CLEVELAND – The Ohio Baseball team has been selected sixth in the 2019 Mid-American Conference Baseball Preseason Poll, the league announced on Wednesday (Feb. 13). The poll was voted on by the league's 10 head coaches.
The Bobcats earned 49 votes and was selected in front of Eastern Michigan (45), Western Michigan (42), Northern Illinois (29) and Bowling Green. NIU received one vote to win the conference this season.
Selected in front of Ohio was Kent State (98), Ball State (88), Miami (78), Central Michigan (53) and Toledo (51). Kent State received eight votes to win the league, while Miami received one vote for first place.
Head coach Rob Smith enters his seventh year as head coach of the Bobcats. Ohio returns senior first baseman Rudy Rott (Holmen, Wis.), who earned Mid-American Conference Player of the Year, All-MAC First Team and All-MAC Defensive Team selection in 2018, and designated hitter Tanner Piechnick (Canonsburg, Pa.), earned All-MAC Second Team recognition in 2018.
Rott was recently named to the 2019 Collegiate Baseball Preseason All-America Third Team. Rott led the Bobcats in batting average (.355), slugging percentage (.654), on-base percentage (.440), hits (76), doubles (15), home runs (15), walks (30), RBIs (50) and runs scored (48) last season, setting or tying career highs in every category. He also tied for the team lead with two triples. Rott tied for the MAC lead in hits and home runs and ranked second in slugging percentage and RBIs, third in batting average and fifth in runs scored.
The Bobcats will open the 2019 season on Friday, Feb. 15 when they head to Wofford for a three-game series. Ohio's home opener will take place on Friday, March 15 when the Bobcats welcome Army for a three-game series.
2019 MAC Baseball Preseason Coaches Poll
Total Points (first place votes)
1. Kent State – 98 (8)
2. Ball State – 88
3. Miami – 78 (1)
4. Central Michigan – 53
5. Toledo – 51
6. Ohio – 49
7. Eastern Michigan – 45
8. Western Michigan – 42
9. Northern Illinois – 29 (1)
10. Bowling Green – 17