Trojans picked to Win Sun Belt - WSFA.com Montgomery Alabama news.

Trojans picked to Win Sun Belt

TROY, AL (WSFA) -

Defending Sun Belt Conference champion Troy was picked to repeat as the league's top team in the preseason coaches' poll released by the Sun Belt office on Friday. Senior All-America Tyler Ray was named Preseason Pitcher of the Year and All-America senior shortstop Tyler Hannah was named to the Preseason All-Sun Belt Team.

The Trojans received four first-place votes and tied with FIU atop the preseason standings with 93 points. Troy made its third NCAA Tournament appearance in the past six years last season after posting a 43-19 regular season record and 21-9 mark in the league. Troy's three NCAA appearances are the most by any school in the league since the Trojans joined the Sun Belt in 2006.

"It's is nice to be picked at the top heading into the season, but it only matters where you finish," Troy head coach Bobby Pierce said. "Tyler and Tyler are well deserving of their preseason recognition and we are extremely proud of their accomplishments. We are excited to defend our title and know that will we be getting everyone's best this season as the defending champion and one of the preseason favorites."

Ray, who was 12-0 with a 2.39 ERA last season, carries the nation's longest win streak of 12 games into the season opener against Central Michigan on Friday, Feb. 17. The senior right-hander from Hoover, Ala., also enters the season as the NCAA's active leader with 27 career victories. The 2011 Sun Belt Pitcher of the Year is eight victories shy of both the Troy and Sun Belt career records.

Hannah finished the 2011 season third in the NCAA with 27 doubles and 26th in the NCAA with 62 runs scored. The Gardendale, Ala., native was named first team All-Sun Belt last year after batting .370 with seven home runs, a .591 slugging percentage and a .477 on-base percentage.

FIU's Pablo Bermudez, who was named the Co-Player of the Year last season along with Troy's Adam Bryant, was selected as the league's pick for Preseason Player of the Year.

Louisiana-Lafayette was picked third followed by Florida Atlantic, Western Kentucky, South Alabama, Arkansas State, Middle Tennessee, ULM and UALR.

First pitch between the Trojans and Chippewas on Feb. 17 is set for 6 p.m. at Riddle-Pace Field. The four-game series continues with a doubleheader on Saturday beginning at 1 p.m. and a single-game on Sunday at 12 p.m.

Season tickets are available for purchase by contacting the Troy ticket office at 1-877-878-WINS or by visiting the ticket office in person at Tine Davis Fieldhouse. For complete coverage of Trojan baseball, follow @adprende_TROY and @Troy_Baseball1 on Twitter and become fans of the Trojans on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TroyAthletics.

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