Jan 2, 2013 1:46 PM by LSU-Eunice Media Relations
Coming off their fourth NJCAA National Championship in seven seasons, the LSU Eunice baseball team will begin 2013 with the top ranking in the Collegiate Baseball Newspaper's NJCAA Div. II Pre-Season Poll.
The Bengals are no stranger to the No. 1 ranking - finishing last season atop the poll in addition to their National Championship win.
"We are very appreciative and honored for the preseason ranking. But, it is important to realize it's not where you start but where you finish that matters," LSU Eunice head coach Jeff Willis said.
"There are no trophies handed out at the start of the year and preseason polls are quickly forgotten," he added.
LSU Eunice has some familiar company at the top of the rankings, with Western Oklahoma checking in at No. 2 on the preseason listing. The Bengals defeated the Pioneers last June in the Championship game.
Heartland Community College, Madison College and Des Moines Community College round out the polls' top-five teams.
The Bengals met up with each of the four teams in the National Tournament last season, losing their opening game of the tournament to Des Moines before rattling off victories over Scottsdale Community College (No. 8 preseason ranking), Des Moines, Madison and Heartland before their victory over Western Oklahoma in the final.
A pair of NJCAA Region 23 foes also check into the first rankings, with Itawamba Community College opening their season ranked 11th in the country and Hinds Community College beginning their campaign ranked 17th.
The 2013 regular season slate for the Bengals includes a three-game set against Murray State College on Feb. 15-17, the only meeting against a team ranked in the preseason poll. Murray State will begin their season ranked 19th in the country.
Last spring, the Bengals captured a new NJCAA record for wins in a season - with 57 victories - and set a new NJCAA mark for overall team record - finishing with a 57-5 record, a .919 winning percentage.
LSU Eunice pops the lid on their 2013 schedule Feb. 1-3 when they welcome North Lake College to town for a three-game set.