The University of Scranton baseball team will be looking to surprise people in 2018 after being chosen seventh in the preseason poll of head coaches in the Landmark Conference, which was released this morning.
The Royals were 19-19 overall finished sixth with a 5-12 mark in conference play last season after being hit by the injury bug, especially in the pitching department. But they return the bulk of an offense that hit .310 and averaged 6.9 runs per game last season.
Scranton received 20 points in the preseason poll. Susquehanna is a narrow favorite with 54 points and four first-place votes, just ahead of Catholic, which finished with 49 points and three first-place votes. Drew was picked third with 37 points, followed by Elizabethtown (32), Moravian (26), Scranton and Juniata (13).
Head coach Mike Bartoletti welcomes back a pair of all-conference honorees from last season. Senior center fielder Tommy Trotter (Cranford, N.J./Cranford) was a first-team choice in each of his first three seasons. Last season, he hit .346 with 35 runs, 13 doubles, three triples, 29 RBIs and 11 stolen bases. Trotter needs 42 hits to reach 200 for his career.
Sophomore first baseman Kevin Haag (Ossining, N.Y./Ossining/Bridgton Academy) was a second-team selection after leading the Royals six home runs and 33 RBIs. He also hit .351 with seven doubles and 26 runs scored.
The Royals will open their season on Saturday, March 3, when they take on Albright in a doubleheader at noon.