Bowman, Burke lead seven Chants on all-Big South team

Coastal Carolina senior Daniel Bowman (Bridgewater, Va.) and Chanticleers’ head coach Gary Gilmore have been voted Big South baseball Player of the Year and Coach of the Year, respectively, by the League’s head coaches, it was announced this evening at a special awards presentation held on the campus of High Point University.

In addition, Radford junior Eddie Butler (Chesapeake, Va.) and Coastal junior Aaron Burke (Shawnee, Kan.) were voted Big South Co-Pitchers of the Year, while Liberty first baseman Alex Close (Hoover, Ala.) earned Freshman of the Year honors.  Coastal Carolina’s Tucker Frawley (Lexington, S.C.) was voted Scholar-Athlete of the Year by the Big South’s sports information directors.

Bowman finished the regular-season as the Big South’s second-leading hitter with a .383 batting average, as well as second in the League in hits (82), triples (5) and slugging percentage (.565).  He is tied for first with 121 total bases, is third in runs scored with 52 and ranks in the Top 10 in stolen bases and RBI.  Bowman also batted .400 in Conference games, the second-highest average against Big South foes, and was tops in hits (38) and triples (4) while ranking third in runs (24), fifth in RBI (20), third in slugging (.611) and fourth in on-base percentage (.467).

For the first time since the Pitcher of the Year award began in 2007, two hurlers tied for the top spot in the voting.  Butler is the first Radford pitcher to win the honor, while Burke is the fifth Chanticleer to be named Pitcher of the Year — and first true reliever to be recognized.  Both players received five first-place votes and 22 points, ahead of Liberty’s John Niggli (18 total points and the remaining first-place vote).

Burke tied for the League-lead with 32 appearances this season, all out of the bullpen.  He accounted for 15 of Coastal’s wins this season — tying for the Conference-high with eight wins while saving another seven contests.  Burke’s current 1.22 earned run average is tops in the Big South and is pacing ahead of the Conference single-season record, and he has been ranked among the Top 5 nationally in ERA all season.  Of his 32 appearances, he has pitched 2.0-plus innings 19 times.  In Conference games, Burke allowed just one earned run in 29.1 innings on the mound (0.31 ERA).  He won three games and saved four, and held League foes to a .190 batting average.  During a five-outing span, Burke went 4-0 with a save (wins at Clemson, two at Liberty and game one vs. Campbell, with the save coming in game two against the Camels).

Gilmore is now the first eight-time Coach of the Year recipient, and receives his sixth award in eight years.  Gilmore led his Chanticleers to their sixth consecutive regular-season title, tying the Big South record first set by Coastal from 1988-93, and owns the nation’s top ERA at 2.49 — which is on pace to break the Conference’s single-season mark.  Gilmore’s squad finished the Big South slate with an 18-5 mark and was tops in the League season in batting (.303) and pitching (2.34).  The Chanticleers’ 25 overall saves this year also broke the Big South single-season record.  During the 2012 campaign, Gilmore became the Big South’s all-time winningest baseball coach for Conference victories and overall wins, and directed the Chanticleers to wins over notable programs Iowa, N.C. State, Ohio State, Michigan, College of Charleston and Clemson.

Frawley, the third Coastal Carolina player to be voted Baseball Scholar-Athlete of the Year, is a First-Team Capital One/CoSIDA Academic All-District 4 honoree and a candidate for Academic All-America honors.  A Semifinalist for the Johnny Bench Award, Frawley graduated earlier this month Summa Cum Laude with a 3.94 GPA in physics, and enters the Big South Tournament with a .308 batting average while throwing out more than 52 percent of runners trying to steal.

Also making the all-conference first team for Coastal were senior Rich Witten, Burke and Frawley. Alex Buccilli and pitchers Josh Conway, Tyler Herb and Ryan Connolly earned second-team honors.

Photo by Joel Beachum

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