CHARLESTON, S.C. - Charleston Southern baseball begins this weekend as the Buccaneers host Delaware State at the CSU Ballpark on February 17-19. The Bucs open the season with 11 of their first 12 games at home before traveling to Florida International on March 9-11.
The Bucs enter their first season under the helm of interim head coach Adam Ward and will host 29 games at the CSU Ballpark in 2017.
The CSU Sports Information Department introduced the catchers on Monday (read here), the pitching staff on Tuesday (read here), and the infield on Wednesday (read here). The season preview will conclude tomorrow with the outfield.
Singleton returns to the Ballpark for his third season in a CSU uniform. The junior centerfielder returns as CSU's leading hitter at the plate after connecting on a team-high four home runs and 12 doubles, while also pacing the Bucs with 34 RBI and 90 total bases. He hit .332 from the plate last season with 64 hits and added 28 runs scored in 2016.
German made 19 starts as a true freshman last season in the CSU outfield, hitting .274 from the plate with 20 hits and two triples. He had three multi-hit games and a seven-game hitting streak as a freshman last season. Among his season highlights in 2016 included a 3-for-3 game at the plate with three runs scored in CSU's 18-1 win over The Citadel.
Hall redshirted in the 2016 season after joining the Bucs from Charlotte Christian High School in Charlotte, N.C. The redshirt freshman outfielder was a 2015 Perfect Game Preseason All-American and All-region honorable mention in 2015.
Notes about the CSU Outfielders
- Singleton was third on the Bucs with 17 multi-hit games and led the Bucs with 10 multi-RBI games in the 2016 season
- Singleton was also among CSU's stolen base leaders with eight steals on the season
- German was a day one starter in the CSU outfield as a true freshman and will be shifting from left field to right field in the 2017 season
- Hall is one of eight players from North Carolina on CSU's roster in the 2017 season
- Brown was rated a top 500 prospect in the country by Perfect Game and the top overall outfielder from the state of Maryland by Prep Baseball Report while playing at St. James High School
- Watkins was a two-time preseason underclassman of the year in South Carolina at Gilbert High School and received the Silver Slugger Award at the Palmetto Games
- Bennett was a baseball and football standout at Colonel Richardson High School in Federalsburg, Md. and was rated the third-best left-handed pitcher in the state by Prep Baseball Report
- Heffner transferred to the Bucs from USC Sumter in 2017 after posting a .331 batting average with six doubles, 39 runs scored and 21 RBI as a sophomore with the Fire Ants
Ward on CSU Outfield
"Chris Singleton returns as a solid defender in centerfield and a player that we will count on to hit in the middle of our lineup and drive in a lot of runs. Cole German is another returner that has improved a great deal. We are looking forward to watching his growth from his freshman to sophomore year. We also have several talented newcomers that have above average power and are capable of changing a game with one swing of the bat." – CSU interim head coach Adam Ward on the outfielders.
Q&A with sophomore outfielder Cole German
All this time and preparation for the 2017 season and you're one day away from first pitch. What goes through your mind as you continue to prepare for the 2017 season?
"Everything we've worked for this fall and just trying to get that right over the last couple of days before the season so we can use that going forward. We've got a lot of new guys, talented guys and look forward to seeing what we can do this year."
With it being your second season at CSU, what have you noticed different in your preparations for the 2017 season?
"I feel like I'm taking on a different role this year. I've been working on taking the freshmen on and easing them into the process this year like Sly (Edwards) and BB (Brandon Burris) did for me last season, and continue to work on my craft. I'm trying to share knowledge with the younger guys, while still learning from the guys who have been here longer like Chris (Singleton)."
Baseball is a mental game, especially with how long the regular season goes. How have you prepared differently this year as compared to your freshman season?
"Mental preparation is a different game this year. Last year was about getting my feet wet; this year I've got a different outlook. I'm trying to learn from my experiences and grow as a player from it. It's a little easier this season as I know what to expect from the longer year. Also trying to take my successes and failures from last year, learn from it, and implement it into how I play this season."
A lot of home games early in the season are good for a team to relax and get on a roll. What are you most looking forward to the early schedule?
"I look forward to my first opening day here at the Ballpark. I think it gives us a good opportunity to start off fresh and strong. We play a lot better at home, like most teams do, and if we get off to a good start with these home games, it can carry the momentum into our away series later in the season."
Any series, dates you are most looking forward to this season?
"I'm looking forward to playing South Carolina again. We lost three games to them last season, but we almost had them twice. Not being able to finish left a bitter taste in my mouth. They're a SEC team and if we could get a win this year that would be awesome."
What do you have to say to encourage fans to come out to the Ballpark and watch the Bucs this season?
"There's no better sport out there to watch than baseball. It's just the perfect thing to do after class and in the afternoon. We've got a good squad this year and there's no better environment than the baseball field."