Southern Conference lineup to be tough again for defending regular season champion Phoenix

Baseball teams in the Southern Conference are no slouches. So says Elon junior outfield Niko Fraser.

“We won the conference by one game last year,” Fraser said. “Sometimes you walk into a conference game ignorantly thinking that because one team may be seventh or eighth in the conference that week things are going to be easy and they take two out of three from you. There’s no weak link, per se.”

We spoke to Fraser and Elon baseball head coach Mike Kennedy about their conference opponents this year.

SoCon Opponents

Appalachian State University Mountaineers

33-27 overall, 15-15 Southern Conference in 2011.

Fraser: “I think that they’re a team that is going to put up a fight no matter what, regardless of what they have.”

Kennedy: “Probably the best team. Starting pitching should be very good. Up the middle they should be solid.”

 

College of Charleston Cougars

39-22, 18-12 SoCon.

Fraser: “Bring your offense that weekend. They’re a good offensive club. I mean, they have pitchers, but overall, they bring hitters.”

Kennedy: “Starting pitching is going to be very good. They have arguably the Player of the Year candidate. (Cougars sophomore outfielder Daniel) Aldrich is probably one of the best hitters in our league.”

The Citadel Bulldogs

20-36, 8-22 SoCon.

Fraser: “They’re going to do the little things right. They’re going to kind of chomp on the bit, they’re not gonna give away a game carelessly, they’re going to keep on playing.”

Kennedy: “I think they’ve got a little bit of a younger club, but they’re not going to beat themselves.”

Davidson College Wildcats

18-30, 8-21 SoCon.

Fraser: “They’ll sneak up on you and really give you a fight.”

Kennedy: “They’ve got some veteran hitters in their lineup. They’ve always been ready to play, they’ll be offensive. If they can pitch, they’ll be a solid club.”

Furman University Paladins

24-33, 13-16 SoCon.

Kennedy: “People always say they’re not that talented, but they find a way to win games, especially against us. They’re always fired up and ready to play us. I think they’ll be like they always are, and give you fits.”

Georgia Southern University Eagles

36-26, 18-12 SoCon.

Fraser: “They’re the guys that you can’t wait to play because they’re so hyped up, their fans are crazy, they travel well. That’s just like a big series that you highlight.”

University of North Carolina at Greensboro Spartans

34-20, 22-8 SoCon.

Kennedy: “Last year they came out of nowhere and pushed us right to the wire for the regular season championship. They’ve got some guys back on that team, they lost an arm or two off that club. It’ll be interesting to see how that club pans out.”

Samford University Bulldogs

37-23, 18-12 SoCon.

Fraser: “They’re definitely top-tier of the conference.”

Kennedy: “Pitching-heavy. Probably overall, when you add starting pitching and the bullpen, probably the best pitching staff in our conference.”

Western Carolina University Catamounts

23-31-1, 12-18 SoCon.

Fraser: “We have a bit of bad blood with Western Carolina. I think there was a bench-clearing argument my freshman year, and there was another one last year, so that’s another one that you’re really excited to play for. The competitor in you wants to go out and play.”

 

Wofford College Terriers

22-33, 9-21 SoCon.

Fraser: “They’re a team that you may not initially highlight but you would regret if you didn’t. You have to show up the same way that you do for all the other weekends.”

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