The three-time defending Sun Belt Conference tournament champion Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns baseball team was named the unanimous choice to win the SBC West Division title in the 2017 Sun Belt Conference Baseball Coaches’ Preseason Poll, the league office announced on Wednesday.
Starting this season, the Sun Belt Conference has split into East and West Divisions for baseball. Appalachian State, Coastal Carolina, Georgia Southern, Georgia State, South Alabama and Troy make up the East Division, while Arkansas State, Little Rock, Louisiana, Texas State, ULM and UT Arlington round out the West Division.
“It’s always an honor to have the other coaches in the conference recognize you for your hard work and potential,” head coach Tony Robichaux said. “But that is mostly based on the accomplishments of last year’s team, and this year’s team still has a lot of work to do. The biggest challenge is that you don’t have to be ranked first to be first. That’s what makes a poll like this dangerous. Ultimately it’s someone else’s opinion. We appreciate that’s how they see it, but that’s why you play the games.”
The Ragin’ Cajuns received all 12 first place votes and 72 points to come in first in the west. UT Arlington was tabbed second in the west with 50 points, while Little Rock (45 points) and Texas State (44 points) were close behind. Arkansas State (27 points) and ULM (14 points) rounded out the six-team west division.
In the East Division, Coastal Carolina received 10 first place votes and 70 points to finish ahead of South Alabama who had one first place vote and 56 points. Georgia Southern was picked third with one first place vote and 48 points. Troy (39 points), Georgia State (23 points) and Appalachian State (15 points) wrapped up the bottom three teams in the East Division.
“We aren’t going to be able to just claim the West Division because of this poll,” Robichaux said. “Like with last season, these guys know that they are entitled to nothing and that they will have to work hard to reach our goals.”
Louisiana opens the 2017 season at Southeastern Louisiana on Friday, Feb. 17 with a 6 p.m. contest. The Cajuns home opener is slated for March 3 at M.L. “Tigue” Moore Field at Russo Park against Southern Miss.
Season Tickets are still on sale to the general public. Fans can order season tickets one of three ways; in person at the Cajundome Box Office between 10 am – 4 pm on weekdays, online at RaginCajuns.com or over the phone at (337) 265-2357.
Make sure to follow Ragin’ Cajuns baseball on Facebook (RaginCajunsBaseball), Twitter (@RaginCajunsBSB) and Instagram (@RaginCajunsBSB) to get the latest updates.
2017 Sun Belt Conference Baseball Coaches’ Preseason Poll
first-place votes in parentheses
1. Coastal Carolina (10) – 70 pts
2. South Alabama (1) – 56 pts
3. Georgia Southern (1) – 48 pts
4. Troy – 39 pts
5. Georgia State – 23 pts
6. Appalachian State – 15 pts
1. Louisiana (12) – 72 pts
2. UT Arlington – 50 pts
3. Little Rock – 45 pts
4. Texas State – 44 pts
5. Arkansas State – 27 pts
6. ULM – 14 pts