|Connor Harding||Kevin Haag||Kevin Johnson|
The University of Scranton baseball team was picked to finish third in the Landmark Conference preseason poll that was unveiled by the conference office on Tuesday morning.
Defending champion Susquehanna topped the poll with 60 points and six first place votes, while Elizabethtown was slotted second with 37 points and the other first place vote. The Royals garnered 36 points and were selected third in the poll.
Catholic and Moravian tied for fourth in the poll with 31 points apiece. Drew (24 points) and Juniata (12 points) rounded out the remainder of the poll.
Scranton returns a number of key pieces from a team that went 17-22 (9-9 Landmark) and qualified for the postseason for the second consecutive year.
Junior outfielder Connor Harding (Vestal, N.Y./Vestal) was named a First Team Preseason All-American by D3baseball.com after hitting .464 and recording a program-record 70 hits a year ago. Harding hit .464 with three home runs, eight doubles, a program-record nine triples and 34 RBI to go along with 46 runs scored and 14 stolen bases. The Vestal, N.Y., native led the Landmark Conference in batting average, on-base percentage (.517), hits and triples.
Harding hit safely in 34 of his 39 games on the season and recorded 22 multi-hit performances.
Senior Kevin Haag (Ossining, N.Y./Ossining) led the team in home runs (7) and RBI (41) a year ago and returns for the Royals along with junior outfielder Kevin Johnson (Whitehouse Station, N.Y./Hunterdon Central) who hit .339 with two home runs, 18 RBI and nine stolen bases in 37 games.
The University of Scranton baseball team opens the season on Sunday, Feb. 23 when they host Vassar. First pitch at Volpe Field is set for 1 p.m. Click here to view the full 2020 baseball schedule.