Liberty outfielder Will Shepherd
The Liberty Flames have been selected to finish third in the Big South standings in 2016, as the conference's annual preseason baseball poll was released this afternoon by the league's office. The poll is voted on by the conference's head coaches.
Liberty received 99 points in being tabbed to finish the league's regular season in third.
Led by senior shortstop Dalton Britt and junior outfielder Will Shepherd, Liberty returns 17 players from last year's 33-22 squad. Other key returners to ninth-year head coach Jim Toman's team include senior pitcher Victor Cole, first baseman/outfielder Andrew Yacyk and junior corner infielder Sammy Taormina.
Coastal Carolina was chosen to finish the year as the conference's top team. The Chanticleers received 10 first-place votes and 120 total points in the poll. Coastal Carolina was followed by Winthrop, who garnered 102 points.
After the Flames in third, High Point was selected to finish fourth with 83 points. Defending Big South Champion Radford was picked fifth with 81 points, followed by Campbell, which garnered the final first place vote, selected sixth with 74 points. Charleston Southern received 52 points in being selected seventh, while Longwood was chosen eighth with 40 points. Presbyterian with 31 points, Gardner-Webb with 23 points and UNC Asheville with 21 points round out the poll.
The Flames will begin their 24-game Big South Conference slate with a three-game series at Liberty Baseball Stadium against UNC Asheville, March 24-26. The 2016 Big South Baseball Championship is slated for May 24-28 at a site yet to be determined.
The Big South head coaches also named High Point outfielder Josh Greene the conference's Preseason Player of the Year and tabbed Winthrop left-hander Matt Crohan the Preseason Pitcher of the Year.
Liberty opens its 2016 campaign with a three-game series at South Florida, Feb. 19-21 in Tampa, Fla.
The Flames are scheduled to begin their 29-game home schedule at Liberty Baseball Stadium with a three-game series against UConn on March 4-6. Season tickets are on sale now and can be purchased online here (Liberty Baseball Season Tickets).
2016 Big South Preseason Poll
Coastal Carolina (10)
Note: Points are based on a weighted system. First-place votes received 11 points, followed by 10 points for second place, and so on.
Preseason Player of the Year: Josh Greene, High Point Preseason Pitcher of the Year: Matt Crohan, Winthrop
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