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Lander baseball No. 3 in national preseason rankings

Senior third baseman Colby Painter, a 2014 All-Peach Belt Conference selection, is one of the Bearcats' top returners for the 2015 season. (File photo by Bob Stoner)
Senior third baseman Colby Painter, a 2014 All-Peach Belt Conference selection, is one of the Bearcats' top returners for the 2015 season. (File photo by Bob Stoner)

GREENWOOD - The Lander baseball team, which played in its first-ever College World Series last season, is ranked No. 3 in the 2015 Collegiate Baseball Newspaper preseason poll.

The Bearcats finished the 2014 season with a school-record 52-9 record and won the NCAA Southeast Regional Tournament, along with the Peach Belt Conference regular season and tournament championships.

Defending national champion Southern Indiana (49-13 last season) leads the poll with 625 points and is followed by: 2. Tampa (54-4) 623; 3. Lander (52-9) 620; 4. Seton Hill (41-17) 618; 5. Colorado Mesa (47-13) 616; 6. Emporia State (42-19) 613; 7. Minnesota State (48-11) 611; 8. Chico State (43-15) 610; 9. Southern Arkansas (39-19) 607; and 10. Franklin Pierce (35-18) 604.

The next 10 are: 11. Quincy (30-26) 599; 12. Columbus State (40-17) 597; 13. Mount Olive (40-13) 594; 14. USC Aiken (36-17) 592; 15. U.C. San Diego (38-16) 590; 16. Florida Southern (35-19) 589; 17. Arkansas Tech. (44-12) 587; 18. Drury (44-13) 584; 19. Texas A&M-Kingsville (38-20) 582; and 20. Lynn (35-16) and Cal Poly Pomona (32-17) 579.

The Bearcats will open the season at 1 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 1 when they travel to No. 13 Mount Olive for a non-conference doubleheader. After a Feb. 4 non-conference game at Claflin, Lander will host North Greenville at 4 p.m., Friday, Feb. 6 in its home opener.