FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 01, 2008
Baseball picked third in Atlantic Sun preseason poll

Feb. 1, 2008

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

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After reaching the NCAA Regionals in back-to-back seasons for the second time in program history, the JU baseball team has been picked to finish third in the Atlantic Sun Conference according to the 2008 preseason coaches poll.

Senior pitcher Matt Dobbins and sophomore third baseman Chuck Opachich each represented the Dolphins on the A-Sun preseason all-conference team. Stetson outfielder Justin Bass and Lipscomb junior catcher Caleb Joseph were selected preseason "Co-Players of the Year" while Lipscomb sophomore starter Rex Brothers was named preseason "Pitcher of the Year".

Stetson led the poll with 127 points, including eight first place votes, while Kennesaw State finished second with 118 points (two first place votes) and JU rounded out the top three with 115 points (one first place vote). Stetson, which earned an at-large bid to the NCAA Regionals in 2007, was also chosen as tournament champion.

"It's nice to receive such a high selection in the poll due to the respect of our program and the accomplishments we have achieved in the recent years," said JU head coach Terry Alexander. "But on the other hand, we have a very young squad this year and its going to take a lot of work to get to where we are predicted to finish. There are a lot of talented teams in this conference and its going to be a `Battle Royale' to see who comes out on top this year."

Mercer (113), Lipscomb (103), North Florida (82), Belmont (72), East Tennessee State (65), Gardner-Webb (48), Florida Gulf Coast (36), Campbell (30) and USC Upstate (16) made up the rest of the poll.

The Dolphins open the season with the JU Invitational on Feb. 22-24 at John Sessions Stadium.