BUENA VISTA, Va. — The Capital Athletic Conference recently released the 2019 Preseason Coaches' Poll, with the Southern Virginia baseball team picked to finish seventh in the conference.
This season the Knights will be led by first-year head coach Jerry Schlegelmilch, who was an assistant coach on last year's squad. Schlegelmilch previously served as Southern Virginia's third head baseball coach from 2001-2006, leading the Knights to 57 wins during his tenure.
"We are excited about our core of returning starters," said Schlegelmilch. "A lot of our success will come from them leading the way."
Southern Virginia is coming off its best season since joining Division III, finishing with an 18-18 overall record and a 9-9 mark in CAC play.
The Knights return All-CAC first baseman Cole Critchfield, who hit .353 and drove in 34 runs last year. Other returners to the lineup include Canon Anderson (.361), Jonathan Soto (.383), Bridger Taylor (.330), and Caleb Layden (.321).
Soto will also look to lead the way on the mound for the Knights as he struck out 37 batters over 43.1 innings in 2018. Relievers Tanner Black and Michael Stirling will also look to lead the team's pitching core.
In the coaches' poll, Salisbury was the leading vote getter as they contend for their fourth consecutive CAC title. Christopher Newport was second in the voting and also received two first-place votes.
The Knights' season begins on Saturday, February 9 as they take on Penn State-Mont Alto in a double-header. Conference play will kick off on March 22 at Mary Washington.
2019 CAC Baseball Preseason Poll
1. Salisbury (6 first-place votes) – 48 points
2. Christopher Newport (2 first-place votes) – 43 points
3. Penn State Harrisburg – 36 points
4. Frostburg State – 31 points
5. York – 22 points
6. Mary Washington – 21 points
7. Southern Virginia – 12 points
8. St. Mary's – 11 points