Webster University and Spalding University have been chosen as the favorites this season in the SLIAC preseason baseball poll as voted on by the league’s coaches. Webster received 45 total points while Spalding received 44 total points. This marks the first time in SLIAC history baseball will be split into separate divisions, the East and West.
Greenville College received 42 points and the remaining two first place votes to finish second in the poll in the East Division. The Panthers are coached by Lynn Carlson and bring back nine starters and 22 players from last year’s team that went 24-20 overall and 19-8 in conference play, advancing to the SLIAC Tournament Championship game. Greenville’s offense will be carried by the trio of Tim Osborne, Trevor Montgomery, and Jared Storment. Osborne, an outfielder named Second Team All-Conference last year, hit .377 with 12 home runs and 52 runs batted. Montgomery, a junior catcher, earned First Team All-Conference honors after hitting .388 with five home runs and 30 RBI while Storment, a senior first baseman, hit .298 with eight home runs and 34 runs batted to earn Second Team All-Conference honors. The Panthers pitching staff brings back Nick Bifano and Michael Wittmer. Bifano, a junior, was one of the league’s premier relievers finishing first in the conference in both appearances (28) and saves (11). Wittmer appeared in 24 games last season and finished with a 2.90 earned-run average in 31 innings pitched.