RICHMOND, Va. – The Colonial Athletic Association released its 2015 preseason baseball poll and all-conference team/awards on Wednesday, Jan. 21. Elon infielder Casey Jones was tabbed CAA Preseason Player of the Year, while the Phoenix was selected fourth by the league’s head coaches.
A 2015 Louisville Slugger Preseason All-American this year, Jones is coming off a year in which he was named an All-American by three different organizations en route to Southern Conference Player of the Year laurels. Jones, who was a finalist for the 2014 Gregg Olson Award as the “Breakout Player of the Year”, led the SoCon and ranked among the top five in the nation with a .418 batting average last year. He became just the third Elon player to finish with a batting average of .400 or better during the program’s NCAA Division I tenure. His SoCon-best .418 average was the highest by an Elon player since Jeff Kipila batted .438 in 1988.
Jones won Elon’s triple crown by also pacing the Phoenix with seven homers and 53 RBI. He also led the league with a .668 slugging percentage, .502 on-base percentage, 82 hits and 20 doubles. Over the course of the season, Jones put together a 26-game hitting streak, a program-best at the Division I level. In fact, the Midlothian, Va., resident recorded at least one hit in 47 of the team’s 53 games. He also reached base safely (walk, hit or hit-by-pitch) in 51 of the 53 outings.
Additionally, Elon right-handed hurler Lucas Bakker was an honorable mention All-CAA selection. Bakker finished the 2014 season with a 7-3 record and 3.81 ERA in 87.1 innings pitched. Bakker tallied 64 strikeouts and held opponents to a .257 batting average. Bakker was named SoCon Pitcher of the Week twice in 2014 and SoCon Pitcher of the Month in March. He went 29.2 consecutive innings without allowing an earned run during part of March.
College of Charleston was named the preseason favorite in the CAA this season, receiving eight first-place votes. Following the Cougars in the poll was UNCW (one first-place vote), William & Mary, Elon, Northeastern, Delaware, Hofstra, James Madison and Towson.
Elon is coming off a 27-26 season in the SoCon as it enters its inaugural year in the CAA. Elon has captured a combined six SoCon regular season and tournament titles over the previous nine seasons, making a total of six appearances in the NCAA Tournament under 19th-year head coach Mike Kennedy.
The Phoenix begins the season on Feb. 13 against Penn State at Latham Park.
2015 CAA BASEBALL PRESEASON PREDICTED ORDER OF FINISH
1. College of Charleston (8 first-place votes) 64 2. UNCW (1 first-place vote) 52 3. William & Mary 51 4. Elon 43 5. Northeastern 37 6. Delaware 29 7. Hofstra 19 James Madison 19 9. Towson 10
2015 PRESEASON ALL-CAA BASEBALL TEAM
Player, School Pos. Cl. Hometown 2014 Stats Ryan Hissey, William & Mary C Jr. West Chester, Pa. .313, 8 HR, 39 RBI Corey Dick, UNCW 1B Sr. Albemarle, N.C. .315, 6 HR, 38 RBI Zach Lopes, Delaware 2B Sr. Wilmington, Del. .320, 1 HR, 29 RBI Chad Carroll, James Madison SS Jr. Oakton, Va. .389, 3 HR, 55 RBI (’13 stats/inj. ‘14) Carl Wise, College of Charleston 3B Jr. Lexington, S.C. .295, 3 HR, 54 RBI Norm Donkin, Delaware OF Sr. Folsom, Pa. .316, 3 HR, 30 RBI Joe Giacchino, Delaware OF Sr. West Chester, Pa. .314, 2 HR, 23 RBI Casey Golden, UNCW OF So. Siler City, N.C. .269, 3 HR, 29 RBI Kevin Husum, James Madison OF Sr. Panama City, Fla. .309, 0 HR, 20 RBI Casey Jones, Elon UT Sr. Midlothian, Va. .418, 7 HR, 53 RBI Charley Gould, William & Mary DH Jr. Lake Forest, Ill. .333, 7 HR, 42 RBI Jason Inghram, William & Mary SP Sr. Chesapeake, Va. 10-2, 2.71 ERA, 91 K’s Bailey Ober, College of Charleston SP So. Huntersville, N.C. 10-3, 1.52 ERA, 85 K’s Joseph Gaouette, William & Mary RP Jr. Reston, Va. 3-1, 4 svs., 1.84 ERA, 54 K’s
CAA Preseason Player of the Year: Casey Jones, Elon
Honorable Mention: Rob Fonseca, 1B, Northeastern; Blake Butler, 2B, College of Charleston; Michael Foster, IF/RP, Northeastern; Peter Bowles, SS, Towson; Dalton Rouleau, SS, Hofstra; Morgan Phillips, OF, College of Charleston; Luke Dunlap, OF/DH, UNCW; Lucas Bakker, SP, Elon; Taylor Clarke, SP, College of Charleston; Dustin Hunt, SP, Northeastern