Stephens named to preseason All-C-USA team

MT picked ninth in preseason poll

January 29, 2014 · @MTAthletics

C-USA Release (PDF)

IRVING, Texas - The Middle Tennessee baseball team was voted ninth out of 13 teams in the Conference USA coaches' poll, as announced Wednesday by the conference office. In addition, senior outfielder Ryan Stephens was named the All-Conference USA preseason team.

Stephens returns for his senior campaign after hitting .329 as a junior, clubbing 11 doubles, four triples and four home runs to go along with an .862 OPS and seven stolen bases on his way to a second-team All-Sun Belt selection. The Murfreesboro native is one of five Blue Raiders returning to the starting lineup and one of 18 letterwinners from a 2013 team that went 28-28.

"I'm very happy for Ryan," said head baseball coach Jim McGuire. "It's well-deserved. He had a great year in 2013. That being said, it's an honor to make that team in our first year in Conference USA."

Rice received 12 of 13 first-place votes en route to being named the preseason favorite by the C-USA coaches. Florida Atlantic, East Carolina and Southern Miss were ranked second through fourth, while fifth-place Tulane garnered the other first-place vote. FIU, UTSA and Charlotte preceded the ninth-place Blue Raiders, ranked sixth through eighth. Old Dominion, UAB, Marshall and Louisiana Tech rounded out the preseason poll.

"I'm not shocked about where we were picked, but it's not picked, it's where you finish." said McGuire. "Polls are based on last year's results and this year's predictions, so it's an opportunity to prove that we're better than where we were picked."

East Carolina's Drew Reynolds and FIU's Aramis Garcia were named preseason Co-Players of the Year, while Rice's Zech Lemond earned preseason Pitcher of the Year honors.

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