Baseball picked second in A-Sun preseason poll
Gulbransen (left) & Walker II (right) were unanimous all-conference selections.
Gulbransen (left) & Walker II (right) were unanimous all-conference selections.
The JU baseball team is predicted to place second in the 2012 edition of the Atlantic Sun Conference preseason poll released by the league office.

Junior Adam Brett Walker II was picked as the Preseason Player of the Year for the Dolphins and joins fellow junior and Wisconsin native Dan Gulbransen as unanimous preseason all-conference selections. This is the duo’s second straight season on the preseason all-conference squad.

Stetson was picked first with 99 points (nine first-place votes) and slated as the tournament champion which will be held at the Hatters’ field on May 23. JU had 89 points, while Kennesaw State (67), Belmont (64) and Mercer (58) rounded out the top five. Florida Gulf Coast (57), North Florida (42), East Tennessee State (41), Lipscomb (18) and USC Upstate (15) made up the rest of the poll.

“We appreciate the honors and selection,” JU head coach Terry Alexander said. “This conference will be tough from top to bottom this season so there is no telling how it will end up.

“It’s nice to see Adam and Dan get recognized by the coaches in the conference. We expect big things out of them and the rest of our team in 2012.”

As a sophomore, Walker II was named A-Sun Player of the Year with a .409 batting average, 99 hits and 23 doubles. He also paced the squad with 13 home runs, 75 RBI, 165 total bases and a .685 slugging percentage. His hits and total bases totals each broke single-season records for the program.

Walker II batted .446 with 16 doubles, six home runs and 42 RBI in conference play to receive first team all-conference honors. Walker also received A-Sun all-tournament honors after pacing the Dolphins with a .429 average (6-14) with a home run and two RBI.

For his efforts, he was named first team All-America by Perfect Game USA and second team All-America by, the American Baseball Coaches Association, Baseball America, Louisville Slugger (Collegiate Baseball) and the NCBWA. He also was a Golden Spikes Award and Dick Howser Trophy Semifinalist

Gulbransen was named first team all-conference honors in 2011 after ranking second in average (.370), doubles (18), triples (2), RBI (52) and slugging percentage (.546). He along with Walker II received all-south region honors from the American Baseball Coaches Association.

The duo also kept in sync with each other by spending the summer playing in the Cape Cod League playing for the Hyannis Harbor Hawks. Gulbransen finished third on team in hitting with a .303 average, while Walker II was tied for the team lead in RBI with 17.

The Dolphins open the 2012 season on Feb. 17 with a three-game set at Southern California.