MOC ranked No. 7 in preseason Collegiate Baseball Division II poll
By MOC Sports Information
Published in Sports on December 23, 2010 1:47 PM
MOC Sports Information
MOUNT OLIVE -- Perennial powerhouse Mount Olive College is ranked No. 7 in the 2011 Collegiate Baseball Division II preseason top 40 poll.
The Trojans earned a top-10 ranking for the third time in the past four seasons, and have been nationally ranked in the preseason for six consecutive years.
MOC received 532 points in the poll, placing 18 points behind No. 6 Abilene Christian (Texas) and 16 points ahead of No. 8 Florida Southern. The Trojans finished second among eight Southeast Region teams ranked in the poll. No. 4 Georgia College and State is the highest-ranked in-region team.
Defending national champion Southern Indiana took the top spot in the preseason poll, followed by 2010 national runner-up UC San Diego.
The Trojans logged 41 wins last season, won the Conference Carolinas regular-season and tournament championships, and advanced to the NCAA Division II Southeast Regional.
Six position starters and two all-Conference Carolinas pitchers return off last year's squad.
Designated hitter Mike Knox earned All-America honors after breaking school single-season records with 24 home runs and 94 runs batted in last year. Knox, who batted .378, became the first player in Trojan history to hit three home runs in a game twice during the same season.
Outfielder Joseph Westbrook, who belted a three-run homer in a second-round victory in the 2008 NCAA II Baseball National Finals, batted .443 last season and scored the tying run in the bottom of the ninth in the Trojans' 2-1 win over Erskine at last year's regional.
Second baseman Ryan Faison drove in the game-winner in that game and batted .381 for the season. Shortstop Dan Hayduk batted .387 with six home runs before suffering a season-ending injury. Third baseman Daniel Coffey batted .333 and had a 6-for-6 game against Limestone last year.
Catcher Tyler Smith batted .350 last season, including a 5-for-5 game against Shippensburg and a 4-for-4 performance against St. Andrews.
Carter Capps was named to the 2010 Daktronics All-Southeast Region first team after becoming only the second pitcher in Trojan history to go undefeated with at least 10 wins. He was 10-0 last year with a 3.06 earned run average and a better than 5-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio, fanning 63 batters in 79 1/3 innings while walking only 12.
Capps recorded six complete games, including two shutouts. He threw only 77 pitches in his nine-inning complete game win over Erskine at the Southeast Regional.
Curtis Hudson earned All-Conference Carolinas second team honors last year, posting a 6-2 record with two complete games and one shutout. A two-time Conference Carolinas Pitcher of the Week during the 2010 season, Hudson recorded 52 strikeouts in 65 1/3 innings pitched. He posted conference wins in his first two conference starts and also three six scoreless innings in a shutout win over national top 10 Francis Marion.
The Trojans' 2011 schedule includes games against six teams ranked in the top 40, as well as two teams that received votes in the poll. Mount Olive will face No. 5 Tampa (Fla.), No. 9 Kutztown (Pa.), No. 15 Francis Marion, No. 23 Catawba, No. 24 California (Pa.) and No. 28 Erskine.
Wingate and Carson-Newman received votes in the poll.
MOC will face three former Division II College World Series champions -- Tampa (Fla.), Lynn (Fla.) and Carson-Newman. The Trojans open their 2011 campaign with three-game, non-conference series Feb. 5-6 at in-state foe Lenoir-Rhyne.