VCU BASEBALL PICKED THIRD IN CAA PRESEASON POLL

RICHMOND, Va. – Defending Colonial Athletic Association baseball champion Virginia Commonwealth University was picked to finish third in the league in 2011, according to a vote of the CAA's head coaches.

VCU, which has won five of the last nine CAA titles, received 84 points including two first-place votes.  Meanwhile, James Madison, who was picked to finish atop the CAA standings for the third straight year, garnered 90 points and four first-place votes, while Georgia State was a close second with 88 points and four first-place tallies.  UNC Wilmington (83 points, one first-place vote) was picked to finish fourth, followed by William & Mary (54), George Mason (51), Old Dominion (44), Delaware (34), Towson (33), Hofstra (26) and Northeastern (18).

The Rams return five starters from last year's 34-26-1 squad that made its 10th NCAA Regional appearance and eighth under Head Coach Paul Keyes.  First baseman Brent Mikionis (.343, 11 HR, 54 RBI), All-CAA utility player Taylor Perkins (.295, 31 RBI), outfielder John Lenherr (.289, 35 RBI), and infielders Paul Nice (.281, 30 RBI) and Nick Kime (.247, 10 RBI) will look to provide a spark offensively.  The Rams also return a young and talented pitching staff anchored by All-CAA standout Seth Cutler-Voltz (8-4, 3.47 ERA) in addition to sophomores Kyle Haynes (3-3) and Blake Hauser (4-4).  Relief ace Jonathan Watson (4-2, 2.51 ERA) is expected to anchor the back end of the bullpen.

VCU will begin practice on Feb. 1 before opening the 2011 season with a three-game home series against Fordham on Feb. 18-20.  The Rams then welcome Monmouth to The Diamond for three games Feb. 25-27.

2011 CAA BASEBALL PREDICTED ORDER OF FINISH
1. James Madison (4 first-place votes) – 90
2. Georgia State (4 first-place votes) – 88
3. VCU (2 first-place votes) – 84

4. UNC Wilmington (1 first-place vote) – 83
5. William and Mary – 54
6. George Mason – 51
7. Old Dominion – 44
8. Delaware – 34
9. Towson – 33
10. Hofstra – 26
11. Northeastern – 18

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