Outfielder Will Shepherd
The Liberty Flames have been selected to finish third in the Big South standings in 2017, 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 78 points in being tabbed to finish the league's regular season in third place. It is the second straight year that the Flames have been picked to finish third. Liberty also garnered two of the 10 first place votes.
Liberty will start a new chapter in 2017 as Scott Jackson enters his first season at the helm of the program. Jackson's squad will have 14 seniors led by Big South All-Conference first team utility player Andrew Yayck and outfielder Will Shepherd. 2016 Freshman All-American D.J. Artis is also expected to be another key returnee for the Flames.
High Point was chosen to finish the year as the conference's top team. The Panthers received four first-place votes and 92 total points in the poll. High Point was followed by Campbell, which garnered two first place votes and 81 points.
After the Flames in third, Winthrop was selected to finish fourth with 63 points. Longwood received one first place vote and was picked fifth with 61 points. Gardner-Webb garnered the final first place vote and was tabbed sixth with 59 points.
Radford was chosen seventh with 50 points, while Presbyterian with 32 points, Charleston Southern with 19 points and UNC Asheville with 15 points round the poll.
The Flames will begin their 24-game Big South Conference slate with a three-game series at Liberty Baseball Stadium against High Point, March 17-19. The top eight teams in the final conference standings will move on to the 2017 Big South Baseball Championship, May 23-27, at the Lexington County Baseball Stadium in Lexington, S.C.
Gardner-Webb second baseman/outfielder Collin Thacker was selected the conference's Preseason Player of the Year, while Winthrop left-hander Matt Crohan was tabbed the Preseason Pitcher of the Year.
Liberty opens its 2017 campaign against Virginia, ranked as high as 16th in the national preseason polls, on Feb. 17 in the Charleston Crab House Shootout at Riley Park in Charleston, S.C.
Liberty is scheduled to begin its 27-game home schedule at Liberty Baseball Stadium on Feb. 22 versus Kentucky. Season tickets are on sale now and can be purchased online. (Liberty Baseball Season Tickets).
2017 Big South Preseason Poll
High Point (4)
Note: Points are based on a weighted system. First-place votes received 10 points, followed by nine points for second place, and so on.
Preseason Player of the Year: Collin Thacker, Gardner-Webb
Preseason Pitcher of the Year: Matt Crohan, Winthrop
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