The Mid-American Conference baseball preseason poll was released Tuesday and Central Michigan finds itself in a familiar position.
The Chippewas were picked to win the MAC West, receiving 65 points while Kent State was picked to win the MAC East with 72 points.
CMU was followed by Toledo, Eastern Michigan, Western Michigan, Ball State and Northern Illinois.
The Golden Flashes led Miami (Ohio), Bowling Green, Ohio Akron and Buffalo, and they were picked to win the MAC tournament with nine votes to the Chippewas’ one vote.
CMU is returning 15 letterwinners, including senior pitchers Pat Kaminska and Rick Dodridge.
It also returns sophomore second baseman Pat MacKenzie who batted .408 in conference play and senior first baseman Jordan Adams who will provide power to the lineup after batting .360 in the MAC Tournament last season.
He hit three doubles and two home runs in the conference tournament and was named to the All-Tournament Team as the Chippewas finished runners-up to Kent State. He hit four RBI and a game-winning home run against the RedHawks in the tournament.
CMU lost 11 letterwinners from last seasons roster, including shortstop Jordan Dean and pitchers Zach Cooper, Ryan Longstrenth, Dietrich Enns and Jon Weaver to the MLB Draft.
Softball picked second
The softball team was picked second in the 2013 MAC preseason poll as Margo Jonker enters her 34th season as head coach.
Last season, the Chippewas finished as MAC tournament runners-up after a loss to Miami (Ohio) in the championship. The Chippewas were 2-0 going into the championship round but fell to the RedHawks in the final game, 4-0.
CMU ended the 2012 season third in the MAC West with a 11-10 MAC record and a 30-27 overall record.
For the 2013 softball team, the competition will be stiff in the regular-season. The schedule features a series with five 2012 NCAA tournament qualifiers, including one that went to the Women’s College World Series.
Additionally, two of the 14 home games at Margo Jonker Stadium – will be against the Chippewas first rematch with Miami, the 2012 MAC Tournament Champion.
CMU will open the season on the road, and playing in three tournaments.
The Chippewas will attend one in New Mexico (Feb. 15-17) and two in South Florida (March 1-3 and March 8-10). CMU will have an early season test with Women’s College World Series qualifier South Florida, who finished 50-14 and eighth in the final USA Today/NFCA Coaches Poll.
This could be a year when CMU reloads and comes back even stronger. The Chippewas are returning 14 letter winners from last season, returning six starters in the infield as well as four pitchers.
CMU is supported by a seasoned returning senior class including senior outfielder Macy Merchant, who led CMU, last season, with a .350 batting average and was ranked fifth in the MAC with 63 hits.
Also returning is senior pitcher Kara Dornbos, who last season set the single-season appearance record of 36 games. Dornbos also pitched a career-high three saves placing her tied for fourth in single-season program history.