FORT MYERS, Fla. – Coming off its third Atlantic Sun Conference regular season championship in as many seasons, the FGCU baseball team will look to defend its title when the opening pitch is thrown in early February. However, the Blue and Green are already receiving national recognition, earning votes in Collegiate Baseball Newspaper’s Preseason Top 40 poll, announced by the outlet on Monday.
Texas Christian topped this year’s preseason list, with Florida taking the No. 2 position. Florida State was slotted No. 13 with Miami close behind at No. 18, and FAU rounded out the in-state representation, holding the No. 36 spot.
The A-Sun claimed four institutions in the receiving votes section of the poll, with Mercer, ETSU and Jacksonville joining the Eagles.
Under the direction of ninth-year head coach and three-year reigning A-Sun Coach of the Year Dave Tollett, the Eagles return 16 student-athletes, including seven position starters and eight pitchers, from a season ago. The Blue and Green also welcome many new faces to the team, including four MLB First-Year Player Draftees.
In their first year of postseason eligibility, the Eagles (38-20) posted a 25-5 conference mark en route to their third A-Sun regular season championship. The Blue and Green landed six student-athletes on the A-Sun All-Conference teams, four of which are set to return this season.
FGCU has posted a 112-53 record over its first three seasons in Division I. Of those victories, 73 have come in A-Sun play, which are the most league wins by any Division I school over the last three seasons. Looking further, the Eagles’ .785 win percentage in the A-Sun is the fourth best in the nation over the last three years of conference play.
The release of the entire 2011 FGCU baseball schedule is expected in early January.