MACON, Ga. - In each of its first three years in the Atlantic Sun Conference, Kennesaw State improved its standing and on the heels of its runner-up finish in 2008. The A-Sun baseball coaches have installed the Owls as the preseason favorite for 2009.
The Owls received six of the 11 first-place votes outdistancing themselves from a bunched pack that includes No. 2 Lipscomb, the 2008 conference champion, No. 3 Florida Gulf Coast University, the 2008 regular-season champion, and No. 4 Stetson. Lipscomb earned three first-place votes, FGCU and Jacksonville, slotted fifth, split the remaining two votes.
Lipscomb's one-two punch of Rex Brothers and Brandon McClurg landed on the preseason All-A-Sun team among the starting pitchers along with FGCU's Pete Woodworth.
Woodworth shared the conference lead in wins (seven) with two of his former teammates, Casey Coleman and Richard Bleier.
Teammate second baseman Mikel Alvarez made the team as one of three sophomores. He hit .345 as a freshman.
A-Sun Coaches Preseason Poll
Preseason rankings with first-place votes in parentheses:
1. Kennesaw State (6) 116
2. Lipscomb (3) 95
3. FGCU (1) 95
4. Stetson 94
5. Jacksonville (1) 76
6. North Fla. 74
7. Belmont 50
8. Mercer 47
9. Campbell 33
10.USC Upstate 30
11. ETSU 16