WINTER PARK, Fla. – Coming off of their best season since 2001, the Saint Leo University baseball team was picked to finish 7th in this year's Sunshine State Conference Preseason Poll. The squad, picked to finish 8th prior to the 2013 spring semester, ended last season with an overall record of 35-14-1 and a second place SSC finish.
Tampa received first place recognition in the preseason poll after finishing out 2013 as the NCAA Division II National Champions.
In the poll conducted among the SSC head baseball coaches, the Tampa Spartans tallied 64 points and received eight of nine first-place votes. Florida Tech was selected second with 46 points. Barry and Lynn both received 42 points for third, while the Fighting Knights earned the remaining first-place vote.
Nova Southeastern was tabbed fifth with 41 points. Florida Southern took the sixth slot with 34 points, and Saint Leo earned 31 points for seventh. Rollins (16 points) and Eckerd (8 points) rounded out the preseason poll.
In addition to the Sunshine State Conference preseason poll, Saint Leo was recently ranked 28th in the Collegiate Baseball Newspaper Division II Preseason Poll, a poll that ranks the top-40 programs in the country. The only other SSC institution to receive a preseason ranking was No. 1 Tampa.
The Lions, who return two All-SSC players to their roster this year, have named 21 newcomers to the green and gold and will rely on key returners to carry the team through a tough SSC and regional schedule.
Saint Leo will begin the 2014 season on Saturday, Feb. 1 when they travel to the University of North Georgia to take on the Nighthawks. The first pitch of the single game will be thrown out at 6:00 p.m.
For the complete Sunshine State Conference release, click here. For the complete poll, see below.
Anyone who is interested in more information regarding the Saint Leo baseball team should visit SaintLeoLions.com. Also, be sure to 'Like' the Lions on Facebook and 'Follow' Saint Leo Athletics on Twitter and Instagram.
2014 Sunshine State Conference Preseason Baseball Poll
Rank - Team, Points (1st-place votes)
1 - Tampa, 64 (8)
2 - Florida Tech, 46
T3 - Barry, 42
T3 - Lynn, 42 (1)
5 - Nova Southeastern, 41
6 - Florida Southern, 34
7 - Saint Leo, 31
8 - Rollins, 16
9 - Eckerd, 8