WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 03, 2010
Baseball picked second in A-Sun preseason poll
After tallying the program’s third NCAA Regional bid in the last four years with a 2009 A-Sun Tournament victory, the JU baseball team has been picked to finish second in the Atlantic Sun Conference according to the 2010 preseason coaches poll.

Defending regular season champion Florida Gulf Coast led the poll with 120 points, including 11 first place votes, while JU (106) and Stetson (82) made up the top three. Kennesaw State ranked fourth with 81 points while UNF rounded out the top five with 69 points. FGCU was also voted as tournament champion with eight votes.

"It's always nice to know that other coaches in our conference think highly of where our program is at," said JU head coach Terry Alexander. "At this point, we are not really concerned about where we rank in the preseason because we would much rather be near the top of the standings at the end of the year.” Mercer and Lipscomb (62), Belmont (53), ETSU (45), Campbell (34) and USC Upstate (12) made up the rest of the poll.

Senior second baseman Chuck Opachich, senior pitcher Matt Loosen and junior pitcher Chris Kaminski each represented the Dolphins on the A-Sun preseason all-conference team.

Loosen earned a unanimous selection after boasting a 4-1 record with two saves and 4.16 ERA in 2009 while also ranking nationally in strikeouts (59th, 91) and strikeouts per nine innings (43rd, 10.24). Kaminski joins the squad as a relief pitcher after posting a team-best 2.70 ERA and a 5-1 record while notching, eight saves and 33 strikeouts in 34 innings. Opachich earned preseason honors for the second time after hitting .377 with 42 RBI and 19 stolen bases.

“Having three selections on the preseason team is not only a great honor for the individuals but the team as a whole,” Alexander said. “We have enjoyed a lot of success in the last four years and this trio has had a part in helping us achieve it.” FGCU junior first baseman Zach Maxfield was selected preseason "Player of the Year" while FGCU junior starter Chris Sale was named preseason "Pitcher of the Year".

The Dolphins open the season with a three-game series against UNC-Wilmington at John Sessions Stadium on Feb. 19-21.