|HOW THEY’LL FINISH|
Teams are listed
by predicted order of finish with 2012 records listed.
2012 NCAA tournament teams in bold
|Projected NCAA Teams (1): Kent State.|
|Conference Schedule: 27 games, begins March 22.|
|Conference Tournament: Eight teams, May 22-25 at Avon, Ohio (All Pro Freight Stadium).|
|Player of the Year: George Roberts, 1b, Kent State.|
|Pitcher of the Year: Tyler Skulina, rhp, Kent State.|
|TOP PROSPECTS, 2013-14 DRAFTS|
Skulina, rhp, Kent State
|2.||Brian Clark, lhp, Kent State (2014)|
Rheault, rhp, Central Michigan
|4.||Jordan Foley, rhp, Central Michigan (2014)|
Williams, rhp, Kent State
|6.||Derek Toadvine, ss, Kent State|
Honchel, of, Miami (Ohio)
|8.||Michael Clark, lhp, Kent State|
Roberts, 1b, Kent State
|10.||Steve Weber, rhp, Eastern Michigan|
Williams, rhp, Kent State (Tr.—Mount Hood, Ore., CC)
|2.||Brett Sunde, c, Western Michigan (HS—Madison Heights, Mich.)|
Linder, rhp/1b, Kent State (HS—Tallmadge, Ohio)
|4.||Kyle Slack, rhp, Toledo (HS—Edwardsville, Mich.)|
Regnier, of, Central Michigan (HS—Novi, Mich.)
• Kent State reached the College World Series for the first time in 2012, becoming the first Mid-American Conference team to get to Omaha since Eastern Michigan in 1976. Afterward, Scott Stricklin turned down the Michigan job to remain head coach of the Golden Flashes. Kent State must
replace several key departed players, including first-team All-America SS Jimmy Rider (.359/.425/.529) and 2012 MAC pitcher of the year David Starn (11-4, 2.48, 120 IP/127 SO), but will be dangerous once again this
spring. Jr. RHP Tyler Skulina (11-3, 3.77, 107 IP/106 SO) could pitch his way into the first round of the draft with his 92-95 mph fastball and good slider. Jr. RHP Taylor Williams, a transfer from Mount Hood (Ore.) CC, will occupy the No. 2 slot in the rotation after showing a lively low-90s fastball in the fall. So. LHP Brian Clark (5-0, 2.08, 22 IP/28 SO) has the fastball/slider combination to close games and become an early-round pick in the 2014 draft. Sr. 1B George Roberts (.364/.392/.549, 8 HR) will power the offensive attack after leading the
MAC with 66 RBIs and winning league player of the year honors in 2012.
• While Kent State may seem to have a monopoly on MAC pitching prospects, Western Division favorite Central Michigan has a pair of intriguing sophomore arms. Draft-eligible So. RHP Dylan Rheault (2-2, 4.43, 41 IP/44 SO) is a 6-foot-9, 242-pounder who can reach 94 mph with his sinking fastball and is making strides with his secondary pitches and command. RHP Jordan Foley (3-0, 8.20, 37 IP/25 SO)
can hit 95 mph with his lively heater and took a big step forward during an all-star summer in the Northwoods League. Two brothers, So. OF
Nick Regnier (.231/.370/.290) and Fr. OF Logan Regnier, could ignite the offense with their plus speed.
• Miami (Ohio) So.
OF Matt Honchel (.395/.443/.442, 10 SB) won the MAC batting title and led all Division I freshmen in hitting a year ago. He’s a plus runner who has added some strength to his 6-foot-1, 180-pound frame, and the Redhawks anticipate more power production from him this year. He’ll be draft-eligible as a 21-year-old sophomore.
• After his contract wasn’t renewed following 10 years at Michigan, Rich Maloney
returned to Ball State as head coach. He replaced Alex Marconi, who resigned after two seasons. In Maloney’s first stint at the helm of the Cardinals, he went 256-144 from 1996-2002 and led the program to its only 40-win seasons (1998 and 1999). Ohio also has a new coach in Rob Smith, who had been associate head coach at Creighton. Joe Carbone retired after winning 689 games and two MAC titles in 24 years with the Bobcats.