Liberty outfielder Michael Robertson
The Liberty Flames have been selected to finish second in the Big South Conference standings this season, as the league'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 one first place vote and garnered 98 points, one more point than Radford, in being selected to finish second in the Big South Conference standings this spring.
The Flames placed second in the conference standings for the second consecutive year last season and the third in the past four years. Liberty posted an 18-9 conference mark and a 35-24 overall record in 2011.
After having a school-record and Big South-record seven players selected in the 2011 Major League Baseball Draft, the Flames will have a different look in 2012, mixing 16 newcomers with 16 returners from last season's roster.
Five-time defending Big South champion 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. In addition, Coastal Carolina pitcher Josh Conway was selected the conference's Preseason Pitcher of the Year.
After Liberty and Radford, Winthrop was selected to finish fourth, garnering 76 points. Gardner-Webb edged Charleston Southern by one vote for fifth in the voting with 66 points. VMI garnered 64 points in being selected seventh. Rounding out the poll are High Point with 59 points, Campbell with 31 points, Presbyterian College with 30 points and UNC Asheville with 20 points.
Presbyterian College's Brad Zebedis, a 2011 All-American, was tabbed the conference's Preseason Player of the Year.
Liberty begins its 2012 season on Feb. 17 at the Citadel Challenge in Charleston, S.C., against the Richmond Spiders. Game time is scheduled for Noon. The Flames will open it's the 2012 home schedule at Worthington Stadium on Feb. 21, when Liberty hosts the Radford Highlanders for a nonconference game. The contest is scheduled to begin at 3 p.m.
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