2020 Conference Wrap: Big SouthAnalysis
It’s still hard to believe the 2020 college baseball season is over after just four weeks of play. Most conferences didn’t even reach league play before the coronavirus halted the season, so it would be pointless to give out any legitimate awards or draw any sweeping conclusions from our meager sample size. With that in mind, we won’t be releasing a 2020 All-America team, or naming a national Player of the Year or Freshman of the Year.
But informally, we can still take a look back at those first four weeks and highlight some players who stood out. Keep in mind that nonconference strength of schedules varies dramatically, and four weeks really isn’t a long enough period to even determine how strong a given schedule truly was. With those caveats out of the way, here are some superlative picks for the Big South, which played four weeks of nonconference action and never began league play.
Here are the superlative categories:
- Best Team
- Most Surprising Team
- Most Impressive Hitter
- Most Impressive Pitcher
- Best Senior
- Best Freshman
- More Fab Freshmen
- Breakout Player
- Breakout Pitcher
The Big South Conference members were not off to the best start in nonconference play with a 73-93 overall record and tying for the 24th best RPI conference. Only three of the 10 members had winning records and one of those was by one game.
The most impressive team through the first four weeks is certainly up for debate. One could make a case for perennial favorite Campbell which went 7-9 and had midweek victories over 13-4 East Carolina and 12-4 Old Dominion. The Camels split a four-game weekend set with Army and Air Force and dropped two-of-three in a home tournament to Purdue and Villanova. They dropped a road series at Furman.
Leading the league through the first four weeks was Winthrop, who amassed an 11-4 record thanks to a pair of perfect weekends against Maine and Canisius (combined 4-23-1) records and won two-of-three at George Mason (1-14). They lost at Clemson 3-2 in 11 innings. The Eagles led Big South in ERA at 2.79 but their wins came against some really poor records. Take your pick.
MOST SURPRISING TEAM
In the end, the most impressive team could also be the one tabbed as the most surprising. USC Upstate went 13-5, led the Big South in batting at .289 and were second in ERA at 3.61. The Spartans, who went 23-30 in 2019, swept their home tournament beating Monmouth, Brown and Manhattan. Their beat a 14-3 Wofford squad, 9-6 Michigan State and The Citadel who went 10-6.
Julian Rip led the team batting .368, good for fourth in the conference, while Devin Buckner hit .338 and Mason Stewart hit .328. Kevin Davis (1-0, 1.35, 3 svs) and Jordan Marks (3-1, 1.75) led the staff, each with more strikeouts than innings pitched.
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