Team breakdown courtesy of MGoBlue.com
The University of Michigan baseball team has been picked to finish in fifth place in the 2015 Big Ten Baseball Preseason Poll, the conference office announced Wednesday afternoon (Feb. 11). Michigan ended the 2014 season in a tie for fourth place with Minnesota.
Maryland, entering its first season in the Big Ten, was picked to win the conference by the 14 conference head coaches. The Terrapins are followed by Nebraska, Illinois, Indiana in the top four. Ohio State rounds out the poll, which only ranks the top six vote-getters.
In addition, senior Jackson Glines and juniors Travis Maezes and Jacob Cronenworth were named to the Big Ten Players to Watch list.
Glines played all 60 games in center field in his first year in the Maize and Blue. He hit .332 with 19 doubles, 43 runs batted in, 28 walks, 17 hit by pitches and 38 runs scored. The 2014 All-Big Ten second team member was seventh in the conference in batting average and led the league in hit by pitches. Glines earned Big Ten Player of the Week honors on March 10, going 7-for-10 in the Illinois series (April 11-13) and had five hits and three RBI in the Nebraska series. He had five RBI in the win over Florida Gulf Coast and his walk-off single gave U-M a 6-5 win over Iowa (March 30).
Maezes hit .302 with 18 doubles, four triples, three home runs and 19 stolen bases last season for the Wolverines. The Ann Arbor native had 21 RBI and a .459 slugging percentage while being named to the All-Big Ten third team. Maezes was fourth in the Big Ten in doubles and tied for fourth in triples. He also tied for fifth in the league in both stolen bases and walks. He enters 2015 with 65 career RBI, 28 career doubles and 35 career stolen bases. He had been named a preseason All-American by Baseball America and Collegiate Baseball Magazine (Louisville Slugger).
Cronenworth, an infielder/relief pitcher, hit .268 for the Maize and Blue in 2014 with a pair of home runs, six doubles, four triples, 28 RBI and 19 stolen bases. The St. Clair, Michigan, native also had 12 saves with a 1.75 earned-run average on the mound. He was second in the Big Ten last season with 41 walks at the plate and tied for third in the conference with 11 sacrifice hits. The 12 saves tied for second in the Big Ten in 2014 as Cronenworth has 27 strikeouts in 25.2 innings pitched. Going into his junior season, he has 31 career stolen bases, 69 career RBI and 19 career saves. Cronenworth has been named a preseason All-American by four different outlets and is on the NCBWA Stopper of the Year watch list.
Michigan (0-0) opens the 2015 season in the Golden State, facing Long Beach State for a three-game series at Blair Field in Long Beach, California. The two teams open the season on Friday (Feb. 13) at 6 p.m. PST. The series continues Saturday (Feb. 14) at 2 p.m. PST and concludes Sunday (Feb. 15) at 1 p.m. PST. All three games will have live audio at LongBeachState.com. The Wolverines are coming off a 30-29-1 record and a tie for fourth place in the Big Ten in 2014.
SCOUTING LONG BEACH STATE
The Dirtbags are coming off a 34-26 season and a second-place finish in the Big West. Long Beach State advanced to the Gainesville Regional championship game before falling to the College of Charleston. LBSU returns 15 letterwinners and five pitchers, including the Big West Freshman of the Year in Garrett Hampson. Ty Provencher is back after collecting five saves and posting a 1.77 earned-run average in 2014.