WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Catholic University baseball team was tabbed No. 1 in the 2019 Landmark Conference Preseason Coaches' Poll, as announced by the league office Wednesday afternoon.
The Cardinals, who set a program record with 31 wins last season on their way to a league-leading 5th conference title, received 48 total points and three first-place votes. Elizabethtown College followed close behind with 43 points and three first-place votes for second place.
Susquehanna University followed in third place, receiving 42 points and one first-place votes in the poll. Moravian and last year's tournament runner-up, Scranton came in fourth and fifth place, respectively.
Despite losing an accomplished 2018 senior class, including Brennan Cotter, the Landmark's all-time single season RBI leader (70) and Catholic's career home-run leader (18), head coach Ross Natoli and his 2019 senior class should lead the team to compete for another conference championship.
Among the returnees is two-time ABCA/Rawlings All-Region selection senior Jon Mierzwa (4-1, 3.12, 81K). The two-time All-Landmark First Team honoree led the league with 81 strikeouts as a starting pitcher and is joined by junior reliever Jack Ropelewski (7-1, 3.18, 39K), who earned second-team honors. In the field, seniors Bailey Lewis (.359, 7 HR, 31 RBI) and Ryan Tracy (.354, 52 H, 26 RBI) return after being named to their first All-Landmark Second Team last season.
The Cardinals begin their season at home with a doubleheader versus Cabrini on Saturday, February 16. The team follows with February matchups against St. Mary Md., (2/20), SUNY New Paltz (2/23-24) and Hood (2/26). Catholic begins its Landmark championship title defense upon returning home from its South Carolina trip with a three-game series on the road against Elizabethtown on Saturday, March 16-17.
The Landmark Conference Championship Tournament is slated for Friday, May 10 through Sunday, May 12 at Scranton.
2019 Landmark Baseball Preseason Poll
() indicates first-place votes
- Catholic – 48 points (3)
- Elizabethtown – 43 points (3)
- Susquehanna – 42 points (1)
- Moravian – 38 points
- Scranton – 23 points
- Drew – 19 points
- Juniata – 18 points