Feb. 1, 2012

click here for coaches' preseason All-MVC team


Missouri State edges Creighton in MVC preseason poll


Missouri State is the favorite in the Missouri Valley Conference in voting by the league’s head coaches and as released by the conference office.


The Bears picked up five first-place votes and 60 points to finish ahead of Creighton. The Bluejays received the other three first-place votes and totaled 53 points to place second. Wichita State came in third with 47 points, followed by Indiana State, Illinois State, Southern Illinois, Bradley and Evansville.


Missouri State returns seven position starters and seven pitchers, including reigning MVC Freshman of the Year Nick Petree. The right-hander was 9-2 with a 2.81 ERA in 2011. Also back are all-conference performers Kevin Medrano (pictured above), Brock Chaffin and Luke Voit. Second baseman Medrano hit .325 with 13 steals, while first baseman Chaffin batted .344 with a slugging percentage of .550.


Creighton welcomes back seven starters from its 2011 club which won both the MVC regular-season and tournament titles. Alex Staehely batted .285 with 23 doubles and 36 RBI a season ago. Junior Ty Blach was 10-3 with a 2.65 ERA, while closer Kurt Spomer tied for the conference lead with 13 saves.


Wichita State has six starters and 19 letterwinners back. Senior hurler Josh Smith was 7-4 in 2011 with a 3.00 ERA, while Cale Elam went 4-1 with four saves and a 1.23 ERA to earn Freshman All-America honors.


All eight MVC teams will be in action as the season kicks off on Feb. 17. Conference play commences two weeks later on March 23. The MVC Championship will be held May 22-26 at Hammons Field in Springfield, Mo., the home of Missouri State.


2012 MVC Preseason Poll


Team, Points (First Place) (2011 MVC, Overall Records)

1. Missouri State, 60 (5) (11-9, 33-23)

2. Creighton, 53 (3) (15-6, 45-16)

3. Wichita State, 47 (14-7, 39-26)

4. Indiana State, 37 (8-13, 29-28)

5. Illinois State, 34 (13-8, 36-18)

6. Southern Illinois, 31 (11-10, 23-34)

7. Bradley, 15 (4-17, 22-32)

8. Evansville, 11 (7-13, 28-25)


(photo courtesy of Missouri State Media Relations Office)