Bemidji State, which finished 9-41 overall in 2007 and 7-22 in NSIC play, picked up 39 points in the poll. BSU missed a sixth-place finish in the pre-season rankings by 15 points, as Concordia-St. Paul picked up 54 points in the tally of the league’s coaches.
Defending NSIC regular season and Tournament Champion Wayne State (Neb.) was selected as 2008 preseason favorite for the fifth year in a row, picking up 78 points along with six first place votes. Winona State picked up the other three first place votes and held down the second spot with 75 points.
Southwest Minnesota State edged out the University of Mary and Upper Iowa for the third spot as the Mustangs tallied 57 points with the Marauders and Peacocks in a tie for fourth place with 55 points apiece. Concordia-St. Paul came in sixth followed by BSU. Northern State (31) and Minnesota, Crookston (24) rounded out the poll.
Northern State senior third baseman Adam Kampsen was picked as NSIC Pre-Season Player of the Year for the second consecutive season, while Winona State’s Bryan Ruff was tabbed as the league’s Pre-Season Pitcher of the Year.
BSU’s Mike Wagner (3B, Sr., Plymouth, N.H.) and Josh Juntunen (LHP, Jr., Elk River, Minn.) were picked amongst the league’s players and pitchers to watch, respectively.
Wagner enters his senior season as one of three Bemidji State returning All-Conference players. Wagner notched a team best .376 batting average and a .516 on base percentage last season for the Beavers. Wagner also recorded 35 hits along with 16 walks. He piled up 15 RBI’s last season while garnering three home runs. Wagner appeared in 37 of 49 games last year, starting 36 of 37 games he appeared in. He struck out just 13 times in 93 at-bats.
Juntunen started seven games appearing in eleven contests in his sophomore campaign with the Beavers. Juntunen earned a team best 42 strikeouts during the 2007 season. Juntunen pitched 43.1 innings with a 6.85 earned run average while walking 17 batters in those 43.1 innings. Juntunen was one of five pitchers to pitch a complete game last spring.
Bemidji State opens its 2008 baseball campaign on Feb. 27, when it opens a two-game series at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis, Minn. versus the Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs. The Beavers and Bulldogs will play two seven inning games starting at 9 a.m. Bemidji State’s home opener will be on Mar. 29 versus Concordia-St. Paul.
Bemidji State University, located in Bemidji, Minn., is an NCAA Division II institution and a member of the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC).
2008 Preseason NSIC Coaches Poll
1. Wayne State - 78 (6)
2. Winona State - 75 (3)
3. Southwest Minnesota State - 57
4. University of Mary - 55
Upper Iowa - 55
6. Concordia-St. Paul - 54
7. Bemidji State - 39
8. Northern State - 31
9. Minnesota, Crookston - 24