BURNSVILLE, Minn. -- The Bemidji State University program was selected to finish 14th overall as the 2019 Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference Preseason Baseball Coaches’ Poll was released Thursday. Senior pitcher Jesse Palafox and junior catcher Isaiah Grancorvitz were named the Beavers’ Players to Watch for the upcoming season.
Bemidji State tallied 34 points in the poll while Augustana University was selected to finish first with 193 points and 13 first-place votes. BSU was slotted to finish ahead of University of Mary, who secured 22 points. The Beavers return 13 position players, six relief pitchers and four starting pitchers from the 2018 season.
Grancorvitz, a native of Hudson, Wis., started 36 games last season while leading BSU’s returners with 22 runs scored, 10 hit-by-pitches and four sacrifice flies. He hit .263 from the plate with 16 RBI while ranking second among returning letter winners with a .376 on-base percentage, 115 putouts, 114 at-bats, 30 hits, and 13 walks. Grancorvitz totaled a .956 fielding percentage with five runners caught stealing at catcher.
Palafox, a native of San Bruno, Calif., made 13 appearances in relief with two saves during the 2018 campaign. He allowed an opposing batting average of .367 while finishing his junior season with a 9.86 ERA and 33 hits allowed in 21.0 innings pitched. Palafox recorded 18 strikeouts while facing 100 batters.
University of Minnesota Crookston outfielder and first baseman Reed Hjelle was selected as the NSIC Preseason Player of the Year while Concordia University-St. Paul pitcher Louie Varland was named the NSIC Preseason Pitcher of the Year.
BSU begins the 2019 schedule on February 28 with a trip to face Pittsburg State University in Pittsburg, Kan. The Beavers and Gorillas will play one nine-inning game at 1 p.m. from Al Ortolani Field.
Bemidji State opens the NSIC schedule March 16-17 on the back-end of its annual spring trip with a three-game series at Augustana in Sioux Falls, S.D. The top eight teams in the final NSIC standings will qualify for the double-elimination conference tournament May 8-11 in St. Cloud, Minn.
2018 NSIC Preseason Baseball Coaches’ Poll - First place votes in ( )
- Augustana (13) - 193
- Minnesota State (2) - 175
- Minot State - 172
- St. Cloud State - 162
- Concordia-St. Paul - 139
- Wayne State - 121
- Winona State - 115
- Northern State - 109
- Minnesota Duluth - 91
- Minnesota Crookston - 67
- Sioux Falls - 65
- Southwest Minn. State - 55
- Upper Iowa - 55
- Bemidji State - 34
- University of Mary - 22
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).