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MACON, Ga. (Feb. 10, 2011) - After winning the most games since 1982 a year ago, the ETSU baseball team was picked to finish third by the coaches in the 2011 Atlantic Sun preseason poll, the conference office announced Thursday.
"Of course it is nice to be recognized in the top three of our league," said head coach Tony Skole. "We all know how good the Atlantic Sun is in baseball, but I think our players are smart enough to understand that a pre-season poll really holds no merit. It is simply other people's opinions and it has no bearing of how the season will play out. You have to settle it between the lines."
"We don't waste time talking about things we can't control," Skole added. "We can only improve on the things we can control. I think we have instilled a winning atmosphere here now. I know that it starts at the top with me and my staff, but winning really comes from recruiting better players as well. We want to prove that with hard work and quality young men, on and off the field, you can accomplish your goals and have a special season."
Tournament Champion Mercer (four first place votes) and Regular Season Champion Florida Gulf Coast (five first place votes) both received 112 points to lead the poll, as the Bucs followed with 98 points (one first place vote), while Jacksonville 91 points (one first place vote) and Stetson 73 points round out the top five. Belmont (61), UNF (56), Kennesaw State (46), Lipscomb (39), Campbell (25) and USC Upstate (14) made up the rest of the poll, and Mercer was selected to repeat as tournament champion.
Senior Paul Hoilman (Johnson City, Tenn.) picked up another preseason honor as he was a unanimous selection for both Preseason Player of the Year and All-Atlantic Sun Preseason First baseman. Hoilman led the conference with a .421 average and drove in 84 runs on 24 doubles and 25 home runs.
Joining Hoilman on the Preseason All-Conference list is catcher Derek Trent (Kingsport, Tenn.) who was a finalist for the prestigious Johnny Bench Award in 2010. Trent hit .348 with 13 home runs and 66 RBI. The local native also threw out 23 base runners a year ago.
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