The Statesmen are preseason ranked No. 2 in the Collegiate Newspaper Preseason Baseball Poll. Delta State had one of the best seasons in school history last year by going 49-15 and advancing to the NCAA Division II National Championship game for the fourth time in school history. DSU also won the Gulf South Conference Title and the South Region Championship. The trip to the Division II World Series last year was the 11th in team history for the Statesmen.
Junior outfielder Jordan Chovanec and senior outfielder Michael Vinson are the top two hitters returning from last year’s team. Chovanec hit a team-leading .351 with three home runs, 28 RBIs, 30 stolen bases and 57 runs, while Vinson hit .342 with five home runs, 53 RBIs and 47 runs. Chovanec and Vinson each committed just one error in the field.
On the pitching staff, senior pitchers Josh Branstetter, Jordan Moore and Colton Mitchell are the top hurlers returning to the mound in 2013. Branstetter went 7-3 with a 3.01 ERA, Moore went 8-1 with a 3.08 ERA and Mitchell went 8-2 with a 3.50 ERA. Mitchell threw a perfect game last year and was a finalist for the CSpire Ferriss Trophy.
West Florida (No. 16) and North Alabama (tied with Missouri-St. Louis at No. 30) make up the rest of the GSC teams that are in the national poll. The other preseason ranked teams DSU have on its schedule are 19th ranked Nova Southeastern, 24th ranked Southern Arkansas and 32nd ranked Florida Southern.
Delta State will begin the season on Feb. 8 with a three-game home stand against the University of Montevallo.