Seven Chants claim honors from Big South Conference

ccubase-roadThe Coastal Carolina baseball program had seven players honored by the Big South Conference on Monday.

As voted upon by the league’s head coaches, Bobby Holmes was named Big South Freshman of the Year and second team all-conference while Anthony Marks (OF), Michael Paez (INF) and Austin Kerr (Starting Pitcher) were named first team All-Big South. Connor Owings (Utility) joined Holmes (Relief Pitcher) on the second team and Alex Cunningham (Starting Pitcher) was named honorable mention. Tyler Chadwick was tabbed Academic All-Big South by the conference sports information directors for the second consecutive year.

Holmes (Athens, Ga./Oconee County HS) becomes the fourth Chanticleer to be named Big South Freshman (Rookie) of the Year, joining Brooks Marzka (1998), Scott Woodward (2008) and Seth Lamando (2013). Holmes was 4-0 with three saves in 24 appearances (two starts). In 51.1 innings, he struck out 47 with just 13 walks and held opponents to a .211 batting average. He was named Big South Pitcher of the Week once as he pitched six scoreless innings in Coastal’s win at then #7 Florida State. In league games, Holmes was 2-0 with two saves and a 2.16 ERA. He struck out 20 in 25.0 innings, with just four walks, and held opponents to a mere .204 batting average.

Marks (Coraopolis, Pa./Montour HS) ranks 37th in the NCAA 54 scored. Among the Big South leaders, Marks ranked among the league’s top six in batting (.355, 5th); runs scored (54; 2nd); hits (75, 4th); stolen bases (16, 6th) and on base percentage (.439, 5th). In conference play, the junior was second in runs scored (26), fifth in hits (35) and eighth in on base percentage (.434). Marks, one of two Chants to start all 53 games, reached base safely (hit/walk/hit by pitch) in 49 contests and had at lead one hit in 44.

Paez (Miami, Fla./Sunset HS) is one of 25 players listed on the Brooks Wallace Award “watch list” for the nation’s top shortstop. The sophomore ranks ninth in the NCAA with 14 sacrifice bunts with the runner he advanced on those bunts coming around to score 11 times. The two-time Big South Player of the Week was the only player in the Big South ranked fourth in runs scored (49); sixth in doubles (17); seventh in slugging percentage (.526); eighth in stolen bases (15) and ninth in total bases (102). Versus league foes, Paez ranked second in the conference in batting (.422); first in slugging percentage (.678); first in runs scored (27); first in total bases (61); second in hits (38); second in on base percentage (.495); third in RBI (24); third in doubles (9); seventh in stolen bases (7) and eighth in home runs (4).

Kerr (Chester, S.C./Chester HS) closed his CCU career by posting an 8-1 record with his win total ranking 39th (tied) in the NCAA, third in the Big South. Kerr’s lone loss came at then #7 Florida State and he posted a 3.36 ERA for the season with 57 strikeouts in 61.2 innings. He was also 5-0 versus league opponents with a 2.89 ERA. In 91 career games, fifth on the CCU all-time list, Kerr is 13-5 with two saves and a 2.96 ERA. In 179.1 career innings, he has 155 K’s.

Owings (Gilbert, S.C./Gilbert HS) was CCU’s lone All-Big South selection last season, earning first team honors as a utility player. Playing second base, left field and right field, he was second team as a utility player this season behind 2015 Big South Player of the Year Cole Hallum, Campbell’s top hitter and relief pitcher this season. Owings leads the Big South and ranks fourth in the NCAA with nine sacrifice flies while ranking 20th nationally with a league-best 42 walks. He additionally ranks among the Big South leaders in RBI (4th, 46) and home runs (8th, 9). In league games, he lead the conference in RBI (28) and tied for first in home runs (6) while ranking second in walks (19) and seventh in slugging percentage (.573).

Cunningham (Duncan, S.C./James F. Byrnes HS) was voted honorable mention despite missing the last four weekends due to an arm injury. The redshirt sophomore missed the last half of 2013 and all of 2014 before taking over as Coastal’s top pitcher in the rotation. He was 6-0 this season and Coastal was 9-0 in his first nine starts this season. He posted a 2.56 ERA and had 59 strikeouts in 59.2 innings while holding opponents to a .215 batting average. In his five league starts, Cunningham as 3-0 with a 1.86 ERA and posted 29 K’s in 29.0 innings with a .216 opponent batting average.

Chadwick (Waxhaw, N.C./Marvin Ridge HS) was voted to the Big South All-Academic team for the second consecutive year. The junior has posted a cumulative GPA of 3.6 in management. He owns a .286 batting average with 10 doubles, four home runs, 30 RBI and 27 runs scored. Chadwick, who led the team in walks last season, has added 29 walks this season for an impressive .414 on base percentage.

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