. College of Charleston (10) 195

2. Elon (4) 185

3. Samford (3) 152

4. Appalachian State (1) 143

5. Georgia Southern 142

6. Western Carolina 139

7. The Citadel 87

8. Furman 74

9. UNCG 73

10. Wofford 41

11. Davidson 23