Collegiate Baseball Newspaper Slots Florida Tech Seventh In Preseason Poll
By Florida Tech // January 23, 2016
BREVARD COUNTY • MELBOURNE, FLORIDA – For head coach Greg Berkemeier and company, the 2015 season will certainly be difficult to top. Yet, the Collegiate Baseball Newspaper believes Florida Tech will be back in the discussion and ready to compete with the nation’s elite after ranking the Panthers No. 7 in its NCAA Division II preseason poll.
Alongside Florida Tech, the Sunshine State Conference is well-represented with four programs littered throughout the top-25, including last year’s SSC title winner Nova Southeastern and reigning national champion Tampa, who was picked preseason No. 1.
Florida Tech jumped out to a school-record 17-0 start before rounding out 2015 with a record of 38-13, the single-most wins since the 2010 season.
The Panthers ranked atop the SSC in batting, earned run average and fielding percentage en route to a deep postseason run that eventually ended with a bang-bang play at the plate in the NCAA South Region Championship against Tampa.
“2015 was a very good year for our program,” said Berkemeier.
“We felt like we accomplished an awful lot of our goals and had a really good finish even though we obviously came up a little short. We lost a lot of guys that were key components of our program and now need to build off what those guys were able to accomplish.”
Among those that Berkemeier must look to replace are San Diego Padres fourth-round draft pick Austin Allen and the school’s first-ever SSC Pitcher of the Year in Scotty Ward.
However, Florida Tech has welcomed University of Florida transfers Tyler Deel and John Sternagel to help bolster an already strong core of returning players, featuring all-region performer Reid Neal and 2015 freshman standout Ty Cohen.
Opening Day is set for Friday, January 29 as the Panthers expect to be tested early with a three-game set on the road against conference foe Rollins.