Coastal Carolina

A pair of former baseball players headline Coastal Carolina 2019 athletics HOF class

Coastal Carolina center fielder No. 1 Rico Noel pulls up after a base hit in 2010.
Coastal Carolina center fielder No. 1 Rico Noel pulls up after a base hit in 2010. file photo

Former Coastal Carolina baseball players Rico Noel and Daniel Bowman are among four past university athletes who comprise the 2019 class that was elected to the school’s George F. “Buddy” Sasser Athletics Hall of Fame.

They are joined by former women’s golfer Jessica Alexander and former softball player Lauren Yates, and will be inducted on Oct. 11 at the HTC Center. The class will also be honored at halftime of the football game versus Georgia State on Oct. 12.

Jessica Alexander, Women’s Golf (2009-13): A native of Riverview, Fla., Alexander was the Big South Conference Championship individual medalist and the Big South Women’s Golfer of the Year in 2011 after earning Big South Women’s Golf Freshman of the Year honors in 2010.

A four-time All-Big South selection, Alexander was named to the Golfweek All-Region team in 2011. She led the Chants to two Big South Championship titles in 2011 and 2013 while also competing for Coastal in three NCAA Regional events. A four-time WGCA All-America Scholar over her four years at Coastal Carolina, Alexander was the first women’s golfer in Coastal history to make a hole in one in tournament play.

She finished her career tied with the lowest 18-hole round in CCU history with a 66 at the 2011 UCF Challenge and the lowest 54-hole tournament score of 208 at the M&F Bank Rebel Intercollegiate in 2013. She also ranked second in career scoring average at 75.27 when her CCU career ended, which still ranks in the top five.

Daniel Bowman, Baseball (2009-12): Bowman was an integral part of the CCU baseball team that won four straight Big South regular-season and tournament championships from 2009-12. A native of Bridgewater, Va., he was named a Collegiate Baseball Third Team All-American and a honorable mention All-American in 2012, the same season he was named to the ABCA All-Region team and was tabbed the Big South Player of the Year.

A two-time All-Big South selection (2010 and 2012), Bowman was crowned the Big South Tournament MVP in 2010 and was a three-time Big South All-Tournament team pick (2010, 2011 and 2012). A 2009 Collegiate Baseball and Ping! Baseball Freshman All-American, he graduated from Coastal Carolina as the program’s leader in games played (246), games started (244), at-bats (963), hits (309), RBIs (206) and total bases (526).

He was also the first player in Big South history with 200 runs scored, 200 RBIs and 300 hits. Bowman, who was drafted in the 38th round of the 2011 Major League Baseball draft by the Cincinnati Reds, spent the 2014 season in the Arizona Diamondbacks farm system after a pair of seasons playing for the Lake Erie Crushers in the Frontier League.

Rico Noel, Baseball (2008-10): Named a 2013 Third Team All-American by NCBWA, Baseball America and Ping! Baseball, Noel was a leader of the Coastal Carolina baseball team that won three consecutive Big South regular-season and tournament championships from 2008-10.

Noel led all of NCAA Division I in stolen bases in both 2009 and 2010. He was a two-time First Team All-Big South selection (2009 and 2010), was named to the Big South All-Tournament team in 2009, and was a two-time National Player of the Week. The native of Lawton, Okla., was named the 2010 NCAA Myrtle Beach Regional MVP.

He finished his career ranked second all-time in CCU history in runs scored (187), stolen bases (120) and sacrifice flies (16). His 82 runs scored in 2010 remains tied for the most by a Chant in a single-season, while his 75 runs in 2009 ranks fourth. Drafted in the fifth round by the San Diego Padres in the 2010 MLB Draft, Noel reached the majors in 2015 with the New York Yankees on Sept. 2 versus the Boston Red Sox.

Lauren Yates, Softball (1999-2002): A native of Nokesville, Va., Yates was a two-time All-Big South selection (2000 and 2002) and the 2000 Big South Championship Tournament MVP. Also named to the Big South All-Tournament team in 1999, 2000 and 2002, the pitcher led Coastal to two Big South Tournament titles and NCAA Tournament appearances in 2000 and 2002.

She helped CCU win two Big South regular season championships (2001 and 2002) and closed out her career ranked in the top five in the program in career wins (46), innings pitched (551.1), appearances (107), complete games (62), earned run average (1.90), saves (3) and strikeouts (323).

Alan Blondin covers golf, Coastal Carolina athletics and numerous other sports-related topics that warrant coverage. Well-versed in all things Myrtle Beach, Horry County and the Grand Strand, the Northeastern University journalism school valedictorian has been a sports reporter at The Sun News since 1993, earning eight top-10 Associated Press Sports Editors national writing awards and 18 top-three S.C. Press Association writing awards since 2007.