IRVING, Texas - East Carolina seniors Seth Maness (RHP) and Trent Whitehead (OF) along with junior Corey Thompson (INF) have been named preseason first-team All-Conference USA, as chosen by the league's nine head coaches.
For Maness it is his fourth preseason honor following all-america designations by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) second-team, Collegiate Baseball (Louisville Slugger) third-team and College Baseball Lineup (formerly Ping!Baseball) third-team accolades.
Maness, the 2010 Conference USA Pitcher-of-the-Year, logged a league-high 101.1 innings over 17 appearances (15 starts) and posted a conference second-best 10 wins. He registered 90 strikeouts and walked just 16 batters all season, both ranking among the league leaders. The right-hander tossed one complete game and added a save in one of two relief appearances.
A three-time first-team All-C-USA performer, Maness earned all-tournament honors after posting his 10th win of the season during the 2010 C-USA Championship against Southern Miss, where he carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning before giving up a leadoff double to Tyler Koelling. Maness shook off the bump in the road to remain effective throughout his time toeing the rubber, giving up just one unearned run on five hits in 7.2 innings.
The Pinehurst, N.C. native, who has not allowed a run in 251.2 of his 306.2 career innings, owns an 18-3 career mark against C-USA teams and has 28 career wins, which ranks fourth all-time in C-USA history and tied for fourth in the ECU career record book. During his career with the Pirates Maness has fanned 254 batters while walking just 54, a 4.7-to-1 ratio.
Whitehead, an all-conference performer in 2009 who set ECU's single-season hits record (105), along with Maness is a repeat preseason selection as a senior. The left-handed lead-off hitter started 57 games in the outfield where he batted .331 (81-for-245) with four home runs, 31 RBI, 15 doubles and scored 51 runs. For the second-straight season, Whitehead ranked among the league leaders in at-bats (4th) and stolen bases (9th).
Thompson rounds out the Pirates three preseason selections following a second-team all-conference designation a year ago. The Apex, N.C. native led the Pirates with a .377 average, while also topping the squad and ranking among the league-leaders in hits (86), runs (61), triples (3), RBI (54) and total bases (132). He earned C-USA Hitter-of-the-Week honors and CollegeBaseball360.com Primetime Performer honors on March 1 after helping the Pirates to their first ever series win over No. 10 South Carolina where he batted .438 (7-for-16) with six RBI. On April 30 he became the fifth Pirate since 1999 to hit for the cycle with his 4-for-5 effort against Marshall.
Conference USA's 16th baseball season gets underway on February 18. The conference tournament is scheduled for May 25-29 at Trustmark Park in Pearl, Miss. This will be the first time the tournament will be played at a neutral site, with an eight-team, pool-play format in place. C-USA's nine baseball schools have produced 64 NCAA appearances and nine College World Series teams over the past 15 seasons.
2011 PRESEASON BASEBALL AWARDS
(as selected by C-USA's head coaches)
PREDICTED ORDER OF FINISH
Southern Miss (2)
(first place votes in parentheses)
Anthony Rendon, Rice (Junior, Third Baseman)
Todd McInnis, Southern Miss (Senior, Right-hander)
P - Seth Maness - Sr. - East Carolina
P - Todd McInnis - Sr. - Southern Miss
P - Taylor Wall - Jr. - Rice
RP - Collin Cargill - Sr. - Southern Miss
C - Victor Gomez - Jr. - Marshall
IF - Garrett Cannizar - So. - Tulane
IF - Anthony Rendon - Jr. - Rice
IF - Corey Thompson - Jr. - East Carolina
IF - B.A. Vollmuth - Jr. - Southern Miss
IF - Chad Zurcher - Jr. - Memphis
OF - Jamal Austin - Jr. - UAB
OF - Drew Martinez - Jr. - Memphis
OF - Trent Whitehead - Sr. - East Carolina
DH/UT - Jeremy Rathjen - Jr. - Rice