AUGUSTA, Ga. – Columbus State was picked to finish third in the annual Preseason Peach Belt Conference Coaches' Baseball Poll announced by the league office on Tuesday afternoon. The poll was voted upon by the league's 13 head coaches.
The Cougars received two first place votes, one second and five third place votes. They also received a pair of fourth and fifth place selections to finish with 119 points.
Francis Marion, who is coming off a 40-18 season, was selected as the preseason team to beat receiving 137 points which included seven first place votes. USC Aiken (119), CSU, Armstrong (108) and Lander (98) rounded out the top five.
Columbus State is looking to improve upon 2012 in which they went 30-23 overall and posted a 15-15 mark inside conference play. The Cougars return just 12 players from last season's squad including four starters.
All-PBC designated hitter Cameron Scott and Brett Teschner are both returning for their senior seasons. Scott finished the year hitting .338 with six home runs and 49 RBIs. Teschner led CSU in most offensive categories including average (.353), home runs (seven) and RBIs (55).
Also returning for the Cougars is Preseason All-PBC selection Ryan Lewis. Lewis missed all but three games last season due to an injury. In 2011, Lewis hit a team best .360 starting all 51 games. He scored a team high 44 runs while hitting eight home runs, 14 doubles and collected one triple. He also drove in 37 runs.
For his efforts, Lewis was named a second team All-Southeast Region player by the American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA) and a third team selection by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA).
All-PBC pitcher Brodie Leibrandt also returns for his senior season after posting a 7-5 mark in 2012. He tossed six complete games with two shutouts. He ended the year with a 2.51 ERA.