BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — The Southwestern Athletic Conference released its 2015 preseason baseball all-conference teams and poll Wednesday, and Alabama State was pegged to repeat as the East Division champion, while Texas Southern was picked to win the West Division.
Southern was picked to finished fourth in the West, followed by Grambling.
Southern catcher Jose de la Torre and outfielder D.J. Wallace were named to the SWAC’s preseason first team. Southern pitcher Santos Saldivar made the second team.
Hornets starter Joseph Camacho earned preseason Pitcher of the Year honors, while designated hitter Waldyvan Estrada was named Player of the Year. Prairie View’s Cody Den Beste was named Defensive Payer of the Year.
Alabama A&M placed the most on preseason team at five. Alabama State and Texas Southern each placed four.
In the East Division, Alabama State earned first place with 76 points and 12 first- place votes.
Reigning SWAC champion Jackson State edged Alabama A&M for second place as the programs finished with 55 and 54 points, respectively.
The top three places in the West were separated by only five points.
Texas Southern earned eight first-place votes and 59 points to beat out Prairie View for the top spot. PVAMU finished just one point behind the Tigers at 58 points, respectively, picking up three first-place votes.
Reigning West Division champion Arkansas-Pine Bluff rounded out the top three with 54 points and two first-place votes.
SWAC preseason all-conference teams
1B Austin Hulsey (Alabama A&M); 2B Einar Muniz (Alabama State); 3B Melvin Rodriguez (Jackson State); SS Jordan Friend (Alabama A&M); Moses Harles (Alcorn State); Walter Wells (Prairie View A&M); OF Andrew Utterback (Alabama A&M); OF D.J. Wallace (Southern); OF Brandon Crutcher (Alabama A&M); C Jose de la Torre (Southern); P Joseph Camacho (Alabama State); P T.J. Renda (Alabama State); RP Kevin Walsh (Arkansas-Pine Bluff); DH Waldyvan Estrada (Alabama State)
1B Tilur Smith (Jackson State); 2B Julio Nunez (Alabama A&M); 3B John Cassidy (Arkansas-Pine Bluff); SS Robert Garza (Texas Southern); OF Zach Welz (Texas Southern); OF Scottie Peavey (Alcorn State); OF Cody Den Beste (Prairie View A&M); C Grant Daugherty (Prairie View A&M); P Santos Saldivar (Southern); P Alex Juday (Jackson State); RP Felix Gomez (Texas Southern); DH Jerry Ford II (Texas Southern)
RightAlign.116Alabama State* (12) 76
Jackson State (1) 55
Alabama A&M (2) 54
Alcorn State (1) 39
Mississippi Valley State 16
RightAlign.116Texas Southern (8) 59
Prairie View A&M (3) 58
Arkansas-Pine Bluff (2) 54
Southern (2) 38
Grambling (1) 31
(First-place votes are in parentheses)