Joplin, Mo. -- The Missouri Southern baseball program has been picked tenth in the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) preseason Central Region Poll, the organization announced.
The Lions were 32-19 last year and 23-17 in the MIAA, good enough for a third-place finish in the final conference standings. Southern has been picked sixth in the preseason MIAA Coaches Poll. The team returns 11 letterwinners and six starters including two players the team missed dearly last season in seniors Dallas Burke and Brett Abell. Both missed 2012 due to injuries, but were All-MIAA picks in 2011 and hope to return to that form this year.
Also returning are All-MIAA picks from last season in seniors Sam Ryan and Michael McCoy. Ryan should see time back at his familiar catcher spot, as well as some time at third base, while McCoy will make the move back to the infield from the outfield, a position he played at his junior college.
Central Missouri was picked first and received five of the eight first-place votes. Minnesota State was picked second, while St. Cloud State, Missouri Western and Southern Arkansas round out the top five. Southeastern Oklahoma State, Winona State, Augustana, Central Oklahoma and Southern round out the top ten.
The Lions open the regular season with a pair of double-headers against Montana State-Billings at the Metrodome in Minneapolis, Minn. Southern will play the Yellowjackets at 11:45 am on February 9 and at 7 am on February 10.
The complete pre-season Central Region Poll is listed below.
Rank School (# 1st-Place Votes) W-L Pts. Prev.
1. Central Missouri (5) 48-9 76 T-1*
2. Minnesota State (2) 51-12 72 1
3. St. Cloud State (1) 48-14 65 2
4. Missouri Western 34-17 50 6*
5. Southern Arkansas 37-17 41 5*
6. Southeastern Okla. St. 34-17 31 7*
7. Winona State 29-22 28 6
8. Augustana 32-21 18 7
9. Central Oklahoma 31-17 13 9*
10. Missouri Southern 32-19 12 RV*
* Indicates final 2012 South Central Region Ranking