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Moore Named Preseason's Top Player; Liberty Predicted To Finish Third In Big South

January 25, 2007  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Moore has been named this year's Preseason Player of the Year.

Moore has been named this year's Preseason Player of the Year.

For the second year in a row, Liberty's Jessica Moore has been tabbed the Big South Preseason Softball Player of the Year, as announced by the conference office today. Coming off a record-setting year, the Lady Flames are predicted to finish in third place in this year's conference preseason poll. 

Last year's Big South Championship runner-up, Radford, was the league's selection to take home the 2007 crown, as the Highlanders received nine first-place nods and 65 out of a possible 72 total points. Coastal Carolina, last year's league champion, is predicted to finish second, as the Chanticleers pulled in three first-place votes and 56 points. 

Liberty finished closely behind Coastal Carolina with 52 points. The Lady Flames posted a 41-23 record last year, tying the 1999 school record for most victories in a season. Liberty is poised to make another run this year, as the Lady Flames return 13 letterwinners from last year's squad. The veterans will be complemented by a group of five new talented freshmen who have been added to the roster. 

Finishing below the Lady Flames in the annual poll, as voted on by the league's head coaches and sports information directors, was Winthrop in fourth place with 33 points, Birmingham-Southern in fifth with 26 points and Charleston Southern in sixth place with 20 points. 

Moore (Sr., SS, Chesapeake, Va.), an unanimous pick for this year's preseason award and the 2005 Big South Player of the Year, was the only player in the Big South to finish 2006 ranked in four different national statistical categories. 

Moore ranked second in runs scored (1.21 per game), eighth in slugging percentage (.813), 10th in home runs (0.33 per game) and 42nd in batting average (.399). Moore broke her own school record with 21 home runs last year and has tallied 39 career long balls. 

Taking home the league's other top individual preseason honor was Radford senior pitcher Ashley Taylor, who was an unanimous selection for Preseason Pitcher of the Year. Last year, the right-hander went 20-9, led the league with a 1.20 ERA and was tied for second with 213 strikeouts. 

The Lady Flames open their 2007 campaign on Feb. 17 when they travel to Boiling Springs, N.C., to square off against future Big South opponent Gardner-Webb for a doubleheader.

2007 Big South Conference Preseason Softball Poll (combined votes)  Rk  Team (first-place votes)      1   2   3   4   5   6   Points  1.  Radford (9)                   54  5   -   6   -   -   65  2.  Coastal Carolina (3)          18  15  20  3   -   -   56  3.  Liberty                       -   25  24  3   -   -   52  4.  Winthrop                      -   5   4   12  12  -   33  5.  Birmingham-Southern           -   10  -   6   4   6   26  6.  Charleston Southern           -   -   -   6   8   6   20