ELMHURST, Ill. - Western Illinois baseball was picked to finish fourth in the Summit League preseason poll released Friday (Feb. 8). All six Summit League baseball coaches made up the voters.
North Dakota State was picked to win the conference, receiving five first place votes and a total of 25 points. South Dakota State placed second with 17 points, followed by Oakland in third with 16 points. The Golden Grizzlies of Oakland received the only other first place vote from the coaches.
The Leathernecks recieved 15 points to finish in fourth place in the voting. Rounding out the preseason voting were Fort Wayne in fifth place with nine points, and conference newcomer Omaha in sixth place with eight points.
First-year head coach Ryan Brownlee and his staff will look to improve off of a 17-35-1 season from a year ago. Western returns 14 players from 2012, with 19 newcomers joining the team.
Dan Dispensa highlights the list of returning players for the Purple & Gold in 2013. Dispensa hit .344 last season on his way to Second Team All-Summit League honors. Manny Reyes (.988 fielding percentage), Steve Kedroski (.237 BA) and Nick Smith (3-6, 60 K’s) will also be key returners for Western in 2013.
The 2013 Leatherneck baseball season begins at preseason No. 1 ranked Arkansas on February 15.
2013 Baseball Preseason Poll
Team Points (1st)
1. North Dakota State 25 (5)
2. South Dakota State 17
3. Oakland 16 (1)
4. Western Illinois 15
5. Fort Wayne 9
6. Omaha 8