Mount Olive, which spent six weeks at No. 1 last season, is ranked No. 5 in two preseason baseball polls: the 2014 Collegiate Baseball Preseason Division II Top 40 Poll and the 2014 College Baseball Lineup Division II Top 30 Poll. The Trojans are ranked in the Preseason Top 40 for the 10 consecutive year, including the last three years in the top five.
Mount Olive posted a 48-8 record in 2013 and was the top seed and host of the NCAA Division II Southeast Regional for the third year in a row. The Trojans entered the NCAA Tournament atop the Collegiate Baseball Top 30 and was ranked No. 8 in last year's final poll.
Top returning position player for the Trojans is senior outfielder Bradon Reitano, who was selected as a first team All-America by two organizations, the ABCA and National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA). He batted .361 last year with 10 home runs, including two grand slams. Reitano ranked among the top six in the nation with 65 runs scored and 62 runs batted in. He also stole 19 bases in 20 attempts.
Also returning is infielder Zak Orrison, last year's Conference Carolinas Baseball Freshman of the Year. Orrison was the Trojans' starting second baseman last season and also saw time at shortstop. Orrison batted .328 with 13 doubles, 46 rbi's and 20 stolen bases in 26 attempts.
Junior designated hitter Bretton Gouthro moved into the starting lineup late in the 2013 season. Gouthro started in 11 games last year, batting .333. He homered and drove in three runs against King and scored three runs in a come-from-behind win over Armstrong.
On the mound, junior starting left-hander Alex Regan was a consensus All-America in 2013. Regan went 14-1 last season, tying for first in the nation in wins and posting the highest winning percentage in the nation (.933) among pitchers with at least 10 wins. His 1.81 earned run average ranked 25th in the nation.
Regan is joined by fellow junior left-hander Derek Justice, who also saw innings out of the bullpen. Justice posted a 4-2 record with one save and a 3.38 earned run average.
The Trojans were ranked No. 3 in last year's preseason poll, No. 5 in the 2012 preseason poll and No. 7 in the 2011 preseason poll. Mount Olive's highest preseason ranking was No. 1 in 2009 after winning the 2008 NCAA Division II Baseball National Championship.
Mount Olive collected 617 points in the Collegiate Baseball Poll, finishing only two points behind No. 4 West Florida and three points ahead of sixth-ranked Grand Valley State (Mich.). Defending national champion Tampa (Fla.) topped the poll with 630 points, followed by last year's national runner-up Minnesota State with 626 points. St. Edward's (Texas), which joined Tampa and Minnesota State in last year's NCAA Division II National Finals at Cary, N.C., is No. 3.
Minnesota State is ranked No. 1 in the College Baseball Lineup Poll, followed by No. 2 USC Aiken, No. 3 Tampa and No. 4 Texas A&M-Kingsville.
The Trojans' 2014 schedule includes a February 7 match-up against Tampa in the Prestige Appliance Classic at Aiken, S.C. Mount Olive plays 16 games against teams that are ranked or received votes in the preseason poll. The Trojans are the highest ranked of eight Southeast Region teams in the Preseason Top 40.
Mount Olive and Town of Cary will co-host the National Finals for the sixth consecutive year and USA Baseball National Training Complex will be the site of the championship through at least 2018. The 2014 NCAA Division II National Finals take place May 24-31.
Mount Olive opens the 2014 season the first weekend of February with a three-game series at 2013 NCAA II Atlantic Regional host Winston-Salem State, which received votes in the preseason poll. The two teams play a doubleheader February 1 and a single game February 2.
The Trojans are on the road the first two weekends, then play host to Saint Augustine's February 12 at Scarborough Field for the first of seven consecutive home dates, including three doubleheaders.