By Staff Report.
GREENSBORO, N.C. – Clemson, which returns a number of key players from last year’s team that reached the College World Series and finished tied for third in the nation, received the nod as the 2011 Atlantic Coast Conference baseball preseason favorite in voting by the league’s 12 head coaches.
The Tigers were picked to finish atop the ACC’s Atlantic Division on eight ballots and were named as the overall conference favorite by seven coaches. Returning players for Clemson include outfielder Jeff Schaus, who led the ACC and placed fourth in the nation with 87 RBI in 2010, shortstop Brad Miller, who hit .357 to lead the Tigers in batting, and third baseman John Hinson, who hit .351 with 17 homers and 75 RBI.
Three coaches picked defending ACC champion Florida State to repeat, and two named Virginia as the likely 2011 overall winner.
Nine coaches selected Virginia to repeat as ACC Coastal Division champion, while Georgia Tech received two first-place votes and Miami one. Four coaches cast first-place votes for Florida State in the Atlantic Division.
Teams were awarded six points for each first-place vote, five points for each second-place vote, etc., in determining the predicted order of finish for each division.
Florida State joined Clemson in the 2010 College World Series at Omaha , Neb. , and Georgia Tech, Miami , North Carolina , NC State, Virginia and Virginia Tech also made the NCAA tournament field to give the ACC a conference-record eight teams in postseason play.
Nine ACC players have been named to 2011 preseason All-America teams, including 2010 ACC Pitcher of the Year Danny Hultzen of Virginia; Florida State outfielder/pitcher Mike McGee, who received the 2010 John Olerud Award as the nation’s top two-way player, and the Clemson trio of Schaus, Miller and Hinson.
ACC teams open their seasons Feb. 18 and conclude regular-season play May 21. The ACC Baseball Championship will be held May 25-29 at Durham Bulls Athletic Park in Durham , N.C.
Complete results of the 2011 ACC Baseball Coaches Preseason Poll are listed below. First-place votes are in parenthesis:
OVERALL CHAMPION: Clemson (7)
Also receiving votes: Florida State (3), Virginia (2)
Clemson (8) 68
Florida State (4) 64
NC State 46
Boston College 26
Wake Forest 21
Virginia (9) 69
Georgia Tech (2) 56
Miami (1) 48
North Carolina 40
Virginia Tech 25