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September 27, 2023 9:42 pm

UMO ranks No. 12 in preseason national baseball poll

MOUNT OLIVE – After advancing to the Conference Carolinas championship final last season, the University of Mount Olive baseball team was selected No. 12 in the preseason Collegiate Baseball Top 40 Division II poll.

North Greenville was tabbed as the preseason favorite after capturing its first-ever NCAA championship while posting a 54-10 record and a 9-2 mark in the NCAA tournament. Central Regional champions, Southern Arkansas, were slotted second in the poll. National powerhouse Tampa checks in at No. 3 in the rankings after another 40-plus win campaign in 2022, while Columbus State was selected fourth following an appearance in the Southwest Super Regional finals. The 2021 national champions, Wingate, rounded out the top five in the preseason poll behind a 48-10 record last season.

The Trojans totaled 594 points in the rankings and were one of seven teams from the Southeast Region featured in the preseason poll. UNC Pembroke was picked right behind UMO at No. 13, while fellow regional opponents Lenoir-Rhyne and Young Harris were in the top 30 overall. The Southeast Region looks daunting for all programs involved and has featured the last two national champions in Division II.

UMO finished the 2022 campaign with a 34-20 overall record and an 18-12 mark in Conference Carolinas play. Mount Olive was chosen second in the preseason league rankings last season and entered the year ranked No. 13 overall before finishing fourth in the standings. The Trojans ultimately advanced to the conference championship game and fell to North Greenville in extra innings, 7-6.

— From University of Mount Olive Athletics