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CLEVELAND -- The Ohio baseball team has been picked to finish third in the East Division according to the 2017 Mid-American Conference Preseason Poll, as announced by the league office on Thursday (Feb. 16). The preseason poll was voted on by the league's 11 head coaches.
The Bobcats garnered 44 points overall. Kent State was tabbed as the top team in the MAC East Division with nine first-place votes. The Golden Flashes totaled 61 points overall. Miami was picked to finish second in the East Division, tallying 56 points and receiving one first-place vote. Bowling Green (32 points; one first-place vote) and Buffalo (27 points) rounded out the MAC East predicted order of finish.
Ball State totaled 57 points overall and five first-place votes to earn the distinction of being the predicted winner of the MAC West Division. Central Michigan (49 points; two first-place votes), Toledo (36 points; one first-place vote), Northern Illinois (32 points; two first-place votes), Western Michigan (31 points; one first-place vote) and Eastern Michigan (26 points) were picked to finish behind the Cardinals.
The Golden Flashes garnered four votes to win the 2016 MAC tournament title while Ball State, Central Michigan, Eastern Michigan, Miami, Northern Illinois, Toledo and Western Michigan all received a vote to win the league's tournament crown.
Under fifth-year head coach Rob Smith, the Bobcats returns 26 players from 2016's 23-win team, including redshirt junior right-handed pitcher Jake Roehn (Sandwich, Ill.), who was named to the 2017 Stopper of the Year Preseason Watch List by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association on Monday (Feb. 13), senior infielder Ty Black (Waynesville, Ohio), senior right-handed pitcher Jake Rudnicki (Toledo, Ohio) and sophomore infielder/catcher Rudy Rott (Holmen, Wis.), who was named to the 2016 Louisville Slugger Freshmen All-American Team as a first baseman as selected by Collegiate Baseball newspaper. The Bobcats welcome 11 new faces to their 2017 roster.
Ohio opens the 2017 campaign this weekend in Lexington, S.C. The Bobcats are set to open the season on Friday (Feb. 17) with a 5 p.m. ET matchup against La Salle. Ohio will take on the Explorers again on Saturday (Feb. 18) at 11 a.m. ET before taking on Butler at 3 p.m. ET. The Bobcats will close out the weekend on Sunday (Feb. 19) with a 1 p.m. ET matchup against the Bulldogs.
2017 MAC Baseball Preseason Poll
East Division Preseason Poll (1st place votes)
1. Kent State (9) â 61 points
2. Miami (1) â 56 points
3. Ohio â 44 points
4. Bowling Green (1) â 32 points
5. Buffalo â 27 points
West Division Preseason Poll (1st place votes)
1. Ball State (5) â 57 points
2. Central Michigan (2) â 49 points
3. Toledo (1) â 36 points
4. Northern Illinois (2) â 32 points
5. Western Michigan (1) â 31 points
6. Eastern Michigan â 26 points
MAC Tournament Champion: Kent State (4), Ball State (1), Central Michigan (1), Eastern Michigan (1), Miami (1), NIU (1), Toledo (1), Western Michigan (1)