The Wayne State College baseball team was picked sixth in the 2019 NSIC Preseason Baseball Coaches Poll released Thursday morning by the league office in Burnsville, Minnesota. Sophomore second baseman Andrew Hanson and sophomore left handed pitcher Aaron Ras have been listed as Wildcats to Watch in the NSIC this season.
The Wildcats return five position starters and four starting pitchers from last year’s team that was 21-26 overall and placed seventh in the NSIC with an 18-16 league record.
Defending NCAA Division II national champion Augustana was voted the team to beat in the NSIC this season, receiving 13 first-place votes and 193 points. Minnesota State came in second with the remaining two first-place votes and 175 points in voting by league coaches. Defending NSIC regular season champion Minot State was third at 172 points followed by St. Cloud State (162) and Concordia-St. Paul (139).
Wayne State was sixth with 121 points, edging seventh place Winona State at 115 points. Northern State (109), Minnesota Duluth (91) and Minnesota Crookston (67) round out the top 10 teams in the poll.
Hanson, a 6-1, 185-pound sophomore second baseman from Burnsville, Minnesota (Burnsville HS), was listed as Wayne State’s Position Player to Watch. Last season, he earned First Team All-NSIC honors with a .320 batting average, recording seven homers with 29 RBI. He was second on the team in runs scored (33) and walks (18) and was 6 for 6 on stolen bases.
Ras (ross), a 6-0, 195-pound sophomore from Bancroft (Bancroft-Rosalie HS), is Wayne State’s Pitcher to Watch this season after posting a 5-2 mark in 10 starts last season with a 4.02 ERA. The lefthander allowed just 49 hits in 53.2 innings pitched with 44 strikeouts. Ras allowed just eight extra base hits and held opponents to a .249 batting average.
Wayne State is scheduled to open the 2019 baseball season on Saturday, February 9th at Northeastern State in Oklahoma for a doubleheader at 12 p.m.
2019 NSIC Preseason Baseball Coaches’ Poll
1. Augustana (14) 193 pts.
2. Minnesota State (1) 175 pts.
3. Minot State 172 pts.
4. St. Cloud State 162 pts.
5. Concordia-St. Paul 139 pts.
6. Wayne State 121 pts.
7. Winona State 115 pts.
8. Northern State 109 pts.
9. Minnesota Duluth 91 pts.
10. Minnesota Crookston 67 pts.
11. Sioux Falls 65 pts.
12. Upper Iowa 55 pts.
12. Southwest Minn. State 55 pts.
14. Bemidji State 34 pts.