FROM CBB NEWS SOURCE
RICHMOND, Va. (January 14, 2009) – James Madison, which captured its first CAA baseball championship in 2008, has been picked to win the title again in 2009 according to a vote of the league’s head baseball coaches.
The Dukes received six first-place votes and finished atop the poll with 95 points. George Mason garnered four first-place votes and was close behind with 91 points, while perennial power UNC Wilmington picked up the remaining first-place vote and was third with 86 points. Georgia State was chosen fourth with 61 points, followed by William and Mary, Towson, VCU, Old Dominion, Delaware, Northeastern and Hofstra.
JMU welcomes back six starters from last year’s 39-19 squad that rolled through the CAA Tournament with a perfect 4-0 mark and advanced to the NCAA Baseball Championship for the first time since 2002. Back to lead the Dukes is junior outfielder Alex Foltz (.355, 7 HR, 38 RBI), who earned All-CAA third team honors and was the MVP of the CAA Tournament. Returning to the mound are a pair of freshman All-America selections in Turner Phelps (8-0, 3.87 ERA, 86 K’s) and Trevor Knight (7-3, 6 saves).
George Mason returns all nine starting position players and the bulk of its pitching staff from season’s 30-25 team. The Patriots are led offensively by a pair of All-CAA picks in senior outfielder Scott Krieger (.381, 21 HR, 60 RBI) and junior first baseman Justin Bour (.398, 15 HR, 65 RBI). Back on the hill are junior starter Dan Gerjets (6-3) and relievers Ryan Brecko (7-2, 4 svs) and Jordan Flasher, who saved 14 games in 2007 but missed last season due to injury.
UNCW has four starters and six pitchers back from its 2008 squad that won a school-record 44 games (44-17-1), shattered the CAA record for conference victories (25-4-1), and made its fourth NCAA Tournament appearance in the past six years. Among the returnees for the Seahawks are a trio of Freshman All-Americans in catcher Cody Stanley (.288, 5 HR, 32 RBI) and pitchers Cameron Roth (5-3, 4 svs., 3.77 ERA) and Stephen Harrold (4-2, 6 svs., 3.71 ERA).
Georgia State has 17 returning lettermen from last year’s 33-23 team. Leading that group are three All-CAA performers – infielders Derek Simmons (.379) and Bradley Logan (.376, 11 HR, 63 RBI) and pitcher Robinson Polanco (8-4, 4.35 ERA).
2009 CAA BASEBALL PRESEASON PREDICTED ORDER OF FINISH
1. James Madison (6 first-place votes) 95
2. George Mason (4 first-place votes) 91
3. UNC Wilmington (1 first-place vote) 86
4. Georgia State 61
5. William and Mary 58
6. Towson 48
7. VCU 42
8. Old Dominion 39
9. Delaware 38
10. Northeastern 37
11. Hofstra 10