On Tuesday, the Bryan College Baseball Program received a #23 ranking in the NAIA Pre-Season Coaches Poll.
The poll is voted on by a panel of head coaches which represent each conference and the top 25 is determined a result of points awarded based upon on how each voter ranks the best teams. The first regular season poll will be released on March 15.
Head Baseball Coach, Taylor Hasty, was grateful for the recognition, "Whenever you are a part of a program ranked in the top 25 it is exciting. There are so many great teams around the country and it is such an honor for us to be included with them."
The baseball team returns many of its team members from a year ago when they went to the NAIA Opening Round for the second season in a row on their way to a 44-18 record.
The Lions will open their 2016 campaign against #25 University of Rio Grande in a 4-game series in Dayton, Tenn. on February 5th and 6th. The Red Storm ended the Lions season a year ago in the NAIA Opening Round in Dayton Beach, Florida. Rio Grande is just one of the tough opponents Bryan will face in the month of February as the second week of the month has a trip to Miami scheduled to take on, NAIA and Sun Conference stalwarts, #15 Kaiser University and #2 St. Thomas University. St. Thomas was one of the last teams standing in the 2015 season as they fell a few outs short of winning the World Series Title in Lewiston, Idaho.
The 55 game schedule for the Lions includes matchups with 5 other NAIA ranked opponents including #7 Lindsey Wilson, #17 University of Northwestern Ohio, #19 Campbellsville University, #21 Missouri Baptist and in Appalachian Athletic Conference Play #14 Tennessee Wesleyan.
Coach Hasty believes the conference schedule will be a tough test as well, "Pre-season rankings mean very little; our conference is going to be very tough again this year. There are some really good teams in the AAC and I have great respect for how their coaches prepare them year in and year out."
Bryan College will play host to Truett McConnell College, Point University, Reinhardt University, Bluefield College and Milligan College. The Lions will travel to defending AAC Champion Tennessee Wesleyan, Union College, Montreat College and St. Andrews University.
The Appalachian Athletic Conference Tournament will be held in Kingsport, Tenn. again this season and feature the top 8 teams of the Conference in a double elimination tournament. The Regular Season Conference Champion as well as the Tournament Champion will receive the two automatic bids to the NAIA Opening Round with an opportunity to play and advance to the Avista NAIA World Series in Lewiston, Idaho.