Thursday, April 8, 2010

Take Me to Your Leaders

Time for your Friendly Neighborhood Spring Sports Update...

Under the yellow haze of pollen, the races are taking shape across the Big South Conference (all standings based on play as of 4/8/10).

First let's slide into baseball:

With two teams ranked in the top 30, the Big South has earned plenty of respect--thanks to the performances of Coastal Carolina and VMI. Interestingly, those two teams are not alone in the tangle for the top of the Conference baseball standings--Gardner-Webb has squeezed in there as well. Those are the only three clubs that can boast both a winning record in Big South play and a winnning record overall: Coastal (5-0 / 24-5), GWU (5-1 / 15-13), and VMI (7-2 / 25-5). By the way, an interesting schedule twist next Tuesday has created a Big South-SoCon showdown night, with Elon at Liberty, The Citadel at Coastal Carolina, and App. St. at High Point, all at 6pm.

Next let's take a swing at softball:

Like the baseball standings, the field of contenders with winning records in Conference and overall is a narrow one. For softball, that upper-echelon group is only a duo: Radford and Liberty. The Highlanders are 8-1 / 22-10 and the Flames are 4-2 / 19-10. The Championship is just over a month away now at Coastal Carolina--and I've just learned that your writer here will be your announcer there for the streamed games in the first two days of that event.

Time to serve up some women's tennis:

While I can list four programs that have run off winning records in the Big South and overall, only one is truly the leader here: Charleston Southern. CSU has raced out to a 7-0 / 15-1 start and has mounted a legitimate threat to Winthrop's grip on the sport in the Conference. Winthrop (3-1 / 9-8) is among the schools in that winning group, along with Coastal Carolina (3-1 / 15-4) and Radford (3-2 / 12-4), but there's a lot of catching up to do if the Bucs are to be overtaken by anybody else before the Championship at Radford in just two weeks.

And on the other side of the net for men's tennis:

Out of all these leader groups, men's tennis is the one that includes an aberration--a team at the top in Conference NOT sporting a winning record overall, and that's Winthrop (3-0 / 7-10). The other squads in contention do not have that issue: Radford (3-0 / 10-9), CCU (3-1 / 12-6), and Liberty (2-1 / 10-7). RU is of course the team that's owned this title for a while, but it's clear that they will have some quality opposition when the Highlanders take the home court in an effort to defend their crown later this month.

In the other spring sports, golf is approaching its finish...the Women's Golf Championship tees off Monday at The Patriot Golf Club in Ninety-Six, SC. The Palmetto State is not only the home of the course, but also the top three seeds: Coastal Carolina, Charleston Southern, and Winthrop. There's a certain deja vu to that, since Coastal and CSU finished 1-2 in this event a year ago. Men's golf has an additional week before teeing off that championship.

While the next Big South Championship will be awarded in women's golf, the next one you can watch on the Big South Network is the 2010 Big South Men's & Women's Outdoor Track & Field Championships from Charleston Southern. Given the level of competition seen across the Conference this year, I would expect some remarkable times/heights/distances from the participating student-athletes. Team-wise, keep your eyes on the Liberty contingent. The Flames took home the hardware for men's and women's cross country in the fall and for men's and women's indoor track in the winter...meaning LU seeks a remarkable "double triple crown"--winning for men and women in all three running/track-related sports. It would be an incredible feat, but they'll have to beat the field next week to pull it off, and that won't be easy.

Okay, feel caught up on the spring goings-on?

Good, let's talk football!

No, seriously, just for a minute--never too early. Surely you know spring football has been going strong for weeks, and now is the time when the spring games start popping up everywhere. Lots of those intrasquad scrimmages will be played this Saturday, particularly across the South. Among them, the Presbyterian College Blue Hose, and I am proud to announce that the Big South Network will have its first-ever April football event with the live streaming of the PC Spring Game (4/10, 10am). You can order it through you better catch it live, because this one won't be saved in the archives!

Speaking of the "BSN" -- here's the story on what will be streaming this week, including that football game from PC...

That's all for now, folks. Not expecting a new entry tomorrow, so I'll wish you a good weekend now...SHOUT--out!

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