EVANSVILLE, IN (WFIE) - The NCAA Division II defending national champion University of Southern Indiana baseball team is ranked Number 1 in the Collegiate Baseball Newspaper/NCAA Division II Preseason Top 40 Poll.
The number one preseason ranking is the second time in program history that USI has been placed in the top slot to start the season.
USI opens the 2015 schedule February 13 when it visits second-ranked University of Tampa for a three-game series in Tampa, Florida.
The 2015 Screaming Eagles' schedule also includes 11th-ranked Quincy University, 27th-ranked Trevecca Nazarene University, and 28th-ranked Grand Valley State University.
The Eagles, who won their second national title and their third Midwest Regional crown last year with a record of 49-13, are entering their ninth season under the direction of Head Coach Tracy Archuleta, a two-time NCAA II Coach of the Year (2010 and 2014).
Archuleta, who also was the GLVC Coach of the Year in 2014, has led the Eagles to both of their NCAA II national championships and a 312-50 (.675) record during his first eight years.
On the field, USI returns first-team All-GLVC and Division II Baseball Championship Series Most Valuable Player Matt Chavarria (Carlsbad, New Mexico), a senior shortstop/right-handed closer, and first team ABCA Golden Glove honoree and first team All-GLVC Kyle Kempf (Evansville, Indiana), a junior outfielder.
Chavarria, who had two saves and was the winning hurler in the national title game, led the GLVC and ranked fifth nationally with 14 saves, while hitting .257 and driving in 28 RBIs. Kempf was second on the team with a .342 batting average, leading the team with 51 runs scored, 23 stolen bases, 21 doubles, four home runs, and 36 RBIs.