Southern’s baseball team took 10 of the 20 first-place votes and tallied 85 points in the voting by Southwestern Athletic Conference coaches and sports information directors to win the league’s West division in preseason polls released Friday.
Prairie View was second with 74 points and six first-place votes, while Grambling and Texas Southern were third and fourth with 59 and 56 points, respectively, while Arkansas-Pine Bluff was fifth with 26 points. GSU and TSU also received two first-place votes each.
Alabama State and Jackson State tied for first in the East. Both Hornets and Tigers picked up 77 points Each team also received eight first place votes. Alcorn State was picked third with 61 points and two first-place votes, while Mississippi Valley State placed fourth with one first-place vote and 48 points and Alabama A&M was fifth with 22 points.
Elias Todman of Grambling, Angel Rosa of Alcorn State and Desmond Russell of Jackson State headline the preseason All-SWAC team.
Todman was voted preseason Offensive Player of the Year, while Rosa repeated as preseason Defensive Player of the Year and Russell garnered preseason Pitcher of the Year accolades.
Last season, Todman was second in the conference in batting with a .344 average. He had two home runs, three triples, nine doubles and 43 RBIs. His RBI total tied for third in the SWAC. Todman was also tied for fourth in the league in hits with 62 and ranked seventh in total bases with 83.
Rosa was a second-team All-SWAC performer in 2012. He started in 47 of the 48 games he played. He finished the season with a fielding percentage of .906. In 203 chances, Rosa committed only 19 errors, with 74 putouts and a team-leading 110 assists. At the plate, Rosa batted .292, in 171 at bats. He had two triples, 10 doubles, 30 RBI and scored 23 runs. Rosa also swiped five bases.
Russell was also a member of the All-SWAC second team in 2012. The 5-8 junior led the SWAC with an ERA of 2.34. His record of 10-2 was second best in the conference. Russell was also ranked second in complete games (8) and innings pitched (107.2). and tied for third in strikeouts with 86. Russell is a 2013 Preseason Lousville Slugger All-American.