GREENWOOD - The Lander baseball team, which won a school-record 52 games last season, tied with Columbus State as the favorite to win the 2015 Peach Belt Conference regular-season title according to a coaches' poll that was released by the league office today.
Lander received eight first-place votes and Columbus State five as both teams totaled 137 points. In the Collegiate Baseball Newspaper's national preseason rankings released earlier this month, Lander is No. 3 and Columbus is No. 12. This marks the first time Lander has been the PBC's preseason favorite.
Last season, the Bearcats won the PBC regular-season and tournament championships for the first time, then advanced to the NCAA Division II College World Series after winning the Southeast Regional crown.
Georgia College and USC Aiken are tied for third in the PBC poll with 116 points and are followed by: 5. Armstrong 96, 6. UNC Pembroke 78, 7. Francis Marion 76, 8. Montevallo 69, 9. Flagler 55, 10. North Georgia 51, 11. GRU Augusta 39, 12. Young Harris 26, and 13. Georgia Southwestern 18.
The Bearcats open the season at 2:30 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 31, when they play a non-conference game at Mount Olive. Lander will face Mount Olive again at 1 p.m., Sunday, then travel to Claflin College for a 1 o'clock non-conference contest on Wednesday Feb. 4. The Bearcats will host North Greenville at 4 p.m., Friday, Feb. 6, in their home opener at Dolny Stadium.