TOWSON, Md. – The 2013 Landmark Championship baseball team, Moravian College, has been picked to repeat this season. The Greyhounds received five first place votes and 55 points to earn the top spot in the poll. Catholic University was picked second with 41 points and one first place vote while the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy earned the No. 3 spot with the final first place vote and 34 points. Susquehanna finished fourth in the poll with 29 points.
Moravian (24-19, 10-8) returns 30 players and 13 starters including the entire starting pitching rotation and closer from last year's Landmark Conference Championship team. Senior Joey Connell and junior Matt Hanson are set to lead the squad after earning ABCA/Rawlings All-Mid-Atlantic Region honors, and Hanson is one of four returning Greyhounds that received postseason recognition from the Landmark Conference. Moravian received votes in both the 2014 D3baseball.com and ABCA/Collegiate Baseball News Preseason Polls, and the squad is scheduled to play nine of its 22 non-conference games against competition that was either ranked or received votes in the polls.
Catholic (26-17, 11-7) returns five All-Landmark performers from a year ago including First Team selections Marc Hanna and Robin Mowatt. The Cardinals are charged up to return to the Landmark playoffs after earning the top seed in last year's tournament.
USMMA (20-17, 11-7) earned a share of the last year's regular season conference championship. The Mariners return four All-Conference players, including reigning Player of the Year Warren Hartmann. The Mariners also return their top-three starting pitchers.
Susquehanna (14-25, 7-11) welcomes back a large number of players from its 2013 season including All-Conference starting pitcher Spencer Hotaling. Bryan Palsi, who led all starters with his .363 batting average as a freshman, is also back for the Crusaders. Head coach Denny Bowers, now in his ninth season, has also added roughly 20 newcomers to the team.
The University of Scranton (23-20, 10-8) was picked fifth in the poll with 26 point and Drew University (18-22, 8-10) finished sixth with 20 points. Juniata College (11-26, 6-12) earned the seventh spot with 12 points.
The 2014 season kicks off Feb. 21 when Moravian travels to Hampden-Sydney's Floyd B. Wilcox Memorial Tournament. All seven teams will be in action by Mar. 6.
The top four teams in the final regular season standings qualify for postseason play in the Landmark Conference Tournament. The top seed will host a double elimination tournament Saturday May 3 through Monday, May 5. The conference champion will earn the automatic qualifier to the NCAA Division III Tournament.
|2014 Landmark Baseball Preseason Poll|
|Rank||Institution (First Place)||Points|
|3.||Merchant Marine (1)||34|