Cumberland received eight first-place votes and was a near unanimous selection as the favorite to win the 2014 Mid-South Conference baseball championship, as voted on by the league coaches in a poll released this week by the league office.
The Bulldogs and long-time head coach Woody Hunt return five starters and four pitchers from last season’s 41-19-1 club that won the MSC regular season title with a 19-2 mark. Senior hurler Anthony Gomez earned preseason All-America honors last week after posting an 11-1 record with a 1.16 earned-run-average in 93.0 innings of work. Former Friendship Christian outfielder Chris Hall was voted Mid-South Conference Freshman of the Year, batting .395 with 15 stolen bases, 19 RBIs and 50 runs scored.
Cumberland picked up 80 total points with its eight first-place votes. Lindsey Wilson was second with 69 points and one first-place vote and Georgetown College ranked third. Campbellsville had the other first-place vote and was fourth in the poll.
St. Catharine, the University of the Cumberlands, Shawnee State, Rio Grande, Bluefield and Pikeville rounded out the poll.
The Bulldogs will open the season Feb. 7-8 in Montgomery, Ala., taking on Auburn Montgomery in a doubleheader and NAIA World Series participants Missouri Baptist and Faulkner, the defending national champion. The first of 30 home games is Feb. 11 against Union University.