CCU picked to win East; Chavers, Weiss named preseason All-Sun Belt

Coastal will open up the season on Feb. 19 versus No. 16 Duke

CCU picked to win East; Chavers, Weiss named preseason All-Sun Belt
CCU picked to win East; Chavers, Weiss named preseason All-Sun Belt (Source: Coastal Carolina Athletics)

NEW ORLEANS – The Coastal Carolina Chanticleers were picked to finish first in the Sun Belt Conference East Division and received a total of 10 first-place votes in the 2021 Sun Belt Conference Baseball Preseason Coaches’ Poll, the league announced on Monday.

The Chanticleers also had two student-athletes named to the preseason All-Sun Belt team in redshirt junior outfielder Parker Chavers and sophomore third baseman Cooper Weiss.

Still the defending champions with last year’s championship being canceled, the Chanticleers garnered 69 total points, including 10 first-place votes. Behind the Chanticleers in the East Division preseason rankings were South Alabama and Georgia Southern, who tied for second with 51 points, Troy in fourth with 44 points, Appalachian State in fifth with 21 points, and Georgia State picked sixth with 16 points.

In the West Division, Texas State was voted to finish first with 65 points and six first-place votes. The Bobcats were picked in front of UTA (58 points), Louisiana (52 points), Little Rock (33 points), ULM (27 points), and Arkansas State (13 points).

A 2021 Collegiate Baseball preseason All-America first team pick and a Perfect Game preseason All-America third team selection, Chavers returns to the lineup in 2021 after missing the 2020 season while recovering from offseason surgery.

Chavers, who was a 2020 Baseball AmericaPerfect Game, and D1 Baseball preseason All-American last year before the 2020 season, played in and started 57 games in 2019 as a sophomore. He hit .316 with 15 home runs, four triples, nine doubles, 54 RBIs, and 54 runs scored on the year, while also posting a team-high .612 slugging percentage, an on-base percentage of .435, and swiped 10 stolen bases on the year. 

In 2019, the Alabama native ranked second in the Sun Belt in triples (4), third in slugging percentage (.612), fourth in home runs (15), sixth in total bases (128), fifth in walks (39), seventh in RBIs (54), and 10th in runs scored (54). He hit .323 with five home runs, three triples, eight doubles, 18 RBIs, and 23 runs scored in 25 conference games while also recording a .634 slugging percentage in Sun Belt play. 

Chavers also totaled 16 multi-hit games and was second on the team with 18 multi-RBI games, which included a career-high five-hit game twice and a career-high five RBIs versus Michigan State. 

A two-time All-Sun Belt selection, earning first team honors in 2019 and second team accolades in 2018, Chavers was a 2019 ABCA/Rawlings Atlantic All-Region second team member his sophomore season after earning Baseball AmericaCollegiate Baseball, and D1Baseball Freshman All-America honors in 2018.

A 2020 Collegiate Baseball Freshman All-American and recognized by D1Baseball as the Most Impressive Freshman in the Sun Belt Conference last season, Weiss will look to continue his strong start to his CCU career in 2021.

Last season, Weiss played in 15 games, starting 12 at third base. He led the team in hitting at .372 with two home runs, five doubles, and 14 RBIs, which ranked 10th in the Sun Belt overall. He recorded five doubles, which were a team-high and were tied for eighth in the Sun Belt, and posted a .628 slugging percentage on the year, which ranked ninth in the Sun Belt. Weiss also scored 13 runs and stole five bases on the season, which ranked 12th in the conference.

The Florida native totaled four multi-hit games and four multi-RBI games on the year and was on a three-game hitting streak when the season was abruptly canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic in mid-March.

The Chants will open up the 2021 season hosting the preseason nationally-ranked Duke Blue Devils in a three-game series on Opening Weekend, Feb. 19-21, at Springs Brooks Stadium.

Sun Belt Conference Preseason Coaches’ Poll

East Division (first-place votes)

1. Coastal Carolina – 69 (10)

2. South Alabama – 51 (1)

Georgia Southern - 51 (1)

4. Troy - 44

5. Appalachian State – 21

6. Georgia State - 16

West Division (first-place votes)

1. Texas State – 65 (6)

2. UTA – 58 (4)

3. Louisiana - 52 (2)

4. Little Rock - 33

5. ULM - 27

6. Arkansas State - 13

Preseason Player of the Year

Ethan Wilson (OF), South Alabama

Preseason Pitcher of the Year

Aaron Funk (RHP), Little Rock

Preseason All-Sun Belt

Aaron Funk (RHP), Little Rock

Jordan Jackson (RHP), Georgia Southern

Conor Angel (RHP), Louisiana

Wyatt Divis (RHP), UTA

Lance Johnson (RHP), Troy

Caleb Bartolero (C), Troy

William Sullivan (1B), Troy

Luke Drumheller (2B), App State

Drew Frederic (SS), Troy

Cooper Weiss (3B), Coastal Carolina

Ethan Wilson (OF), South Alabama

Parker Chavers (OF), Coastal Carolina

Rigsby Mosley (OF), Troy

Andrew Beesley (UTL), ULM

Elian Merejo (DH), Georgia State

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