12/23/11 — Trojan baseball team ranked No. 15 in preseason College Baseball Lineup poll

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Trojan baseball team ranked No. 15 in preseason College Baseball Lineup poll

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on December 23, 2011 1:48 PM

MOUNT OLIVE -- Coming off its second College World Series appearance in program history, the Mount Olive College baseball team is ranked No. 15 in the Division II College Basebal Lineup preseason poll.

The Trojans finished 47-10 last season and tied for third at the CWS.

"What they do is rank you according to the previous year and last year we came off a big year," said MOC head coach Carl Lancaster. "Although we lost a ton of guys, they don't take that into consideration. But certainly I'm happy we got picked that high because it speaks volumes for our program.

"It will give us a reason to work hard."

Lancaster has plenty of talent in his dugout.

All-American Jacob Rogers returns for his senior season after leading the the team in doubles, triples and one-base percentage a year ago. The budding third baseman scored 53 runs, drove in 53 runs and hit a crisp .414 at the plate.

First baseman Daniel Coffey cranked out five homers and 48 RBI last spring, and earned a spot on the CWS All-Tournament team. Centerfielder Antonio Callaway (38 runs, 11 stolen bases) and catcher/DH Nick Gaeta (.381 batting average) return to the lineup.

Matt Hinkle is back on the mound after logging a 1.16 earned run average (ERA) in 23 innings of work a year ago. He is the lone returning hurler to start a game for the Trojans last season. In the bullpen are returnees Josh Frederick (1-0 record, 3.09 ERA) and Chris Hinton (2.89 ERA).

Mount Olive has claimed four of the past five Conference Carolinas regular-season championships, and six of the last eight Conference Carolinas tournament crowns.

"We have some kids coming in January who will help us a bit," said Lancaster. "We've got a whole new team. We'll have to see how it works out."

Francis Marion (S.C.) University is the preseason No. 1, followed by perennial power Tampa (Fla.), Southern Connecticut State, St. Mary's (Texas) and Barry. Francis Marion lost to Mount Olive in the Southeast Regional last season.

The Trojans open their season Feb. 4 with a home doubleheader against in-state rival Lenoir-Rhyne.