CLEVELAND - Toledo has been picked to finish second in the Mid-American Conference's West Division for a fourth-consecutive season in a vote of the league's head coaches. The 2012 MAC West Division champion Rockets received 60 points and were edged out by Central Michigan (65 pts.) in the voting.
Eastern Michigan (54 pts.) was pegged third in the MAC West, while Western Michigan (36 pts.), Ball State (23 pts.) and Northern Illinois (15 pts.) round out the division.
Four different squads also received votes to capture the MAC Tournament at All Pro Freight Stadium in Avon, OH, led by four-time defending tourney champion Kent State with nine votes. The Rockets, Chippewas and Eagles collected single votes.
The Golden Flashes, who last spring became the first conference team to advance to the College World Series in 36 years, were selected to repeat in the MAC East Division by a 72-58 vote over Miami. Bowling Green (44 pts.) was tabbed to finish third, followed by Ohio (34 pts.), Akron (25 pts.) and Buffalo (19 pts.).
Tenth-year head coach Cory Mee and the Rockets return 20 letterwinners from last year's squad that captured the program's first division crown in 88 years and advanced to the MAC Tournament for a school-record fourth consecutive season.
Toledo registered its ninth 30-win season in school history in 2012, tied for sixth most in school history and its second under coach Mee. UT's 19-8 (.704) MAC record equaled its best mark since the conference went to a three-game series prior to the 2004 campaign.
The Midnight Blue & Gold are once again loaded with talent and will be led by senior OF Ben Hammer, (Wayne, OH), senior INF Matt Delewski (Maple Heights, OH), senior LHP Kyle Shaw (LaGrange, OH), senior RHP Jared Locke (Dundee, MI), junior LHP Ryan Wilkinson (Munster, IN) and junior C James Miglin (Warsaw, IN).
UT will don the spikes for the first time in 2013 this weekend with four games at the Ron Fraser Classic in Cary, NC. The Rockets will play LaSalle on Friday, Feb. 15, Albany and Villanova on Saturday, Feb. 16 and Temple on Sunday, Feb. 17 at the USA Baseball National Training Complex.
2013 MAC Baseball Coaches Preseason Poll
MAC East Division
1. Kent State - 72 Points
2. Miami - 58 Points
3. Bowling Green - 44 Points
4. Ohio - 34 Points
5. Akron - 25 Points
6. Buffalo - 19 Points
MAC West Division
1. Central Michigan - 65 Points
2. TOLEDO - 60 Points
3. Eastern Michigan - 54 Points
4. Western Michigan - 36 Points
5. Ball State - 23 Points
6. Northern Illinois - 15 Points
MAC Tournament Champion
Kent State (9 Votes), TOLEDO (1 Vote), Central Michigan (1 Vote), Eastern Michigan (1 Vote)