BASEBALL PICKED TO WIN WEST IN PRESEASON SLC POLLS
Jan. 24, 2007
ARLINGTON, Texas - Coming off their 2006 Southland Conference Tournament championship, the UT Arlington baseball team was picked as the team to beat in the West Division in two separate polls conducted by the league's head coaches and sports information directors, the league announced Wednesday.
The Mavs, who return seven position starters and eight pitchers, received five first-place votes from the head coaches and tied with Texas State (four first-place votes) atop the coaches poll. Texas-San Antonio received three first-place votes for third place, followed by Sam Houston State, Stephen F. Austin and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi.
In the SIDs poll, the Mavs received six first-place votes to take the top spot. UTSA received five first-place votes for second and Texas State received one first-place vote in third. SHSU was fourth followed by a fifth-place tie between SFA and TAMUCC.
Defending regular-season champion McNeese State was the clear-cut favor to win the East Division receiving eight first-place votes from the coaches and 11 from the SIDs. The next three spots were the same in both polls with Lamar second, Northwestern State third and Southeastern Louisiana. Nicholls State was picked fifth in the coaches poll and Central Arkansas sixth, while the two teams flip-flopped in the SIDs poll.
The winner of the East and West Divisions automatically qualify for the SLC Tournament to be held on the campus of Northwestern State on May 23-26. The next four teams based on conference winning percentage will round out the six team field.
Senior second baseman Daniel Rieder (Chilliwack, British Columbia) was one of three players to receive preseason honors as he was named to the preseason all-SLC first team. The 2006 third team all-SLC selection is the Mavs top offensive returner after posting a .318 average with 84 hits, 42 runs, 109 total bases and 33 walks.
Senior designated hitter Ben Burum (Arlington, Texas) was named to the preseason second team after garnering third team laurels a season ago. Burum overcome a slow start to his season to finish the year hitting .265 with 13 doubles, four home runs and 25 RBIs.
Senior Kyle Rudy (Arlington, Texas) also earned preseason second team accolades after hitting .262 with 12 doubles, two triples, four home runs and 36 RBIs in 2006.
The Mavs open the 2007 season on Feb. 6 as they take on No. 7 Texas at Dell Diamond in Round Rock. First pitch is set for 3 p.m.