Baseball picked to finish first in MAC in coaches poll


Central Michigan's Mens' Baseball Team stands at attention during the national anthem before facing Miami May 16 at Theunissen Stadium.

Last season's Mid-American Conference regular season and Tournament champion was picked to finish first in a poll of the conference's coaches.

After finishing 47-14 last season and 22-5 in MAC play, the Chippewas secured their first NCAA Tournament berth since 1995. 

The team's 47 wins tied a program-best from the 1988 season. That season, the Chippewas fell to Pepperdine in the West II Regional in Tempe, Arizona. Last season, the Chippewas defeated Miami (Florida) in the NCAA Tournament before falling to Mississippi State in the Starville, Mississippi Regional. 

Central Michigan had three first-place votes and 109 points to top Kent State, which had two first-place votes and finished second in the poll with 106 points. Ball State finished third with three first-place votes and 105 points.

Meanwhile, Miami (Ohio) (2) and Northern Illinois (1) picked up first-place votes and finished fourth and fifth, respectively, in the preseason poll. Western Michigan, Eastern Michigan, Toledo, Bowling Green and Akron rounded out the poll. 

The Golden Flashes had six votes to finish as the league-tournament champion. The RedHawks earned two votes while CMU, the Cardinals and Huskies each had one vote to win the MAC Tournament. 

CMU has three preseason All-Americans as catcher Griffin Lockwood-Powell, shortstop Zavier Warren and pitcher Cameron Brown. The Chippewas are also ranked No. 38 in Collegiate Baseball Magazine's Fabulous 40 preseason poll. 

Only two other MAC players, Ball State pitcher John Baker and Miami infielder Landon Stephens, are among the 81 preseason All-Americans.

The Chippewas are set to begin the 2020 season at 9 p.m. Friday as they open a four-game series at UNLV.