Statesmen favored in early Baseball poll
Joining Delta State in the top five are defending national champion Mount Olive College, Tampa University, Central Missouri State University, and fellow Gulf South Conference member Ouachita Baptist University. The GSC was also represented in the poll by Southern Arkansas University (No. 8), and the University of West Alabama (No. 9).
The Statesmen (48-11) claimed their 11th Gulf South Conference championship last season, but were upended in the NCAA South Central Region title game by Ouachita Baptist.
Delta State returns five starters off last year’s club, led by all-American second baseman Clay Sartain. The senior from Horn Lake was a unanimous all-Gulf South Conference and all-Region pick last season after batting .390 with 22 doubles, 10 home runs, and 62 RBIs. Joining Sartain in the middle of the lineup will be all-GSC and all-Region selection Devin Goodwin at shortstop. The pitching staff will look to all-GSC and all-Region starter Korey Cunningham this year. Senior Levi Bishop returns as one of the top closers in the nation.
The Statesmen pitching staff also returns seniors Marcus Wilson (RHP) and Joey Haston (RHP), junior Cody Kelley (RHP) and sophomore Nathan Hardy (RHP).
Delta State’s coaching staff also assembled one of the top recruiting classes in the nation last season. With competition at a fierce level at third base, catcher, and in left and right fields, the new-look Statesmen offense will certainly be able to hit in 2009.
The schedule features several key in-region non-conference games with national powerhouses, including Florida Southern, West Alabama, Montevallo, and West Florida.
– Courtesy of GoStatesmen.com