The Sun Belt's baseball coaches think the Florida Sun Belt Farewell Tour brings the best baseball in the conference, voting FIU second behind FAU in the preseason poll.
While the first place votes got spread around -- FAU with five, one each for FIU, Arkansas State, Middle Tennessee State, Louisiana-Lafayette, Louisiana-Monroe -- the total points put the South Florida schools in a two-team slipstream. A second-to-third gap of 18 points followed FAU's 89 voting points and FIU's 85.
Catcher Aramis Garcia and pitcher Michael Ellis got voted to the preseason all-conference team.
FIU opens this weekend with a series at home against Stonybrook.
The inaugural sand volleyball season opens Mar. 8 in California against Grand Canyon University. But the most awaited program opening match aside from the first football game is Mar. 23 against Webber International, at 9 a.m. on the sand courts across the street from The Branch, adjacent to the parking garage.
FIU's Surf and Turf Tournament Mar. 29-31 brings in last year's American Volleyball Coaches' Association Collegiate Sand Volleyball National Champion Pepperdine, Tulane, FAU and Georgia State. There's a home match against Florida Gulf Coast on April 6, too.