WILMINGTON— After earning a Top 25 ranking in the D1baseball.com preseason poll, UNC-Wilmington was the unanimous pick to win the Colonial Athletic Association this spring following a Wednesday vote by the league’s coaches.
Led by seven returning position starters, including junior All-Americas Nick Feight and Brian Mims, the Seahawks are coming off its second consecutive NCAA Regional appearance.
“We return a lot of experience from last year’s team and we’re eager to get back on the field and compete,” said UNCW Head Coach Mark Scalf, who begins his 26th season with the program this spring.
Feight was selected as the Preseason Player-of-the-Year after earning the honor last spring on his way to receiving six All-America honors. The junior drove in a school-record and nation-leading 91 runs as a sophomore and finished second in home runs, with 21, and total bases (175). He also placed fourth nationally with a .726 slugging average.
Mims posted a banner season of his own, earning four All-America honors, including two first-team designations. As a sophomore, Mims finished third nationally with 71 runs scored and seventh in hits (96). He joined Feight at Team USA’s National Team workouts last summer.
In addition to Feight and Mims, seniors Daniel Stack, Robbie Thorburn and Alex Royalty were also named to the preseason All-CAA team. Stack was a first-team All-CAA honoree at third base last spring when he hit a career-high .284, with 10 home runs and 39 runs batted in, also career highs. Thorburn was a second-team outfield selection, finishing with career-highs in batting average (.364) and stolen bases (20). Royalty posted an 8-2 record as UNCW’s Saturday starter and earned a spot on the CAA’s All-Freshmen team.
The Seahawks received all eight possible first-place votes, while William & Mary, which won the CAA championship tournament and played in the Charlottesville, Virginia Regional, received the other first-place vote. The College of Charleston was picked third, followed by Delaware, Elon and James Madison to round out the top six in the poll.
UNCW opens the season on Feb. 17 against George Mason on the first day of the Hughes Bros. Challenge.