Cleveland, Ohio - Defending MAC Tournament Champion Kent State and defending MAC Regular Season Champion Central Michigan have been chosen by the league's head coaches to win their respective divisions, released today by the league office. The Golden Flashes were also selected by five of the leagues head coaches to take home the 2011 MAC Tournament title.
The Golden Flashes were followed by Miami in the East, while 2010 Co-East Division Champion Bowling Green was picked to finish third. Ohio was selected to finish in fourth place, while Akron was tabbed to place fifth. Buffalo rounded out this year's East Division predictions.
Toledo was picked to finish second in the West Division and was followed by Eastern Michigan in third place. Ball State, Northern Illinois and Western Michigan rounded out the remaining sports in the West.
Kent State closed out the 2010 regular season with its fourth MAC East Division crown in five years, and won five elimination games in three days to capture the MAC tournament title and earn a trip to the NCAA Los Angeles Regional -- its second consecutive NCAA berth. The Flashes welcome back seven starting position players and three starting pitchers from last year's squad. Kent State opens the '11 season Feb. 18 at Georgia Tech. The Golden Flashes enter the 2011 campaign ranked 40th in the publication's Fabulous 40 NCAA Division I Preseason poll, which was released today (Dec. 20). Kent State is the only Mid-American Conference program to receive a spot in the poll.
Central Michigan is among teams receiving votes in Collegiate Baseball Newspaper's preseason top-40 poll. The 2010 Mid-American Conference champions went 36-22 and advanced to the MAC Tournament championship game. CMU returns six position players who started at least 20 games last season, all but one starting pitcher from its weekly rotation and its entire bullpen.
The MAC baseball season begins on February 18th, while conference play starts up Friday, March 25. The season will culminate with the MAC Baseball Tournament, which takes place May 25-28 at VA Memorial Stadium in Chillicothe, Ohio.
2011 MAC Baseball Coaches Preseason Poll
MAC East Division
1. Kent State - 72 Points
2. Miami - 53 Points
3. Bowling Green - 50 points
4. Ohio - 35 points
5. Akron - 24 points
6. Buffalo - 16 points
MAC West Division
1. Central Michigan - 69 points
2. Toledo - 60 points
3. Eastern Michigan - 46 points
4. Ball State - 37 points
5. Northern Illinois - 26 points
6. Western Michigan - 12 points
MAC Tournament Champions
Kent State (5), Central Michigan (3), Toledo (2), Miami (1), Eastern Michigan (1)