2008 CAA Preseason Poll

FROM PRESS RELEASE
Old Dominion is the overwhelming favorite to capture the CAA baseball championship in 2008 according to a vote of the league’s head baseball coaches.

The Monarchs finished atop the poll with 99 points and received nine of a possible 10 first-place votes since coaches weren’t allowed to rank their own teams. Defending CAA champion VCU was second with 87 points, UNC Wilmington was third with 77 points and Delaware received a pair of first place votes and was fourth with 69 points. Those four teams finished in a four-way tie for first in the CAA regular-season standings a year ago at 18-11. George Mason was picked fifth with 58 points, followed by Georgia State, James Madison, William and Mary, Northeastern, Towson and Hofstra.

ODU returns six starters from last year’s 35-24 squad. The Monarchs’ strength will be on the mound where they welcome back junior Anthony Shawler (11-2, 2.20 ERA, 130 K’s), who earned first-team All-America honors, and junior Dan Hudson (8-5, 3.46 ERA, 109 K’s), who was a first-team All-CAA selection. Among the offensive returnees are senior designated hitter David Burns (.309, 8 HR, 61 RBI) and sophomore third baseman Jake McAloose (.306, 34 RBI).

VCU welcomes back six regulars and three of its top four starting pitchers from a 37-23 team that posted its 12th straight 30-win season and captured its fourth CAA title in the last six years. The Rams are led offensively by first-team All-CAA first baseman Jared Bolden (.383, 5 HR, 49 RBI) and junior third baseman Chris Jackson (.341, 4 HR, 57 RBI). Senior right-hander Cody Eppley (7-5, 4.66 ERA) is the top returnee on the mound.

UNCW, which has 40 or more games in four of the past five years, has seven starters back from last season’s 29-27 club. The Seahawks are led offensively by senior outfielder Jason Appel (.338, 24 RBI) and senior catcher Mark Carver (.316, 42 RBI). Senior Jeff Hatcher (5-6, 3.70 ERA) and junior Brad Holt (5-5, 5.90 ERA) will lead the pitching staff.

Delaware has five starters back from its 32-23 team that reached the CAA championship game. The Blue Hens feature junior preseason All-America infielder Alex Buchholz (.387, 11 HR, 63 RBI) and senior outfielder Adam Tsakonas (.335, 35 RBI). Back on the mound is senior closer David Slovak, who saved 12 games a year ago.

2008 CAA BASEBALL PRESEASON PREDICTED ORDER OF FINISH

1. Old Dominion (9 first-place votes) 99

2. VCU 87

3. UNC Wilmington 77

4. Delaware (2 first-place votes) 69

5. George Mason 58

6. Georgia State 56

7. James Madison 48

8. William and Mary 38

9. Northeastern 35

10. Towson 26

11. Hofstra 12

  • http://www.gothambaseball.com Chip Armonaitis

    Don’t forget that the Gotham Baseball Freshman of the Year in 2007, Matt Prokopowicz returns as one of the best players in the conference for Hofstra. The rest of the Pride however, is not so strong. An All America candidate as a freshman at the hot corner, the only part of his game that he did not excel in was defensively, with 18 errors a season ago.

  • http://thecollegebaseballblog.com Brian Foley

    Yea…I know about him…Solid player

  • http://thecollegebaseballblog.com djbfootball

    Texas opens the season against VCU. It will be a great test for both programs early in the season. We will be able to see which pitchers gets the nod for the weekend series and then we get to see right off the batch if the Longhorn lineup will be able to match up against the starting staff of VCU. Check back that weekend as I will have a recap with photos from the game:-)

  • http://thecollegebaseballblog.com Brian Foley

    I think VCU has a big hitter coming back…I need to look up the name…

  • http://thecollegebaseballblog.com Brian Foley

    Bolden is the kids name

  • http://thecollegebaseballblog.com djbfootball

    Brian,

    I am more concern with the pitching than the Hitters:-)