Emporia State baseball picked 1st in MIAA preseason poll

Courtesy: Emporia State Athletics

EMPORIA, Kan. – Winning the 2017 MIAA regular season championship, hosting the NCAA Division II Central Regional, returning five position player starters and two of three weekend starting pitchers has earned Emporia State the top spot in the 2018 MIAA Baseball Coaches Preseason Poll. It is the first time since 2015 the Hornets have been selected for the top spot.

Emporia State is set to return five position players that started at least ten games last year. Catcher Mason Brown, first baseman Kaden Shafer, center fielder Mack Gowing, designated hitter/catcher Taylor Sanagorski and third baseman Tate Kastens had a combined batting average of .337 and averaged 5.8 home runs and 39.6 RBI last season.

Under Coach Bob Fornelli, Emporia State won the MIAA Tournament in 2014 and 2007 and claimed the regular season title in 2017, 2011, 2009, 2008 and 2006. They had finished second in MIAA regular season play for three straight seasons before winning their fifth regular season championship last year. They have been to the NCAA Tournament in 12 of the last 14 years. Last season was the fourth time the Hornets have hosted a regional tournament and the third time under Fornelli. They have been to two Division II World Series twice first in 2006 and then finished second in the nation in 2009.

The Hornets are scheduled to open the season on February 1 against Southern Arkansas in Grand Prairie, Texas. The Muleriders are ranked #35 in the College Baseball News Preseason Poll. The home opener is set for February 16 against Newman at Glennen Field in the Trusler Sports Complex.

2018 MIAA Baseball Preseason Coaches Poll
1. Emporia State (11) 143
2. Central Missouri (1) 120
3. Central Oklahoma 118
4. Lindenwood 114
5. Missouri Western (1) 104
6. Pittsburg State 94
7. Missouri Southern 81
8. Southwest Baptist 57
T9. Northwest Missouri 47
T9. Washburn 47
11. Northeastern State 42
12. Nebraska Kearney 31
13. Fort Hays State 16

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