GREENWOOD – The nationally ranked Lander baseball team received two first-place votes and is picked to finish second overall in the Peach Belt Conference this year according to a preseason poll conducted by the PBC's head coaches and released today (Jan. 24).
The second-place preseason ranking is the team's highest in the 17-year history of the program.
The Bearcats, who are ranked No. 20 nationally in the Collegiate Baseball Newspaper's preseason poll, finished the 2013 season with a 35-16 overall record.
Lander, which returns All-American outfielder Patrick Grady and pitcher Dylan Wolchik, opens the season at 1 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 1 with a non-conference doubleheader against Belmont Abbey at Dolny Stadium.
USC Aiken garnered nine first-place votes and is the favorite to win the PBC regular-season championship with 130 points. Lander follows with 117 points, Montevallo is third with 97, Georgia College fourth with 96, and UNC Pembroke, which grabbed the last first-place vote, is fifth with 91.
Rounding out the poll are: 6. Columbus State (88), 7. Francis Marion (87), 8. Armstrong Atlantic (68), 9. Flagler, North Georgia and Young Harris (41), 12. Georgia Southwestern (22), and 13. GRU Augusta (17).