ROCK HILL, S.C . — The Lincoln Memorial University baseball team was selected sixth in the South Atlantic Conference Preseason Coaches’ Poll, while junior utility man Scott Miller was named to the Preseason All-SAC Second Team.
Last season, the Railsplitters put a baseball banner in the Tex Turner Arena rafters for the first time since the 1959 campaign, capturing the 2013 Food Lion South Atlantic Conference Championship as the No.5 seed after winning back-to-back elimination games on April 21 in Forest City, N.C.
LMU earned the league’s automatic NCAA Tournament bid with that magical four-day run, earning its first appearance in the NCAA Southeast Regional in school history. All told, the Railsplitters finished with a 26-26 mark in 2013.
Following that banner season, the Railsplitters were slotted for a sixth-place finish in 2014, as the league’s coaches awarded Lincoln Memorial 53 total points in the SAC preseason poll.
Defending SAC regular-season champs Catawba earned the top spot in the poll by an overwhelming margin, nabbing nine of the 11 first-place votes available to accumulate 97 total points. The Indians enter the season ranked 24th nationally in the Collegiate Baseball Newspaper Preseason Poll following a 36-16 season in 2013.
Tusculum and Wingate tied for second with 78 points apiece after finishing third and second in the South Atlantic Conference, respectively, last season. Both the Pioneers and the Bulldogs are receiving votes in the preseason national rankings. Wingate finished 20-7 in SAC play in 2013, while the Pioneers compiled a 33-18 overall mark.
SAC newcomer and reigning NCAA Southeast Region champions Coker picked up 76 points to garner the No.4 spot in the preseason poll. Coker won the Conference Carolinas tournament championship in its final season as a member of the league and promptly rolled through the Southeast Region field to make its first World Series appearance in school history. The Cobras enter the 2014 season ranked 25th in the preseason national poll.
One spot in front of the Railsplitters, the Newberry College Wolves racked up the last two first-place votes available to earn a fifth-place selection in the poll with 71 total points. Newberry finished fourth in the SAC last season with a 29-22 overall ledger.
Carson-Newman and Lenoir-Rhyne collected 49 and 42 points respectively to fall into the seven and eight spots, while No.9 Brevard, No.10 Anderson and No.11 Mars Hill rounded out the league’s preseason poll.
Preseason All-SAC Team
Along with the results of the SAC Baseball Preseason Coaches’ Poll, the league office also unveiled the Preseason All-SAC selections, and junior Scott Miller was named to the second team.
Miller, a graduate of Farragut High School in Knoxville, posted a .338 batting average with 46 hits, 12 doubles, one home run and 21 RBI in 2013. Miller’s .338 clip ranked second on the team and 12th in the South Atlantic Conference. Along with that mark, Miller finished third in the league with a .462 on-base percentage and 16th in runs with 37. Miller rounded out his 2013 stat ledger with 61 total bases, 22 walks and a .449 slugging percentage.
Miller enters the 2014 season carrying a career .328 average at the dish with 48 career runs, 61 hits, 16 doubles, 25 RBI and a lifetime .448 on-base percentage.
The Railsplitters kickoff the 2014 campaign with their annual season-opening series at USC Aiken, ranked 14th in the Collegiate Baseball preseason poll. Lincoln Memorial is slated for a three-game set against the Pacers beginning at 1 p.m. on Saturday. The SAC opener is scheduled for Feb. 7, as the Railsplitters head to Newberry for a three-game series.