Preseason baseball polls announced
Published: Monday, February 4, 2013
Updated: Monday, February 4, 2013 13:02
The Southland Conference announced its annual preseason all-conference teams and polls on Wednesday with Stephen F. Austin picked to finish fourth in both the SID and Coaches’ poll. Meanwhile, juniors Hunter Dozier and Max Lamantia, along with senior Freddy Villalobos and sophomore Cameron Gann were selected to the preseason all-SLC teams.
The Jacks are picked fourth in the league just a year after finishing one game shy of playing for a berth in an NCAA Regional at the Southland Conference Tournament. SFA finished 26-33 a year ago and finished on a high note, winning five of its last seven games of the year. Each poll was identical in its predictions with reigning SLC champion Sam Houston State picked to repeat with nine first-place votes from the coaches and four from the SIDs.
Southeastern Louisiana was picked second in both polls, earning three first-place votes from the SIDs, while league newcomer Oral Roberts was chosen third with three first-place votes from the SIDs as well. The `Jacks were then followed by Central Arkansas, Lamar, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, Lamar, McNeese State, Northwestrn State and Nicholls.
Dozier was an automatic selection to the preseason first team after earning first team all-conference honors as a sophomore at shortstop in 2012. A preseason all-America choice by multiple selections, Dozier led SFA in nearly every offensive category a year ago hit .357 a year ago with 10 homers, 37 RBI and a league-best 22 doubles.
Villalobos was a third-team all-conference choice at second base as a junior and was an automatic choice to the preseason second team. The senior from Houston was third on the team last season with a .296 batting average and cranked three homers while driving in 26 runs. He also had a dozen doubles while slugging .408.
Lamantia and Gann were each voted into open slots on the second team after breakout 2012 seasons. A redshirt junior at first base, Lamantia hit .325 last season in 120 at-bats, blasting four homers and driving in 17 runs with nine doubles and a triple in 50 games. He was named to the all-tournament team at the SLC Tournament in San Marcos last season, hitting .462 in four games, including a .692 slugging percentage in those games.
Meanwhile, Gann led the pitching staff with a 7-3 record and 2.62 ERA as a true freshman. He made 17 appearances, including 11 starts, and tossed consecutive complete games in his first two weekend starts, both on Fridays. He logged 72.0 innings, a mark that was third best on the team, striking out 34 and walking just 25 in that span.
The Jacks open up the season on Feb. 15 when it takes on South Alabama in a three-