RICHMOND, Va. --- College of Charleston is picked to finish second in the Colonial Athletic Association South Division in a vote of the league’s nine head coaches announced CAA officials Friday. Senior first baseman Ari Sechopoulos and freshman starter Caswell Smith were each named to the Preseason All-CAA team while junior outfielder Donald Hansis garnered Preseason All-CAA Honorable Mention recognition.
The Cougars saw a promising 2020 season cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic after winning 12 of their first 14 games, including key victories over No. 21 Clemson and VCU. Charleston will return all but five players from last year’s squad in 2021, including fifth-year seniors Harrison Hawkins, Jordan Carr, Tradd James, Luke Stageberg, Steven Cook and Sechopoulos.
Sechopoulos was well on his way to a statement season last spring batting .360 with 10 extra-base hits and a CAA-best 20 RBI through 14 games. The sure-handed first baseman carries a .989 career fielding percentage into the season to go along with career totals of 25 doubles, 18 home runs, and 73 RBI in 115 career starts.
Smith burst onto the scene in his freshman season compiling a 3-0 record with a 1.35 earned run average and 20 strikeouts over his first four collegiate starts. The right-handed flamethrower is expected to partner with Carr once again to form one of the most fearsome 1-2 punches in the CAA this spring.
Hansis garners Preseason All-CAA Honorable Mention after clubbing a team-high five homers in 13 games last season, highlighted by a 3-for-4 effort with two home runs – including a first-inning grand slam – and six RBI in the Cougars’ 11-2 win at Clemson on Mar. 4. The junior outfielder batted .289 with two doubles, five home runs and 14 RBI in 2021 and figures to slot into the middle of the Cougars’ batting order this season.
The UNCW Seahawks are picked to finish first in the CAA’s South Division this season with 35 points and seven first-place votes. Charleston is tabbed to claim second with 30 points and two first-place votes followed by Elon (18), James Madison (17) and William & Mary (10). Northeastern sits atop the North Division Preseason Poll with 29 points and eight first-place votes followed by Delaware in second with 19 points and one first-place vote. Hofstra and Towson occupy the final two spots in the North Division with totals of 16 and 12 points, respectively.
2021 CAA BASEBALL PRESEASON PREDICTED ORDER OF FINISH
1. Northeastern (8 first-place votes) 29
2. Delaware (1 first-place vote) 19
3. Hofstra 16
4. Towson 12
1. UNCW (7 first-place votes) 35
2. Charleston (2 first-place votes) 30
3. Elon 18
4. James Madison 17
5. William & Mary 10
2021 PRESEASON ALL-CAA BASEBALL TEAM
Player, School Pos. Cl. Hometown
Matthew Trehub, William & Mary C Sr. Southborough, Mass.
Joseph Carpenter, Delaware IF So. Cornwall, Pa.
Ian Fair, Northeastern IF Jr. Walpole, Mass.
Austin Gauthier, Hofstra IF Sr. Lorton, Va.
Scott Holzwasser, Northeastern IF Sr. Sudbury, Mass.
Ari Sechopoulos, Charleston IF Sr. Windsor, Ontario
Cole Weiss, UNCW IF Sr. Winston-Salem, N.C.
Noah Bridges, UNCW OF Jr. Benson, N.C.
Chase DeLauter, James Madison OF Fr. Martinsburg, W.Va.
Jared Dupere, Northeastern OF So. Amesbury, Mass.
Anthony D’Onofrio, Hofstra OF Jr. Wantagh, N.Y.
Jack Cone, William & Mary UT So. Fairfax Station, Va.
Kyle Novak, James Madison DH So. Oakton, Va.
Landen Roupp, UNCW SP Jr. Rocky Mount, N.C.
Justin Showalter, James Madison SP Jr. Bridgewater, Va.
Caswell Smith, Charleston SP Fr. Ball Ground, Ga.
Jared Wetherbee, Elon SP Jr. Fisksdale, Mass.
Brandon Dufrault, Northeastern RP Jr. Windham, N.H.
Bryce Greenly, Delaware RP Fr. Milford, Del.
Adam Smith, UNCW RP Fr. Hampstead, N.C.
CAA Preseason Player of the Year: Landon Roupp, UNCW