Florida Southern College baseball has been picked to finish third in the 2020 season in the SSC Preseason Coaches Poll and managed to snag the last remaining first-place vote.
Topping off the poll is defending national champion University of Tampa, with 100 points and 10 first-place votes, while Nova Southeastern University sits in second with 87 points.
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (60 points) came in fourth place, followed closely by Florida Tech (58 points) in fifth, completing the top-five list. Saint Leo University (54 points) trailed behind in the poll in sixth place, with Barry University (50 points) close behind. Lynn University (38 points) grabbed eighth place, and final spots were given to Eckerd College (31 points), Rollins College (26 points) and Palm Beach Atlantic (23 points).
“I try not to focus on preseason rankings too much,” Men’s baseball head coach Lance Niekro said. “Regardless of where we are ranked, there are things we need to work on and play the game the way we are capable of playing.”
The Mocs lead the SSC and NCAA D2 with nine national baseball titles, the last of which was in 2005.
Florida Southern’s third-place pick in the 2020 SSC Preseason Coaches Poll comes after last year’s rough season for the Mocs. After the team experienced an onslaught of injuries during the 2019 season, FSC ended the conference 23-27. Despite the troubles last year, the team hopes to come back better than ever, with many key players returning and several newcomers joining the team.
“Last year was a tough year,” Niekro said. “We have made a conscious effort to not forget what we went through last year, but to concentrate on what we do this year.”
The Collegiate Baseball Newspaper also released preseason rankings and players to watch in December. Florida Southern’s Zach Scott was recognized as a South Region Preseason All-American, while Jacob Teter was named one of the South Region Players to Watch. Ben Bagget has been recognized as a South Region Newcomer to Watch.
Florida Southern College baseball first hit the pitch on Jan. 31, and league play begins on Feb. 21.