Pitt-Bradford baseball has been picked to finish tied for third, and softball was selected fifth in the AMCC preseason coaches' polls, which were released Friday. Baseball player Derek Smith was tabbed to repeat as the conference Player of the Year.
Defending AMCC champion La Roche was tabbed to repeat in baseball, edging out Penn State Behrend. Pitt-Bradford and Pitt-Greensburg were tied for third, and Mount Aloysius and Penn State Altoona rounded out the top five.
Smith, a preseason D3baseball.com honorable mention All-American, hit .482 with seven home runs and 57 RBIs last year. The senior infielder ranked in the top 10 nationally in batting average, runs batted in, slugging percentage and on base percentage.
The Panthers return seven starters to their lineup, including the 2011 AMCC Player of the Year in Michael Pascarella. The junior infielder was limited to 16 games a year ago due to injuries yet still earned first-team all-conference honors after batting .429 as a designated hitter.
Sophomore Aaron Cressley and senior Johnny Phelps headline the rotation. Cressley went 6-3 with a 3.42 ERA last year, while Phelps was 4-3 with a 3.14 ERA. Cressley ranked among the league leaders in strikeouts with 54.
The Panthers open the season Monday, March 11, against Haverford in the Gene Cusic Classic in Ft. Myers, Fla.
Penn State Behrend and Penn State Altoona each received three first-place votes to finish in a tie for first in softball. Mount Aloysius, D'Youville, Pitt-Greensburg and Pitt-Bradford filled out the top five.
The Panthers will be led by junior pitcher Sydney Mosby, who was a second-team all-AMCC pick in 2012 as both a pitcher and first basemen. She had a 3.42 ERA in 137.1 innings pitched and ranked second in the league with 110 strikeouts. Her .330 batting average led the team and she drove in 15 runs.
Pitt-Bradford also opens the season Monday, March 11, in Ft. Myers, Fla., against Salem St. (Mass.) and Curry (Mass.).