Cumberland is ranked 10th in the 2014 NAIA baseball coaches’ preseason top 25 poll, the national office announced Tuesday.
The Bulldogs were a near unanimous selection as the favorite to win the 2014 Mid-South Conference championship, as voted on by the league coaches in a poll released earlier week. Head coach Woody Hunt, entering his 33rd season at the helm of the program, returns five starters and four pitchers from last season’s 41-19-1 club that won the MSC regular season title.
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. Outfielder Chris Hall of Friendship Christian was voted Mid-South Conference Freshman of the Year, batting .395 with 15 stolen bases, 19 RBIs and 50 runs scored.
Kevin T. Greene and Kevin P. Greene along with Jake Collier return on the mound along with Gomez for CU. The trio combined for a 16-7 mark with a 3.37 ERA in 187 innings of work. Richie Seaton batted .311 with 13 doubles, 35 RBIs and 35 runs scored and Tyler Anderson posted a .295 average with nine doubles, 32 RBIs and 23 runs scored.
The Bulldogs will play eight teams during the 2014 season that are ranked in the preseason poll, including top-ranked Faulkner, the defending national champion, No. 3 Embry-Riddle, fourth-ranked Missouri Baptist and No. 8 Tennessee Wesleyan. Lindsey Wilson (15th), Georgetown College (23rd), Ave Maria (t25th) and Freed-Hardeman (t25th) are also on the schedule.
Cumberland 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 first of 30 home games is Feb. 11 against Union University.