Mount Pleasant, Mich. - The Mid-American Conference released its preseason coaches' poll for the upcoming 2014 baseball season Wednesday with Central Michigan predicted to finish second in the West Division.
The Chippewas received three first-place votes and 56 points overall, just one point behind the Ball State's four first-place votes and 57 points. Toledo was picked to finish third, while defending MAC West champ Northern Illinois was slated fourth. Eastern and Western Michigan rounded out the West Division.
The Kent State Golden Flashes are the preseason favorites in the East Division, receiving 11 of 12 first-place votes and a total of 71 points. Defending MAC Tournament champion Bowling Green was picked to finish second, with Buffalo, Miami, Akron and Ohio following.
CMU received was one of five teams to receive one vote to win the MAC Tournament in Avon, Ohio, with the Golden Flashes predicted to also earn the conference's bid to the NCAA Regional.
The Maroon and Gold return 22 letterwinners and all but one starter from a year ago. The Chippewas open the regular season on Friday at UNLV and open conference play Friday, March 21 at Ohio.
2014 MAC Baseball Preseason Poll
East Division Predictions
1. Kent State -- 71 points (11 First Place)
2. Bowling Green -- 52 points
3. Buffalo -- 50 points
4. Miami -- 36 points (1)
5. Akron -- 24 points
6. Ohio -- 19 points
West Division Predictions
1. Ball State -- 57 points (4 First Place)
2. Central Michigan -- 56 points (3)
3. Toledo -- 54 points (4)
4. Northern Illinois -- 43 points (1)
5. Eastern Michigan -- 27 points
6. Western Michigan -- 15 points
Tournament Champions: Kent State (4), Ball State (3), Bowling Green (1), Central Michigan (1), Eastern Michigan (1), Miami (1), Toledo (1)