Charlotte preseason pick for A-10
|4||Saint Louis (1)|
|5||Rhode Island (1)|
NEWPORT NEWS, Va. -- After capturing a share of its third regular season title in the past four years, Charlotte has been selected to win the 2011 Atlantic 10 baseball title in voting conducted by the league's head coaches. Xavier, the 2009 A-10 Tournament Champion, was picked second, while Dayton, the 2009 Conference regular season champion, rounds out the top three.
Charlotte looks to repeat as Atlantic 10 regular season champions for the second time since joining the league during the 2006 campaign. The 49ers last took back-to-back league titles in 2007 and 2008. Charlotte has won three titles in the last five seasons as a member of the league, capturing 96 conference victories -- 10 more than the next highest team total during that span.
Veteran head coach Loren Hibbs returns 21 letterwinners, including six position starters and 11 pitchers, from a team that went 39-17 last season. On the mound, Charlotte also returns all three weekend starters from a year ago, with a combined 16-8 season record, along with redshirt senior relief pitcher Bryan Hamilton, who recently garnered Preseason All-America status.
Xavier earned its fourth consecutive trip to the A-10 Championship last season after winning the title in 2009. Sixth-year skipper Scott Googins returns 26 lettermen from a team that went 18-9 in the league last season, including senior first baseman Ben Thomas, who hit .359 last season with 13 home runs and 69 RBI. In addition to Thomas, XU welcomes back four other position starters and nine pitchers.
Dayton head coach Tony Vittorio, in his 12th season with the Flyers, returns all three weekend starters from last season including juniors Cameron Hobson (LHP), Burny Mitchem (RHP) and Mike Hauschild (RHP). UD also returns 22 lettermen, led by All-Conference shortstop Brian Blasik. Blasik hit for a team-leading .346 average with 37 RBI and eight home runs.
Defending A-10 Champion Saint Louis was picked to finish fourth, followed by Rhode Island, Richmond, Fordham, George Washington, La Salle, Massachusetts, Saint Joseph’s, St. Bonaventure and Temple.
The six-team, double-elimination A-10 Championship will be held May 25-28 at Campbell's Field in Camden, N.J.