FLORENCE - With four returning position starters and the majority of the team’s pitching staff back from a team that went 39-18 and reached the NCAA South Regional Tournament last season, the University of North Alabama baseball team has been picked to finish third in the 2013 Gulf South Conference race.
The poll involved voting by league head coaches.
Delta State led the poll with 48 total points, followed by West Florida with 43 points and North Alabama with 36. Both Alabama-Huntsville and Valdosta State tied for fourth with 29 points each. West Alabama recorded 18 points for fifth place, followed by West Georgia with 14. Rounding out the eight-team preseason coaches’ poll was Christian Brothers with seven points.
Delta State enters the season ranked No. 2 in the nation in the Collegiate Baseball Newspaper’s Top 40 Preseason Poll, with West Florida racked 16th and UNA tied for 30th.
UNA opens its 2013 season at home on Feb. 12, with a doubleheader against Lemoyne-Owen at 2 p.m.
The Lions will be in their fifth season with Mike Keehn has head coach. Keehn has taken the Lions to back-to-back NCAA South Regional Tournaments in 2011 and 2012, marking the team program’s first NCAA appearances since 1999. He enters 2013 with a 137-76 overall record.
UNA returns four All-Gulf South Conference players in first baseman Josh Cyr of Huntsville, shortstop Josh Carpenter of Harvest, outfielder Josh Doyle of Hartselle, and pitcher Chad Boughner of Florence.