Feb. 13, 2009

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Oral Roberts Rates No. 1 in Summit League


Oral Roberts was the unanimous choice to win the 2009 Summit League title, in voting by the conference’s head coaches and released by the league office.


The Golden Eagles received seven first-place votes for the maximum 49 points. ORU won its 11th consecutive league title a year ago.


Southern Utah was second with 40 points. Centenary came in third with 35 points. South Dakota State received the final first-place vote and 30 points for fourth place, followed by Western Illinois, Oakland, IPFW and North Dakota State.


Coach of the Year Rob Walton has a pair of first team all-league performers back at ORU in second baseman Juan Martinez and first baseman Michael Notaro. Martinez hit .329 in 2008 with nine home runs and 55 RBI. Notaro batted .336 a season ago with 10 dingers. Two strong arms return in Jerry Sullivan and T.J. Kelly. Sullivan was 9-2 with a 3.88 ERA and 108 strikeouts. Kelly collected 10 saves in 2008.


The regular season begins Feb. 20. The top four teams will compete in the Summit League Championship May 21-23 at J.L. Johnson Stadium in Tulsa, Okla.


Summit Preseason Poll

1. Oral Roberts (7) 49

2. Southern Utah 40

3. Centenary 35

4. South Dakota State (1) 30

5. Western Illinois 29

6. Oakland 17

7. IPFW 13

8. North Dakota State 11