FROM CBD NEWS SOURCE
Cleveland, Ohio – Defending MAC Regular Season and Tournament Champion Kent State and defending MAC West Division Champion Central Michigan have been chosen by the league’s head coaches to win their respective divisions, released today by the league office. The Golden Flashes were also selected by seven of the leagues head coaches to take home the 2012 MAC Tournament title.
The Golden Flashes were followed by Miami in the East while Bowling Green was selected to finish third. Ohio was selected to finish in fourth place, while Akron was tabbed to place fifth. Buffalo rounded out this year’s East Division predictions.
Toledo was picked to finish second in the West Division and was followed by Eastern Michigan in third place. Northern Illinois, Western Michigan and Ball State rounded out the remaining sports in the West.
Kent State finished the 2011 season ranked No. 26 in the nation according to the Collegiate Baseball Newspaper, winning the MAC regular season and tournament championships and earning a berth in the 2011 NCAA Championship Austin Regional. After earning the program’s first-ever national tournament regional No. 3 seed, Kent State tallied an 11-inning 4-2 win over Texas State and followed it with a 7-5 winner’s bracket triumph over regional host and No. 5-ranked Texas to earn the school’s second-ever berth in a regional final. The Flashes became the first squad to win three straight MAC Tournament crowns and first since 2005 to win the conference’s regular season and tournament titles in the same season. Kent State’s mark of 45-17 matched the 1992 squad for most victories in program history.
Central Michigan will welcome back 12 letterwinners to a team that posted an overall record of 31-27 (17-9 MAC) last season. The Chippewas return just one starter from their 2011 weekend rotation in senior Zach Cooper. Cooper, a 46th-round pick of the Florida Marlins in last spring’s MLB Draft, was an All-MAC selection last season after going 6-3 with a 3.26 earned run average in 91 innings. Three of the Chippewas’ top four hitters from last season return at the infield positions, including senior third baseman Tyler Hall, senior first baseman Nate Theunissen and junior shortstop Jordan Dean. Hall led the NCAA and broke a CMU single-season record with 11 triples last season while also leading the Chippewas batting average (.367), slugging percentage (.559), on-base percentage (.470), runs scored (46) and hits (84).
The MAC baseball season begins on February 17th, while conference play starts up Friday, March 23. The season will culminate with the MAC Baseball Tournament, which takes place May 23-26 for the first time at All Pro Freight Stadium in Avon, Ohio.
2012 MAC Baseball Coaches Preseason Poll
MAC East Division
1. Kent State – 59 Points
2. Miami – 48 Points
3. Bowling Green – 36 points
4. Ohio – 34 points
5. Akron – 17 points
6. Buffalo – 16 points
MAC West Division
1. Central Michigan – 54 points
2. Toledo – 45 points
3. Eastern Michigan – 43 points
4. Northern Illinois – 36 points
5. Western Michigan – 21 points
6. Ball State – 11 points
MAC Tournament Champion
Kent State (7), Central Michigan (1), Toledo (1), Eastern Michigan (1), Miami (1)
*Akron coaching staff chose not to vote in the preseason poll due to being new to the league this season