Defending Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference tournament champion Manchester University was one of 56 NCAA Division III programs recently recognized by Collegiate Baseball News. Coach Rick Espeset's Spartans were mentioned "among top teams" with the release of CBN's Division III preseason poll Dec. 20.
Collegiate Baseball News also announced its 2013 "Players to Watch" list for Division III. It included senior pitcher/outfielder Bryce Murphy (Ossian, Ind.), senior pitcher/second baseman Justin Scott (Fort Wayne, Ind.), senior pitcher Kyle Konarski (Elkhart, Ind.), junior infielder/pitcher Jordan Nieman (Michigan City, Ind.) and senior infielder Corey Marchant (Fort Wayne, Ind.). Marchant, a 2012 American Baseball Coaches Association Division III All-American, Murphy and Nieman each return after garnering .300-plus batting averages a year ago, while Murphy, Konarski and Scott combined for 21 of the Black and Gold pitching staff's 28 decisions in 2012.
MU opens the 2013 season with a six-game southern trip in Myrtle Beach, S.C., March 2-4.