It took just one season, but the College of Charleston baseball program is already making a name for itself in the Colonial Athletic Association.
The Cougars, which captured the CAA tournament title and advanced to the NCAA Super Regionals in its first season as a league member, was a unanimous choice to repeat as champions in 2015 according to a vote of the league’s head baseball coaches.
The Cougars received all eight possible first-place votes (coaches can’t vote for their own team) and finished on top of the poll with 64 points.
UNC Wilmington got the remaining first-place vote and was picked second with 52 points, while defending regular-season champion William & Mary was chosen third with 51 points. Elon was the fourth-place choice with 43 points, followed by Northeastern (37 points) and Delaware (29 points). Hofstra and James Madison tied for seventh with 19 points and Towson garnered 10 points.
The Cougars were 44-19 in 2014 and became just the fourth No. 4 seed to advance to the NCAA Super Regionals after sweeping through the Gainesville Regional with victories over SEC champion Florida and Long Beach State.
The Cougars, who are ranked No. 25 in Collegiate Baseball’s preseason poll, returns its top two starting pitchers in sophomore Bailey Ober, who went 10-3 with a 1.52 ERA and earned NCBWA Freshman Pitcher of the Year honors, and junior Taylor Clarke, who was 10-4 with a 2.51 ERA and received second-team All-CAA accolades. The Cougars have six starters back, including second-team All-CAA third baseman Carl Wise (.295, 54 RBIs), second baseman Blake Butler (.282, 48 runs) and outfielder Morgan Phillips (.247, 14 doubles).
UNCW, which has won 30 or more games in 15 of the past 16 seasons, welcomes back five starters from last year’s 30-27 squad.
The conference also announced its preseason all-conference team, with Elon’s Casey Jones receiving preseason Player of the Year honors. Wise and Ober were named to the preseason team.