Press Releare from Sun Belt Conference
The reigning Sun Belt baseball regular season and tournament champions, the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers, and the Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns are the East and West Division favorites, respectively, in the Sun Belt Conference baseball preseason coaches’ poll heading into the 2019 season.
The Chanticleers finished the season with a 43-19 record, including a 23-7 Sun Belt mark. CCU swept through the tournament to earn the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA tournament and hosted its fourth NCAA Regional. This year, the Chants return 21 players from that squad. Coastal Carolina has been ranked in five top 25 preseason ranking services: Collegiate Baseball (No. 12), D1Baseball (No. 21), USA Today (No. 22), Baseball America (No. 23) and Perfect Game (No. 25). CCU was second in the league in both hitting and pitching. The Chants hit .290 as a team in 2018 and had a 4.03 team ERA. Coastal led the league in home runs with 81 and runs scored at 499. Coastal garnered all 12 first-place votes in the East for a total of 72 points.
South Alabama was picked to finish second behind the Chanticleers, totaling 52 points. Troy, the runner-up in the Sun Belt tournament final, was picked to finish third in the East with 48 points.
Louisiana won the West a season ago with an 18-12 mark in league play and a 34-25 overall record. The Ragin' Cajuns led the league in fielding with only 48 errors in 59 games. Louisiana returns 11 starters from last year’s team and will get former Sun Belt Pitcher of the Year, Gunner Leger, back this season as he sat out all of 2018 with an injury. The Ragin' Cajuns tallied 71 points in the poll with 11 first-place votes. Texas State finished second in the West a season ago and was picked to finish in that same spot in 2019, tallying 55 points. Little Rock earned the final first-place vote in the West as the Trojans garnered 48 points, picked to finish third in the West.
The 2019 baseball season begins on Friday, February 15. The 2019 Sun Belt Conference Baseball Championship is set for May 21-26 at Springs Brooks Stadium on the campus of Coastal Carolina University.
2019 Sun Belt Conference Baseball Coaches’ Preseason Poll
first-place votes in parentheses
1. Coastal Carolina (12) - 72 pts
2. South Alabama - 52 pts
3. Troy - 48 pts
4. Georgia Southern - 43 pts
5. Georgia State - 24 pts
6. Appalachian State - 13 pts
1. Louisiana (11) - 71 pts
2. Texas State - 55 pts
3. Little Rock (1) - 48 pts
4. UTA - 36 pts
5. Arkansas State - 24 pts
6. ULM - 18 pts