Manchester University earned 81 ranking points on the 2018 Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference coaches preseason poll, released Wednesday, Jan. 31.
The combined 11-time regular season and postseason tournament champions trailed only defending league titlist Earlham College who gained 93 ranking points and six first-place votes. Franklin College rounded out the top three with 79 ranking points and gathered the remaining three first-place nominations.
Five Spartans landed on the Players to Watch section. The quintet consisted of senior pitchers Brandon Eck (Fort Wayne, Ind.), Stephen Pinarski (Goshen, Ind.) and Taylor Kopplin (Westport, Ind.); senior outfielder Eric Knepper (Bremen, Ind.); and junior outfielder Tyler LaFollette (Warsaw, Ind.).
Manchester University begins its 2018 season with five games in Myrtle Beach, S.C., from March 1-3.