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With just over a week left before the start of the 2012 college baseball season, the Stetson Hatters received their most impressive preseason recognition to date this week.

The Hatters are the No. 1 ranked team in the nation in the preseason College Baseball Daily Mid-Major Poll. Stetson ranked just ahead of perennial national power TCU, which is ranked second out of the Mountain West Conference and St. John’s from the Big East.

The rest of the top 10 included Texas State, recent College World Series participant Louisville, Georgia Southern, Troy, Dallas Baptist, Jacksonville from the Atlantic Sun and Kent State.

In addition to the No. 1 ranking, Hatters junior pitcher Kurt Schluter was named a second team All-American after earning A-Sun Pitcher of the Year honors in 2011 and preseason honors this year. Schluter was 8-0 with a 1.40 era in 2011 before missing the final six weeks of the year with an injury.

Stetson will open the 2012 season on Friday night, February 17, at Melching Field against George Washington University. The first pitch on opening day is scheduled for 6:30 p.m.

The teams will play again on Saturday, Feb. 18, at 2 p.m. and will close the series on Sunday with a 1 p.m. first pitch.

Fans will be greeted at Melching Field by a new state-of-the-art scoreboard and video board this year.

Stetson’s second weekend series, a four-game set against Central Michigan scheduled for February 24-26, will include a first-pitch ceremony on Friday night by DeLand native, and Atlanta Braves superstar, Chipper Jones.

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