The Ashland University baseball team was picked to finish fifth in the preseason GLIAC coaches' poll the league office announced on Thursday (Feb. 8) morning.
The Eagles, who won back-to-back league regular season GLIAC titles in 2015 and 2016, missed the NCAA Tournament for the first time in three seasons last year, attaining a 20-29 overall record and finishing ninth in the GLIAC with a 12-20 mark.
Ashland brings back its top two hitters by batting average from last year. Sophomore center fielder Vince Vanata hit .377 last season with 15 doubles and 11 stolen bases while sophomore third baseman Kevin Browne batted .361 with four homers.
The Eagles also bring back four senior pitchers Luke Smith, Cory Teachout, Pat Carlozzi and Zack Whitehead, who will bring a veteran presence to the staff. Sophomore Chance Hitchcock and junior Devin Peters, both junior college transfers, should also figure heavily into the rotation.
The Eagles are entering their 21st season under head coach John Schaly, who has compiled 1,089 career victories.
Wayne State (three first-place votes) was picked to win the GLIAC over defending champion Northwood (four first-place votes), which won the league title last year. Grand Valley was chosen third and GLIAC newcomer Davenport was fourth.
The entire GLIAC preseason coaches' poll follows.
|Team (First-Place Votes)||Points|
|1. Wayne State (3)||44|
|2. Northwood (4)||41|
|3. Grand Valley State (1)||39|
|7. Saginaw Valley State||17|
|8. Purdue Northwest||7|