The University of Scranton softball team has been picked to finish fifth in the Landmark Conference standings this spring according to a preseason poll of the conference's seven head coaches that was released on Thursday morning.
Moravian was selected as the preseason favorite with 60 points and six first place votes while Susquehanna was slotted second with 43 points and won first place vote. Catholic was picked third with 36 points and Juniata came in just ahead of Scranton with 21 points.
Elizabethtown (9) and Drew (8) rounded out the poll.
The Royals, who captured 19 points this year's balloting, went 20-15 overall last season and tied for the fourth and final playoff spot with a 4-8 record in conference games. Scranton missed out on a spot in the Landmark Conference Championships by virtue of a pair of head-to-head defeats to Juniata.
Mia Collarini Wascura, who enters her seventh year at Scranton's head coach this spring, will look to return to the Landmark Conference playoffs following a one-year absence with a young team after losing nine players to graduation. The Royals' roster features 11 freshmen and five sophomore with just two seniors and two juniors.
Rentzheimer, a two-time Second Team All-Landmark Conference honoree, returns as the ace of the Royals' pitching staff. Last spring, she went 13-6 in the circle with a 1.96 ERA while tossing 15 complete games and striking 85 batters in 114.1 innings pitched. Rentzheimer is currently Scranton's all-time leader in strikeouts per seven innings at 5.55, is second in total strikeouts with 274, and ranks third with 33 wins.
Brogan is a three-year letter-winner who has played in 73 games for the Royals. The senior outfielder has a career batting average of .293 with 18 RBI, five doubles, and one home run while scoring 19 runs. Brogan also sports a .340 career on-base percentage.
Sophomore Megan Zinn (Bridgewater, N.J./Bridgewater-Raritan) is back after an outstanding freshman season for the Royals in which she garnered First Team All-Landmark Conference accolades. Zinn batted .389 with 42 hits including a team-leading 10 doubles to go along with one triple. She also scored a team-high 26 runs while collecting 18 RBI.
The Royals also welcome back junior Molly Hampsey (Tunkhannock, Pa./Tunkhannock), who batted .327 with nine double, two triples, 23 runs scored and 16 RBI and sophomore Casey DeSarno (Wall Township, N.J./Wall) who hit .310 with four doubles, 15 runs scored, and nine RBI.
Scranton will open the 2018 campaign with a pair of games on Saturday, March 10 in Clermont, Florida. The Royals will take on Delaware Valley at 11:30 a.m. followed by a 2:00 p.m. contest against New England College to kick off the team's annual Spring Break trip.