The Baseball Observer Feb 2015 vol 1 - Page 53

Cortland Ranked Fifth in Two National Preseason Baseball Polls Source: SUNNY Cortland Athletics The SUNY Cortland baseball team enters the 2015 season ranked fifth nationally in Division III by both Collegiate Baseball Newspaper and by the web site D3baseball.com. The Red Dragons, under 16th-year head coach Joe Brown, will open the season with games at sixth-ranked Salisbury on Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 21-22. Cortland's schedule also features a game versus Eastern Connecticut State (#17 CB/#19 D3b) and a doubleheader versus Endicott (#27 CB) in Florida and an April home game versus Misericordia (#25 D3b). Six other Cortland opponents are among the "others receiving votes" in at least one of the two polls. Cortland finished 36-10 last season and tied for fifth at the NCAA Div. III World Series. The Red Dragons have made 12 World Series appearances, all since 1995, including national runner-up showings in 2010 and 2005. Cortland's World Series appearances are the most by any Div. III school since the Series adopted an eight-team format in 1991, followed by Marietta (11), Chapman (10), Eastern Connecticut State (8) and Wisconsin-Oshkosh (8). The Red Dragons have qualified for the NCAA playoffs each of the last 22 years – the longest active streak nationally in Div. III and the fourth-longest active streak in any division behind Div. I schools Miami (42), Florida State (37) and Cal St.-Fullerton (23). Etta Express ranked No. 10 in Collegiate Baseball Preseason Poll Source: Marietta Athletics TUCSON, Ariz. — Marietta College is ranked No. 10 in the Collegiate Baseball/American Baseball Coaches Association NCAA Division III Preseason Poll released Tuesday (Dec. 23). Defending National Champion the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater is the No. 1 team in the preseason poll. The Etta Express finished 30-16 last spring winning the Ohio Athletic Conference regular season championship. Marietta made its NCAA-record 39th appearance in the Mideast Regional and hosted the event for the fourth time in five years. Pioneer skipper Brian Brewer, in his 12th year at the helm, will look to junior All-American pitcher Christian Herstine (Beaver, Pa./Beaver Area) to lead the Etta Express in 2015. Herstine posted a 9-1 record and 1.20 earned run average last season. He was named first team All-American by D3Baseball.com and was a second team AllAmerican selection by the ABCA. Off the mound, Marietta will count on senior catcher Chris Winpigler (Frederick, Md./Tuscarora) and senior first baseman Mitch Geers (West Chester/Lakota East) to anchor the lineup. Winpigler earned second team All-Region honors after leading the Pioneers with a .376 batting average. Geers hit .285 with a team-best 14 doubles and five home runs. Last season Marietta played the toughest schedule in the nation and based on the preseason poll, 2015 will be no different. Eight of the Pioneers' 2015 opponents are either ranked in the Top-30 or are receiving votes in the poll.