CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Gardner-Webb senior second baseman/outfielder Collin Thacker has been named the 2017 Big South Conference Preseason Player of the Year, as voted by the league's head coaches.
Thacker (Wilmington, N.C. / New Hanover HS) is the first Runnin' Bulldog to be voted the Big South's Preseason Player of the Year in the award's 12-year history. A 2017 preseason All-American, Thacker led the Big South and the nation last season with a conference record-tying 28 doubles en route to All-America honors from Collegiate Baseball. He was the Big South's top hitter with a .394 average, batted .411 with runners in scoring position and had 20 two-out RBI. Thacker, who recorded a 22-game hitting streak last season, scored 46 runs and knocked in 46. In Big South action, he batted .391 with a .522 slugging percentage.
Thacker received five first-place votes and 21 points in the preseason voting to finish ahead of Campbell's Cole Hallum, who placed second with 11 points and two first-place nods. Longwood's Alex Lewis and Winthrop's Anthony Paulsen tied for third in the voting with eight points each.
Gardner-Webb was chosen to finish in sixth place by the Big South coaches, receiving 59 points and one first-place vote. High Point was tabbed to be the league favorite, receiving 92 points and four first-place votes.
The 2017 season opens on Friday, February 17th, as the Runnin' Bulldogs host Canisius at 4:00 pm at John Henry Moss Stadium/Bill Masters Field.