Baseball Monarchs Picked To Finish Third In 2012 CAA Race
Jan. 26, 2012
RICHMOND, Va. (January 26, 2012) - The ODU Baseball Monarchs got two first-place votes and was chosen to finish third in the 2012 Colonial Athletic Association Baseball race. James Madison, which captured the CAA baseball championship last season, has been picked to win the conference title again in 2012 according to a vote of the CAA's head baseball coaches.
The Dukes received five first-place votes and finished atop the poll with 94 points. UNCW garnered two first-place votes and was close behind in second with 88 points. ODU tallied 76 points and Georgia State also got two first-place votes and was fourth with 74 points. William and Mary placed fifth in the voting, followed by George Mason, Old Dominion, Delaware, Towson, Hofstra and Northeastern.
Old Dominion, which went 30-26 a year ago, begins its first season under coach Joey Burney (.257, 8 HR, 34 RBI), who was a Freshman All-America selection.
The Monarchs also have two of their top starting pitchers back in seniors Ben Tomchick (8-4, 3.14 ERA) and Phil McCarthy (9-4, 4.05 ERA), both were selected to the CAA All-Tournament squad last year. Also returning is sophomore reliever Dean Ali (0-3/2.86 ERA)who earned CAA All- Rookie honors last season.The Monarchs finished second in both the regular season and the CAA Championships in 2011.
JMU returns five everyday starters from a 42-19 squad that finished atop the CAA regular-season standings for the second year in a row with a 21-9 mark. Leading the list of returnees is junior outfielder Johnny Bladel (.360, 4 HR, 41 RBI, 26 SB), who earned 2nd team All-CAA honors and was chosen as the Most Outstanding Player at the CAA Baseball Championship. Also back is 3rd-team All-CAA infielder/pitcher Ty McFarland (.278, 2 HR, 36 RBI) and junior catcher/infielder Bradley Shaban (.271, 5 HR, 30 RBI). The Dukes also feature a pair of veteran pitchers in All-CAA pick Sean Tierney (10-1, 3.43 ERA) and senior Evan Scott (4-3, 5.94 ERA).
UNCW posted a 31-28 record a year ago and has four All-CAA performers returning to its starting lineup. Topping that group is senior outfielder Thomas Pope, who led the CAA with a .396 batting average in 2011 and received preseason All-America honors from the NCBWA. Also back are junior first baseman Hunter Ridge (.354, 9 HR, 60 RBI), senior third baseman/catcher Matt Campbell (.337, 6 HR, 26 RBI) and junior outfielder Andrew Cain (.302, 10 HR, 48 RBI), who all made the All-CAA second team. Senior Tyler McSwain (5-5, 4.97 ERA) and sophomore William Prince (0-2, 5 svs., 3.86 ERA) return on the hill for the Seahawks.
Georgia State had a 37-21 overall mark last season and earned a berth in the CAA Tournament for the third year in a row. Back to lead the Panthers is senior infielder Brandon Williams (.342, 1 HR, 36 RBI), who earned 1st team All-CAA honors, and junior infielder Drew Shields (.321, 0 HR, 20 RBI), who made the All-CAA second team as a designated hitter. GSU's pitching staff includes senior Justin Malone (7-1, 3.81 ERA) and senior All-CAA closer Jake Dyer (3-0, 8 svs., 1.67 ERA), who received preseason All-America honors from the NCBWA.
2012 CAA BASEBALL PRESEASON PREDICTED ORDER OF FINISH
1. James Madison (5) 95 2. UNCW (2) 88 3. ODU (2) 76 4. Georgia State (2) 74 5. VCU 63 6. George Mason 46 T7.Delaware 44 T7 William & Mary 44 9. Towson 30 10.Hofstra 27 11. Northeastern 19