Picha and Johnson named Preseason All-Southland
Jan. 30, 2013
FRISCO, Texas – After being honored by the Southland at the conclusion of last season, the Lamar duo of Brad Picha and Darian Johnson grabbed a spot on the conference’s preseason baseball team as announced by the league office on Wednesday afternoon.
As a team, the Cardinals were projected to finish sixth in both polls.
“I think that both Picha and Johnson will finish the season on the first team,” head coach Jim Gilligan said. “I would almost guarantee it. As far as the polls go, it’s probably appropriate for where we finished last year, but I’m fairly confident that we will do better than that.”
Sam Houston State took all but one first place vote in the coaches’ poll. The results were a bit tighter in the sports information directors’ poll as both Southeastern Louisiana and Oral Roberts earned three votes.
Picha, an All-SLC Honorable Mention a year ago, was the only Lamar player to be named to the first team, and Johnson, an All-SLC third teamer in 2012, was placed on the second team.
Picha’s debut season in the Red and White was one to remember as the Stephenville native and Paris Junior College graduate led the team in doubles (17), runs batted in (38) and on-base percentage (.398). He played in all 52 games last season, collecting a hit in 32 and multiple hits in 19 to end the season with a .320 average.
“Obviously, it’s a big honor, but I don’t want to get a big head or anything going into the season,” Picha said. “I just want to go out there and play and do whatever it takes to help the team win. That’s important. As a senior, we really want to not only make it to the conference tournament, but move beyond it. I think that would be really special.”
Johnson led the Cards in five offensive categories last season, including average (.344), runs (34), hits (73), total bases (102) and slugging percentage (.481). The Mesa Community College graduate was also one of just two players to start all 52 games, and he will also be looking to make his second season in Beaumont just as memorable.
“It feels really good to get picked,” Johnson said. “It’s nice to have a lot expected of you before the season starts, so I have to be happy about it. I want to go in with a lot of momentum this year and try to go into the conference tournament as a high seed. From there, anything can happen.”
Lamar baseball season will begin on February 15 against Northern Kentucky at Vincent-Beck Stadium. For single game and season ticket information, call the LU Ticket Office at 409-880-1715 or click here.
2013 Preseason All-Southland Conference Baseball Teams
*Returning all-conference selection;