The defending champion Rams finished at 18-6 in league play last year, 31-27 overall and won the A-10 Championship behind the arm of Pitcher of the Year Tyler Wilson and the bat of the Championship’s Most Outstanding Player Martin Figueroa. Rhody garnered 156 points and six first-place votes in the poll, which was conducted among the Atlantic 10’s 13 baseball coaches.
VCU, the 2015 A-10 Champion came in second in the poll, just behind Rhode Island with 155 points and five first-place votes. VCU returns All-Conference First Team selection Sam Donko, and 2016 A-10 Rookie of the Year Michael Dailey, also a pitcher. Donko, URI’s Wilson and Saint Joseph’s Deon Stafford, Jr., have been named to multiple national preseason accolades. VCU finished second in the standings last year at 15-7 in conference and had the best overall record in the A-10 at 38-19.
Saint Joseph’s and Saint Louis each had 138 points to tie for third in the poll, with the Hawks also receiving two first-place votes. With a batting lineup anchored by Stafford, the 2016 A-10 Player of the Year, SJU finished at 15-9 in league play and 31-23 overall. The Billikens also finished at 15-9 in the A-10 and were 25-31 overall in 2016 and return three All-Conference selections from that team.
Richmond was picked fifth in the poll with 114 points, followed by Fordham at sixth with 96 points and Davidson, the 2016 Championship runner-up in seventh with 95 points, just behind Fordham.
George Washington (75 points), St. Bonaventure (63 points) and George Mason (46 points) were ranked eighth, ninth and 10th in the poll respectively. Massachusetts, Dayton and La Salle rounded out the 13-team prediction.
The 2017 Atlantic 10 Baseball season gets underway Friday, Feb. 17 with all 13 teams in action. The 2017 Atlantic 10 Baseball Championship will be played at the Billiken Sports Center in St. Louis May 24-27.
2017 Preseason Baseball Poll
|1.||Rhode Island (6)||156|
|3.||Saint Joseph’s (13)||138|