BRIDGEPORT -- West Virginia State and Shepherd have been tabbed by the league coaches as the preseason favorites for the 2017 Mountain East Conference baseball season.
Shepherd, which went 39-15 last year (24-8 MEC) and earned an NCAA Tournament bid, is picked to repeat as North Division champions. WVSU went 32-15 (24-8 MEC) and picked to defend its South Division title. The Yellow Jackets and Rams have played for the MEC Tournament title in each of the last three seasons.
SU finished atop the poll with 64 points, including nine first-place votes. The Rams return several key starters from last year including outfielder J.J. Sarty and designated hitter Daniel Heleine, as well as starter John Bentley. Notre Dame was picked to finish second in the division with 56 points and the remaining three first-place votes. West Liberty was third (48), followed by Fairmont State (28), Wheeling Jesuit (26) and Urbana (24).
West Virginia State collected 64 points and nine first-place votes to finish atop the South Division poll. The Yellow Jackets bring back a strong group of pitchers led by Tyler Hall and Colby Gainer. Concord was picked to finish seccond with 55 points and two first-place votes. Glenville State had the remaining first-place vote and finished with 40 points, just narrowly ahead of Charleston in fourth with 39 points. West Virginia Wesleyan (31) and UVa-Wise (17) rounded out the poll.
The top three teams from each division will advance to the MEC Tournament from May 11-14 in Beckley, W.Va.
|MEC North Division|
|2.||Notre Dame (3)||56|
|MEC South Division|
|1.||West Virginia State (9)||64|
|3.||Glenville State (1)||40|
|5||West Virginia Wesleyan||31|