Hempstead, NY - The Hofstra Baseball team, which won a school record 34 games in 2012, was picked to finish second in the Colonial Athletic Association in a poll of the league's head coaches. The second place selection is Hofstra's highest-ever spot in the preseason prediction.
The reigning CAA champion UNCW Seahawks received five first-place votes and finished atop the poll with 75 points. Hofstra picked up three first-place votes and was second with 69 points. James Madison was chosen third with 62 points and Delaware got two first-place votes and was fourth with 57 points. George Mason placed fifth in the voting, followed by Old Dominion, William & Mary, Towson, Northeastern and Georgia State.
Hofstra was 34-22 in 2012 and posted a best-ever second-place finish in the CAA with a 20-10 mark. The Pride return four All-CAA honorees to a lineup that ranked in the top 10 nationally in 11 offensive categories last season. Leading that group are a pair of senior first-team all-conference infielders in first baseman Jared Hammer (.376, 66 RBI's) and shortstop Dalton Rouleau (.328, 31 RBI's). Also back are catcher Matt Reistetter (.283) and outfielder Kenny Jackson (.344, 51 RBI's), who made the All-CAA second team. Hofstra's pitching staff is led by third-team All-CAA starter John Tiedemann (7-5, 5.13 ERA) and closer Bryan Verbitsky (1-3, 5 saves).
The CAA also announced its preseason all-conference team, which was also voted on by the CAA head coaches. Hammer shared CAA Preseason Player of the Year accolades with Delaware's Jimmy Yezzo, who was the 2012 CAA Championship Most Valuable Player.
In addition to Hammer, Rouleau was also named to the preseason All-CAA squad, while Reistetter, Jackson and Tiedemann earned preseason honorable mention accolades.
Hofstra Head Coach John Russo was excited about the preseason expectations placed upon his club. "Being picked second is a great honor for our team, and one that we now need to live up to on the field," said Russo. "I am happy that our play has been noticed by the rest of the league because I feel that our players have really worked hard to improve and this is a reward for that hard work. But once the games start, it doesn't matter where you were picked. We proved that last year and I will be sure that our team keeps that in mind."
Hofstra will open the 2013 season on February 15 at Oklahoma.