RICHMOND, Va. – With the 2011 baseball season less than a month away, the Colonial Athletic Association announced Tuesday its preseason all-conference selections. Four Virginia Commonwealth University players were represented with two receiving first team accolades.
Junior first baseman Brent Mikionis (pictured, right) and senior relief pitcher Jonathan Watson were each named to the All-CAA First Team, while junior right-hander Seth Cutler-Voltz and junior utility player Taylor Perkins received honorable mention All-CAA recognition.
Mikionis hit .343 with a team-best 11 home runs last year and finished second on the Rams with 13 doubles and 54 RBI. VCU will continue to rely on his power in the middle of its lineup this season. Meanwhile, Watson (pictured, left), who was arguably VCU's most reliable relief option in 2010, is expected to anchor the back end of the bullpen during his final campaign with the Black & Gold. He finished 4-2 with a 2.51 ERA in a team-leading 31 relief appearances a year ago. The Richmond native also collected 53 strikeouts in 61.0 innings of work.
A 2010 All-CAA second team selection, Cutler-Voltz will again help anchor a young and talented pitching staff. The righty went 8-4 with a 3.47 ERA in 119.0 innings, including five complete games as a sophomore. Perkins, who also received All-CAA honors at catcher a year ago, is expected to split time behind the plate and in the field. The Dinwiddie, Va., native hit .295 with 31 RBI in 2010, including eight doubles, two triples and a pair of home runs.
The Rams, who were picked to finish third in the CAA this season, return five starters from last year's 34-26-1 squad that made its 10th NCAA Regional appearance and eighth under Head Coach Paul Keyes.
VCU will begin practice on Feb. 1 before opening the 2011 season with a three-game home series against Fordham on Feb. 18-20. The Rams then welcome Monmouth to The Diamond for three games Feb. 25-27.