The Joplin Globe
Missouri Southern was picked to finish sixth in the new-look MIAA on Wednesday when the 2013 MIAA Baseball Coaches Poll was released.
The Lions, who return six starters and 11 letterwinners from last year’s third-place squad, received 135 points in the poll — one behind fifth-place Fort Hays State and 17 behind fourth-place Central Oklahoma.
Perennial power Central Missouri received all 14 possible first-place votes — coaches couldn’t vote for themselves — and earned the top spot with 196 points. Missouri Western was second with 175 points while Emporia State was third with 160.
Washburn (seventh) and Lindenwood (eighth) followed MSSU before Pittsburg State, under new head coach Matt Murray, came in at ninth with 91 points.
Missouri Southern is coming off a 32-19 campaign in 2012 that included a 23-17 mark in the league. Two All-MIAA performers return — seniors Sam Ryan and Michael McCoy — while Dallas Burke and Brett Abell are back after earning all-league honors in 2011 before missing last season with injuries.
Missouri Southern was tabbed to finish 11th by the league’s head coaches.
The Lions, coming off a 16-35 season, return five starters and nine letterwinners.
Pittsburg State was picked fifth in the poll with 143 points, 10 behind fourth-place Fort Hays State.
Emporia State — the defending MIAA regular season and tournament champion — received 12 first-place votes and was tops in the poll with 194 points. Central Oklahoma received the three remaining first-place votes and was second with 177 points, one ahead of third-place Missouri Western.