The College of Charleston Cougars were tabbed as the top baseball team in the Southern Conference by a vote of the league's coaches, the conference office announced on Wednesday.
In the annual preseason coaches poll, the Cougars narrowly edged out rival Georgia Southern with six first-place votes and one more point than the Eagles. Georgia Southern, the league's defending tournament champion, won the media vote while the College of Charleston was picked second. Samford and Elon landed in the third and fourth spots in each poll.
The Cougars also sported four players on the coaches preseason All-SoCon squads with redshirt-sophomore Daniel Aldrich and junior Christian Powell making the first team. Seniors Marty Gantt and Josh Renfro were picked for the second team.
Georgia Southern's Victor Roache won the preseason Player of the Year nod, while teammate Chris Beck was tabbed as the preseason Pitcher of the Year.
College of Charleston finished 39-22 in 2011 and tied for third place in the Southern Conference with a league record of 18-12. The Cougars return the entire starting rotation in Powell, Renfro, Jake Zokan and David Peterson, who will move to the bullpen. College of Charleston will also look to its NCBWA Preseason First Team All-America selection in Aldrich to anchor the heart of the lineup and team with Gantt in the outfield.
The Cougars open the season with a weekend series at South Alabama starting on Feb. 17 at 7:30 p.m. ET. The CofC home opener will come on Feb. 24 at 5 p.m. against Rhode Island as a part of the Cougar Invitational. Season and individual game tickets are available by calling 843-953-COFC.