MELBOURNE, Fla. – Sunshine State Conference coaches select the University of Tampa as the preseason number one for the ninth time in ten years. With 100 points and nine first-place votes in the poll, the Spartans are expected to lift the league trophy for the fourth consecutive year.
Defending South Region champion, Florida Southern College, finishes second in the voting with 90 points and the remaining two first-place votes. Nova Southeastern follows in third place with 83 points, while Saint Leo University holds in fourth place at 72 points. Lynn University rounds out the Top-5 after receiving 64 points in the preseason ranking. Palm Beach Atlantic University and Rollins College tied for 6th at 47 points and were followed the voting by Florida Tech (34 points), Eckerd College (24 points), Barry University (23 points), and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (22 points).
Tampa [42-11, 27-3] won its 19th SSC championship and qualified automatically to compete in the 2018 South Region tournament. Along with the Spartans, the Moccasins of Florida Southern [45-11-1, 22-8] and Sharks of Nova Southeastern [35-16, 24-6] also earned a regional bid. Top seed and host, FSC, claimed its 21st regional championship after beating Tampa in the championship final. At the NCAA finals site, the Moccasins went 3-2 in tournament play to finish in third place. For more information on the 2018 season, including national award winners and the league's success in Major League Baseball, please click here.
With Florida Southern's most recent trip, SSC teams have now reached the NCAA Division II World Series 42 times. Four programs have won a combined 18 national championships, with NSU's 2016 title being the most recent. Florida Southern leads the SSC with nine national baseball titles, the last coming in 2005. Tampa follows closely with seven championships, including its 2015 championship. Lynn joined the SSC baseball national championship ranks after winning it all in 2009.
First pitch of the 2019 season comes on Friday, February 1st with 10 teams in action. League play opens up on February 7th with Barry visiting Fort Lauderdale to take on Nova Southeastern. South region tournament play begins May 16th with a host determined following the last week of the season. Cary, North Carolina repeats as the NCAA finals host for 2019, competition in the Tar Heel state is slated to begin on June 1st with a new champion crowned on June 8th.
Below are the full results of the 2019 SSC preseason coaches' poll. Coaches are not allowed to vote for their teams (points: 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1, first-place votes in parentheses).
|Rank||School (FPV)||Total Points|
|2||Florida Southern (2)||90|
|T6||Palm Beach Atlantic||47|