WKU picked fourth in Preseason Sun Belt Coaches Poll

Kurt Carson

The Sun Belt Conference on Friday announced its 2012 Preseason Coaches Poll as well as its Preseason All-Sun Belt Conference Team.

Both the poll and the all-conference team were voted on by the league’s head coaches.

WKU was picked to finish tied for fourth with Florida Atlantic, behind Florida International, Troy and Louisiana-Lafayette. Both Florida International and Troy received four first-place votes.

Head Coach Matt Myers said he thought the poll showed how much depth of competition the conference contains.

“With our conference being one of the top conferences in the country, week in and week out is a battle,” Myers said.

Myers said that Arkansas-Little Rock being picked last in the preseason poll shows how “competitive” the league has been. UALR won the Sun Belt Tournament a year ago.

“It’s probably the toughest it’s been in the five years that I’ve been here,” he said.

Myers said he plans for his team to overcome that depth of competition and capture a Sun Belt title.

“We want a chance to play in the postseason,” Myers said. “That’s been our goal the day we got these guys together — to be one of the best teams in the conference, compete for a conference championship, get back to a regional and learn how to win that regional.”

The Toppers also saw two pitchers named to the 2012 Preseason All-Sun Belt Conference Team — left-hander Tanner Perkins and right-hander Justin Hageman.

Senior infielder Casey Dykes said the team doesn’t pay much attention to preseason polls and awards, but instead are simply focusing on “what’s going on now.”

“We’re just really focused on what’s at hand right now with the season coming up,” Dykes said. “The guys we brought in, the coaching staff, you know, the energy and everything they’ve brought this year has been really good for us and has our minds right and ready to go when next week comes around.”

WKU kicks off its regular season next weekend with a home series against Toledo at Nick Denes Field.

2012 Sun Belt Conference Coaches Poll (first place votes)

1. Florida International (4)

2. Troy (4)

3. Louisiana-Lafayette (1)

4. Florida Atlantic

4. WKU

6. South Alabama

7. Arkansas State

8. Middle Tennessee

9. Louisiana-Monroe (1)

10. Arkansas-Little Rock


2012 Preseason All-Sun Belt Conference Team

Tyler Ray (Troy, Senior, SP)

Justin Hageman (WKU, Sophomore, SP)

Tanner Perkins (WKU, Junior, SP)

Hugh Adams (Florida Atlantic, Senior, RP)

Mason McVay (FIU, RS-Junior, RP)

Mike Albaladejo (Florida Atlantic, Senior, Catcher)

Mike Martinez (FIU, Senior, 1B)

Caleb Clowers (Louisiana-Monroe, Senior, 2B)

Logan Kirkland (South Alabama, Sophomore, 2B)

Tyler Hannah (Troy, Senior, SS)

Hank LaRue (Middle Tennessee, Sophomore, 3B)

Alex Hudak (Florida Atlantic, Senior, OF)

Pablo Bermudez (FIU, Senior, OF)

Justin Guidry (Middle Tennessee, Senior, OF)

Rudy Flores (FIU, Junior, DH)

2012 Preseason Player of the Year

Pablo Bermudez (FIU, Senior, OF)

2012 Preseason Pitcher of the Year

Tyler Ray (Troy, Senior, SP)