Love is in the air…..no wait that is sauerkraut, yes, most definitely sauerkraut. Put those hot dogs on the roller and get your ketchup and mustard ready, and in unison scream it from your second floor window BASEBALL IS BACK!
It might not compare to opening day in the majors but there is college baseball being played in the warm states this weekend.
Every team in the Mid-American Conference has hopes of playing quality conference ball, get a good seed in the MAC tournament, win the tournament and get to the NCAA Tournament. Once in the tournament all bets are off for how far you can make it. The path to a National Championship is visible, tough, but visible. Tomorrow this dream kicks off for all 10 of these MAC schools.
2018 Mid-American Conference PRESEASON POLL
1 – Kent State – 98 (8)
2 – Central Michigan – 86
3 – Ball State – 73
4 – Ohio – 70
5 – Miami – 49 (1)
6 – Western Michigan – 47
7 – Eastern Michigan – 40
8 – Toledo – 36
9 – Northern Illinois – 35 (1)
10 – Bowling Green – 16
*Poll was conducted by the league’s 10 head coaches. Coaches were permitted to vote for their own teams.
Kent Sate: Sporting the best conference record 8 years in a row is no easy task and John Duncan will have his team in contention again this year. Losing the MAC tournament in back to back years as favorites, they are eager to get back to the NCAA Tournament. Joey Murray will the player to watch for the Golden Flashes. Murray, entering his Junior and most likely last year at Kent St, looks to continue his success from last year posting a 6-1 record with a 1.80 ERA in 14 starts. Here is a glimpse of the talent they lost from last year.
Don’t expect them to miss a beat in 2018Last year they were 20-7 in conference, hoping to make it 9 straight years with the best conference record, the Golden Flashes kick their season off Friday February 16th in a three game weekend series against Sam Houston State, at their place. Friday’s game will start at 7:30 EST and will be on ESPN3.
Central Michigan: Coming off a strong season in which they finished first in the West in the MAC, the Chippewa’s are trending upward. Pitching will be nothing but strong as they return all three starters in their rotation along with Freshman of the Year in Tyler Hankings. Tyler, 6’9″, is by far the best pitcher for CMU, but may compete for the Pitcher of the Year with Joey Murray. Expect the Chippewa’s to be in the thick of things come MAC Tournament time, I wouldn’t be surprised at all if they are stirring things up at the NCAA’s either.
Ball State: After an early exit in the MAC Tournament last year as a 4 seed, I expect them to back in the thick of things again this year. Coach Maloney landed big recruits for 2018 in projected Freshmen of the Year in the MAC in Kyle Nicolas, RHP. Coming off of another 30 win season it is going to take leadership from underclassmen to get them to the promise land. Drey Jameson a freshmen from outfielder and pitcher from Greenfield, Ind. is expected to be a key player for the Cardinals this year. Ball State opens its season up in Charleston, NC in a weekend that will feature a few different opponents.
Updates on MAC baseball will come throughout the season as we get closer to crowning the 2018 MAC Champion and NCAA Tournament participant.