Feb. 17, 2011

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Oral Roberts picked to repeat in Summit League


After claiming its 13th straight crown a season ago, Oral Roberts was the strong favorite in the Summit League preseason poll, in voting by the league’s head coaches and released by the conference office.


The Golden Eagles earned seven first-place votes and 49 points to finish ahead of South Dakota State, which got the other first-place vote and 43 points. Oakland and Southern Utah tied for third, followed by Southern Utah, North Dakota State, Centenary and IPFW.


ORU, under head coach Rob Walton, returns three senior all-conference performers: Nick Baligod (pictured), Chris Elder and Joey Winiecki. Baligod batted .390 a season ago with 11 homers and 54 RBI.


Ritchie Price of the Jackrabbits was 2010 Coach of the Year in the Summit. SDSU returns five of its six first team all-conference players from a season ago. Senior outfielder Billy Stitz led the Summit with 111 hits and batted .392, while Joel Blake was just behind at .391 and led the league with 33 doubles.


The top four teams advance to the Summit League Championship May 26-28. The event will be held at Sioux Falls Stadium in Sioux Falls, S.D., the first off-campus site in tourney history.


Summit League Preseason Poll

Place, Team (First Place) (2010 Summit, overall record)

1. Oral Roberts, 49 (7) (19-9, 39-21)

2. South Dakota State, 43 (1) (19-9, 36-27)

3. Oakland, 27 (13-14, 23-34)

3. Southern Utah, 27 (11-16, 18-36)

5. Western Illinois, 24 (6-21, 14-39)

6. North Dakota State, 23 (11-16, 22-30)

7. Centenary, 17 (17-9, 28-26)

8. IPFW, 14 (13-15, 17-38)


(photo courtesy of ORU Media Relations Office)