CHARLOTTE, N.C. (BigSouthSports.com) - Charleston Southern's softball team was picked fifth overall in the annual Big South Conference preseason poll, as voted on by the league's head coaches.
The Buccaneers received 40 points overall to finish in the top five behind Longwood (78 points, 6 first-place votes), USC Upstate (70 points, 2 first-place votes), Radford (63 points) and Campbell (44 points).
Senior Jade Gandara was runner-up in the Big South Preseason Player of the Year voting finishing with three first place votes and 15 points in the poll. She was narrowly edged by Longwood's Kaylynn Batten (three first place, 16 points)
The Buccaneers roster features a blend of senior experience as well as youthful enthusiasm this year headlined by a quintet of seniors. NFCA All-Region selection Jade Gandara headlines the senior class that features veterans Caitlyn Emberson, Destini Ewing, Annie Bakenhus, and Arizona Pilgrim. The Bucs also return speedsters Kendall Anderson and Meghan Gagliano to a squad that ranked in the top 30 in Division I in both home runs and stolen bases in 2018.
Charleston Southern opens 2019 with its first home tournament on the opening weekend of the season. The Bucs host Dayton, Maryland-Eastern Shore, and South Dakota over the four-day stretch at the CSU Softball Field.