MELBOURNE, Fla. – Exactly two weeks from Opening Day, Nova Southeastern has been selected to finish second in the Sunshine State Conference preseason coaches’ poll, announced Thursday by the league office. The Sharks earned 89 total votes, including one first-place tally, trailing only Tampa, who was voted upon as the conference favorite.
Nova Southeastern fell just shy of its second straight trip to the NCAA Division II Baseball Championship in 2017, yet made the deepest postseason run of any Sunshine State Conference member by claiming third in the south regional. The household names like Jancarlos Cintron and Brandon Gomez have since moved on, but head coach Greg Brownand his staff return standout catcher Jake Anchia for at least one more season to team up with a mass influx of talent.
“I think in 2018, we’re going to have to identify ourselves,” said Brown, who has guided the Sharks to five postseason appearances in his seven seasons at the helm. “I think we have some strong pitching, while offensively, we’re going to have to find our way. Hopefully there’s a little more athleticism and speed to our game that we can incorporate. Last year we had a lot of power, and that’s something we’re going to have to continue to develop in this program. This should be a club that finds its way, though, and we’re going to see some players emerge that can hopefully help lead us into a deep run into the playoffs.”
Florida Southern, another postseason club from a year ago, followed Nova Southeastern by coming in third in the poll. Lynn, meanwhile, was tabbed fourth with 70 votes, with Florida Tech rounding out the Top-5 by receiving 62 votes.
Below are the full results of the 2018 SSC preseason coaches’ poll. Coaches are not allowed to vote for their teams (points: 11-10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1, first-place votes in parentheses).