2012 Summit League Preview

*2011 automatic qualifier. 2011 NCAA regional participants in bold (2011 records listed; 2012 national rankings in parentheses)

Conf. Overall
*Oral Roberts 21 7 39 22
Western Illinois 13 15 21 38
South Dakota State 20 8 37 20
North Dakota State 15 12 22 32
Southern Utah 11 17 23 31
Oakland 10 18 19 31
IPFW 12 16 17 34
Projected NCAA Teams (1): Oral Roberts.
Conference Schedule: 24 games, begins April 6.
Conference Tournament: Four teams, May 24-26 at Oral Roberts.
Player of the Year: Bo Cuthbertson, ss, Southern Utah.
Pitcher of the Year: Alex Gonzalez, rhp, Oral Roberts.
1. Alex Gonzalez, rhp, Oral Roberts (2013)
2. Drew Bowen, rhp, Oral Roberts
3. Bo Cuthbertson, ss, Southern Utah
4. Bennett Pickar, c, Oral Roberts
5. Kurt Giller, rhp, Oral Roberts
1. Jose Trevino, 3b/rhp, Oral Roberts (HS—Corpus Christi, Texas)
2. Kurt Giller, rhp, Oral Roberts (Tr.—Nebraska)
3. David Ernst, rhp, North Dakota State (HS—Fargo, N.D.)

• Oral Roberts has won Summit League regular-season and tournament titles in each of Rob Walton’s 12 seasons as head coach, and the Golden Eagles should extend those streaks in 2012. They have the league’s two best pitchers and prospects in So. RHP Alex Gonzalez (8-7, 3.41, 106 IP/100 SO) and Jr. RHP Drew Bowen (6-2, 1.73, 68 IP/53 SO). Gonzalez was the Summit newcomer and pitcher of the year in 2011. Oral Roberts should score plenty of runs as well, with a lineup headlined by a pair of seniors, 2B Cam Schiller (.342/.416/.518, 17 2B) and OF Brandon King (.419/.419/.515, 10 HR), and talented Fr. 3B/C Jose Trevino. Trevino tied a Texas state high school record with 25 homers last spring.

• The Summit 2011 player of the year returns as well. Southern Utah Sr. SS Bo Cuthbertson (.432/.496/.588, 20 2B, 15 SB) went undrafted after finishing fourth in the NCAA Division I batting race.

• The league, which lost Centenary when the Gents dropped down to NCAA Division III, will look radically different in 2013. This is the final season of Summit play for Oral Roberts, which will move to the Southland Conference after this academic year, and Southern Utah, which is headed for the Big Sky Conference and will shut down its baseball program after this season. Nebraska-Omaha will move up from NCAA Division II to join the Summit in 2013.

• Division I’s youngest head coach at age 24 when South Dakota State hired him in the summer of 2008, Ritchie Price went 102-71 in four seasons. He matched a school record with 39 wins in 2010, when the Jackrabbits tied Oral Roberts for the Summit’s regular-season championship. Price resigned to become an assistant at Kansas, where he played and where his father Ritch is the head coach. South Dakota State replaced him with Dave Schrage, previously the head coach at Waldorf (Iowa) JC, Northern Iowa, Northern Illinois, Evansville and Notre Dame.