In a close-knit vote, defending Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference champion Manchester University was picked second on the annual coaches' preseason poll Tuesday, Jan. 29.
The Spartans received 87 points and three first-place votes, while Anderson University edged them out for the top spot with 88 points and four first-place votes. Franklin College was a nearby in third, tallying 81 points and three first-place votes.
Four Spartans made the league's Players to Watch list. Third baseman Jordan Nieman (Michigan City, Ind.) and pitcher Dylan Padgett (Kirkland, Ind.), both seniors, and outfielder Kyle Norris (Indianapolis, Ind.) and shortstop Trevor Kimm (Anderson, Ind.), each juniors, represented MU.
The Black and Gold open the 2014 campaign with their annual trip to Myrtle Beach, S.C., March 1-3. The complete HCAC coaches' poll can be viewed at www.heartlandconf.org.