BURNSVILLE, Minn. -- The Bemidji State University baseball team was selected 13th in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC) Preseason Baseball Coaches’ Poll, which was released Wednesday. Junior outfielder Scott Litchy and sophomore catcher Gunner Olszewski were selected as the Beavers’ Players to Watch.
The Beavers totaled 54 points in the poll while Minnesota State University Mankato led all programs with 192 and 10 first-place votes. Bemidji State is sandwiched between Southwest Minnesota State University in 12th (57 points) and Minot State University in 14th (38 points) in the NSIC Baseball Preseason Coaches’ Poll. The Beavers bring back six positional starters and 10 total pitchers for the 2017 season.
Litchy, a native of Avon, Minn., led the returning roster with a .368 batting average, a .601 slugging percentage, 71 hits, 51 runs batted in, 16 doubles, 10 stolen bases, seven home runs and four triples during 2016. He set single-game career highs with five hits, two doubles and two home runs last season, with the hits and doubles marks coming April 20 at Minot State University.
Olszewski, from Alvin, Texas, is the only returning Beaver selected to the 2016 NSIC All-Conference squad after being placed on the second team. He averaged .327 from the plate and a .519 slugging percentage with 30 runs batted in, eight stolen bases and a .980 fielding percentage in 40 games played and started. Olszewski tied Litchy for the returners’ lead with seven home runs last season. His slugging percentage also followed Litchy for the team-lead a season ago.
BSU begins the 2017 schedule March 3-5 with a three-game series at William Jewell College in Liberty, Mo. The Beavers and Cardinals play one game each day with a 2 p.m. first-pitch March 3, 1 p.m. March 4 and noon March 5.
Bemidji State opens the NSIC schedule March 18-19 on the back-end of its annual spring trip while visiting Augustana University. The Beavers and Vikings will play a four-game series with two doubleheaders, beginning at 1 p.m. March 18 and noon March 19. The top eight teams in the final NSIC Standings will qualify for the double elimination conference tournament May 11-14 in St. Cloud, Minn.
2017 NSIC Preseason Baseball Coaches’ Poll - First place votes in ( )
|1.||Minnesota State (10)||192|
|2.||St. Cloud State (4)||178|
|4.||Concordia-St. Paul (1)||156|
|12.||Southwest Minn. State||57|
|15.||University of Mary||14|
Nestled in Northern Minnesota’s wooded region and located on the shore of Lake Bemidji, Bemidji State University sponsors 15 varsity athletic programs with NCAA Division I men’s and women’s hockey membership in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association, while its 13 NCAA Division II programs hold membership in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC).