MELBOURNE, Fla. (January 17, 2019) – With the first pitch of the 2019 season two weeks away, the Sunshine State Conference released its preseason poll, conducted among the league's 11 head coached.
Rollins landed tied for sixth in the ranking, matching Palm Beach Atlantic with 47 points. Tampa earned nine first-place votes and 99 points to top the poll while Florida Southern was second with 90 points (two-first place). Nova Southeastern checked in third with 83 points.
UT has won each of the last three SSC championships and six of the last seven. The Spartans have been picked No. 1 in all but one of the last 13 polls.
The Tars went 20-29 overall and 8-22 in SSC play last season, winning four of the last five to close the year strong.
Top hitters Nick Santucci (.279 BA), Luke Reidy (.275 BA) and Brendan Brundage (.270 BA) are back to lead the Tars bats. Santucci was third on the team with 12 extra base hits and 24 RBIs. Reidy knocked in 20 runs and Brundage was one of the top base stealers with eight.
Gone is ace Brad Case (drafted 17th round by Pittsburgh Pirates) and strikeout specialist Brian Auerbach (Philadelphia Phillies undrafted signing), but Rollins returns ample experience to its talented pitching staff. Senior Cameron Enck led the Tars with 75 strikeouts last year while Whit Drennan (3.27 ERA) and Garrett Leonard (no hitter vs. Lynn) are also back to lead the Tars on the mound.
Rollins starts its 2019 season with a three-game home stand against Lenior-Rhyne February. 1-3. The opener against the Bears is set for 5 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 1 followed by a 1 p.m. first pitch Saturday and Noon start Sunday, Feb. 3. The Tars play nine of their first 10 games in the renovated Alfond Stadium at Harper-Shepherd Field. Fans can follow Tars baseball all season long on the Tars Sports Network at RollinsSportsLive.com.
Below are the full results of the 2019 SSC preseason coaches' poll. Coaches are not allowed to vote for their teams (points: 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1, first-place votes in parentheses).
|2019 SSC Baseball Preseason Coaches Poll|
|Rank||School (FPV)||Total Points|
|2||Florida Southern (2)||90|
|T6||Palm Beach Atlantic||47|