Feb. 3, 2010

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Wichita State leads MVC Preseason Poll


Wichita State received seven of eight 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 winner of last season’s MVC Tournament, the Shockers tallied 57 points to finish ahead of second-place Missouri State, which had 52 points. Creighton received one first-place vote and 50 points to take third, followed by Illinois State, Southern Illinois, Indiana State, Evansville and Bradley.


Wichita State returns seven starters and 19 letterwinners. The pitching staff brings back its top three starters, including honorable mention All-American Tim Kelley, who was 5-4 with a 2.86 ERA in 2009.


Missouri State won the 2009 MVC regular-season crown and returns five starters and eight pitchers. The Bears must replace the 2009 MVC Player and Pitcher of the Year, Brayden Drake and Buddy Baumann, respectively.


Creighton returns six starters and several pitchers from last season’s squad. The Bluejays led the NCAA in fielding percentage (.984) and bring back shortstop Elliot Soto and third baseman Jimmy Swift.


The season begins on Feb. 19, with conference play starting on March 26.


2010 Predicted Order of Finish

(2009 MVC/overall records, points, first-place votes)


1 Wichita State (11-7, 30-27) 57 (7)

2 Missouri State (17-5, 34-20) 52

3 Creighton (14-9, 31-25) 50 (1)

4 Illinois State (11-11, 25-23) 38

5 Southern Illinois (11-9, 24-28) 33

6 Indiana State (15-7, 33-21) 29

7 Evansville (7-17, 25-30) 16

8 Bradley (4-17, 17-31) 13