|Carhart Recognized; Hatters 32nd in Coaches Poll|
Stetson senior Ben Carhart has been rated as the ninth best third baseman in the nation by Perfect Game and the Hatters received votes in the USA Today/ESPN Preseason Coaches' Poll released Thursday.
Carhart had a .323 batting average as a junior with seven home runs and 63 RBI in helping to lead the Hatters to a 43-20 overall record and a berth in the Columbia (SC) Regional where they played to the final day against eventual national champion South Carolina.
The Hatters were 32nd in the USA/ESPN Coaches Poll, finishing the preseason voting with 23 points in voting by 31 Division I coaches from around the country. Stetson is the second highest ranked team from outside the “major” conferences. Two other Atlantic Sun Conference teams – Belmont (48) and Jacksonville (54).
Stetson was also the fourth ranked team in the state of Florida behind the top-ranked Gators, No. 9 Florida State and No. 13 Miami. UCF (51) joined with Jacksonville as other state programs to receive votes.
The Atlantic Sun Conference representative on the voting panel is Jacksonville head coach Terry Alexander.
Stetson officially opens practice on Friday looking for a second straight Atlantic Sun Conference title. Head coach Pete Dunn enters into his 33rd season in charge of a Hatters program coming off a 43-20 overall record in 2011. Stetson earned its 17th all-time NCAA Regional appearance, its 16th under Dunn.
The Hatters return 42 of their 43 victories on the mound from 2011, including defending A-Sun Pitcher of the Year Kurt Schluter, who posted an 8-0 record with a 1.40 ERA in an injury-shortened campaign.
Both Schluter, a junior, and senior reliever Jake Boyd have received preseason All-America accolades entering 2012. Boyd posted a 9-1 mark with a 2.93 ERA a season ago with six saves.
In addition to the stable of healthy arms returning for 2012, the Hatters also have all four infield starters back as well as the designated hitter. Stetson also has one full-time starter back in the outfield and another part-time starter.
The Hatters will open the 2012 season with 18 of their first 19 games at Melching Field, with the only road game just down the road in Daytona Beach. Stetson will open the season with a three-game series against George Washington beginning Feb. 17 before hosting Central Michigan for a four-game set beginning Feb. 24.
The Hatters will host the Brighthouse Invitational Tournament March 2-4 with two games scheduled each day at Melching Field. Visiting teams from Pennsylvania, Southern Illinois and Georgia State will also participate in the event.
Season tickets for the complete 36-game home schedule, plus the return of the A-Sun Conference Tournament in May, are available for purchase by contacting the Stetson Athletics Ticket Office at 386-822-8110 or by visiting the ticket office in person at the Edmunds Center.