The Falcons were followed by 2009 MAC Tournament Champion Kent State in the East, while Ohio was picked to finish third. Miami was selected to finish in fourth place, while Akron was tabbed to place fifth. Buffalo rounded out this year’s East Division predictions.
2009 MAC Tournament runner-up Toledo was picked to finish second in the West Division and was followed by Central Michigan in third place. Eastern Michigan, Northern Illinois and Western Michigan rounded out the remaining sports in the West.
Ball State returns 16 letterwinners, including six position starters and eight pitchers from its 2009 squad that went 26-26 (14-10 MAC). Among those returning are 2009 All-MAC first-team selections Zach Dygert and Kolbrin Vitek. Ian Nielsen will also return for the Cardinals after being named to the Freshman All-America team last season. Earlier this month Vitek was named to the 2010 Ping!Baseball Preseason All-America Third Team. Vitek finished second on the team and sixth in the MAC with a .389 batting average. He also led the MAC in doubles (25), was second in RBI (67), third in slugging percentage (.736), third in total bases (153) and was fourth on the mound in opponent batting average (.268).
The Falcons and 2009 MAC Coach of the Year Danny Schmitz welcome back 20 letterwinners, including 12 position starters and eight pitchers from last year’s MAC Regular Season Champion squad that finished with a 28-22 overall record (18-8 MAC). Among those returning are 2009 MAC Pitcher of the Year and All-MAC first-team selection Brennan Smith. Joining Smith are first-team selections Logan Meisler, Matt Malewitz and second-team honorees Tyler Elkins and Derek Spencer.
The MAC baseball season begins on February 19th, while conference play starts up March 26. The season will culminate with the MAC Baseball Tournament, which takes place May 26-29 at VA Memorial Stadium in Chillicothe, Ohio.
2010 MAC Baseball Preseason Coaches Poll
1. Bowling Green – 64 points
2. Kent State – 61 points
3. Ohio – 49 points
4. Miami – 39 points
5. Akron – 25 points
6. Buffalo – 14 points
1. Ball State – 72 points
2. Toledo – 52 points
3. Central Michigan – 44 points
4. Eastern Michigan – 35 points
5. Northern Illinois – 29 points
6. Western Michigan – 21 points
Ball State (5), Kent State (3), Bowling Green (2), Eastern Michigan (1), Miami (1)