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There are high expectations for Missouri State University's baseball team heading into 2013 with the Bears achieving a national preseason ranking.
The following is a news release from MSU Sports Information:
The Missouri State baseball team was one of two Missouri Valley Conference clubs to earn spots in the Collegiate Baseball's Fabulous 40 NCAA Division I preseason poll, which was announced Thursday. The Bears placed 31st in the poll for the second straight year and were joined by fellow Valley member Wichita State, which came in one spot behind MSU in the No. 32 position.
Coming off a 40-22 season and their first NCAA Regional appearance since 2003, the Bears will welcome back 19 letterwinners, including nine members of its 2012 pitching staff that posted the lowest team earned run average (2.57) in all of Division I baseball last spring. Leading the way once again will be junior hurler Nick Petree, who was named Louisville Slugger National Player of the Year byCollegiate Baseball last year after going 10-4 with a Division I-best 1.01 ERA and 114 strikeouts in 115.1 innings pitched. The right-hander was named to the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association preseason All-America squad last week after picking up first-team All-America honors from the NCBWA, Baseball America, Collegiate Baseball and CollegeBaseballInsider.com last year.
Additionally, Petree will be backed by a host of veteran returners, including senior weekend starter Cody Schumacher, who went 8-1 with a 3.71 ERA in a school-record 17 starts in his first season with the Bears, senior right-hander Grant Gordon and sophomore lefty Tyler Burgess. Burgess went 5-2 with a 2.08 ERA and 11 saves to lead the Bears' relief corps, notching a victory or a save in each of his first seven appearances without allowing an earned run to earn Freshman All-America and First-Team All-MVC honors, as well as NCBWA National Stopper of the Year consideration. The Webb City, Mo., product served as the linchpin of the Bears' bullpen throughout his freshman season, setting unprecedented standards for MSU rookie pitchers in the process while ranking second in the Valley and 30th nationally in saves.
In the field, the Bears return five regulars from last year's club, including senior outfielder Keenen Maddox, who led MSU with eight homers en route to earning team MVP honors in 2012. Additionally, senior catcher Luke Voit should once again backstop the Bears' infield, following a strong junior campaign in which he drove in a team-high 46 runs.
The Collegiate Baseball poll is the oldest college baseball poll, dating back to the 1958 season. In addition to Wichita State, three other 2013 Bear opponents cracked the poll, as Arkansas grabbed the top spot, while New Mexico placed 33rd and Southern Miss was tabbed 36th. Nine additional clubs on MSU's schedule received votes, giving the Bears a total of 21 contests in 2013 against teams either ranked or receiving votes in the poll.
MSU opens the 2013 campaign Feb. 15 against host Texas State at the Bobcat Invitational in San Marcos, Texas. Season tickets for the 2013 campaign are on sale now through the MSU Athletics Box Office and may be obtained in person at the Chevy Pickup Window at JQH Arena, or by calling (417) 836-7678 or (417) 836-3302.
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