Feb. 5, 2009

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Missouri State Sits Atop MVC Preseason Poll


Missouri State received eight of nine first-place votes to claim the top spot in the Missouri Valley Conference Preseason Poll, in voting by the league’s head coaches and released by the conference office.


The Bears accumulated 80 points to finish ahead of second-place Creighton, which had 66 points. Defending champion Wichita State garnered the remaining first-place vote and had 63 points, followed by Southern Illinois, Bradley, Indiana State, Northern Iowa, Illinois State and Evansville.


Missouri State returns five position starters and 11 pitchers from a team that registered 40 wins in 2008. On the mound, the big Bear will be Tim Clubb, the reigning MVC Pitcher of the Year. He was a perfect 11-0 a season ago. Brayden Drake and junior All-American Ben Carlson, both Preseason All-MVC selections, will pace the offense.


The Jays return four starters and their top three starting pitchers, including Jeremy Hauer, who paced Creighton with eight victories a year ago.


The Shockers won their 16th MVC tournament title in 2008 and advanced to their second straight Super Regional. WSU has just two starters and 13 lettermen back.


MVC Preseason Poll

1. Missouri State (8) 80 (40-17, 18-6)

2. Creighton 66 (37-21, 16-8)

3. Wichita State (1) 63 (48-17, 19-5)

4. Southern Illinois 45 (34-23, 12-12)

5. Bradley 39 (26-28, 10-14)

6. Indiana State 34 (18-32, 9-15)

7. Northern Iowa 33 (30-24, 14-10)

8. Illinois State 28 (22-30, 6-18)

9. Evansville 17 (14-42, 4-20)


Preseason All-MVC Team

1B Ben Carlson, Jr., Missouri State

2B Scott Elmendorf, Sr., Southern Illinois

3B Brayden Drake, Sr., Missouri State

SS Elliot Soto, So., Creighton

C Mark Kelly, Sr., Southern Illinois

DH/1B Darin Ruf, Sr., Creighton

UTIL Brett Douglas, Sr., Northern Iowa

OF Ryan Jones, Jr., Wichita State

OF Robbie Knight, Jr., Creighton

OF Colby Luttrell, Sr., Bradley

SP Tim Clubb, Jr., Missouri State

SP Ryan Copeland, Jr., Illinois State

RP Bryant George, Jr., Southern Illinois

RP Kori Jensen, Sr., Bradley