West VA State Baseball picked third in MEC South Division

Courtesy of James Garcia, Sports Information Director, West Virginia State Athletics

BRIDGEPORT, W.Va. – The Mountain East Conference released its annual baseball preseason poll on Thursday afternoon following a vote by the league’s head coaches. West Virginia State was slotted third in the MEC South Division.

The Yellow Jackets are coming off a 2022 campaign in which they finished 25-20 overall and 17-15 in league play. They entered the final week of the regular season with the possibility of making the postseason if results went their way, but narrowly missed out on the MEC Tournament after finishing fourth in the South Division. State won the conference championship two years ago and appeared in the regional round of the NCAA Tournament.

WVSU returns two All-MEC selections from last season in junior pitcher Chase Norrisand sophomore outfielder Nathan Paulsen. Norris earned All-MEC Second Team honors after recording a team-high 46 strikeouts in 42.1 innings pitched. Meanwhile, Paulsen received an honorable mention from the league after hitting .296 with four homeruns, four triples, 33 runs batted in and 74 total bases in his rookie season.

Head Coach Sean Loyd enters his ninth season at the helm in 2023. The Yellow Jackets have appeared in three MEC Tournament finals, winning twice, and made two NCAA Tournament appearances under his direction. His teams have finished above .500 in every season except one since he took over the program in 2015.

This season, West Virginia State is predicted to finish third in the highly-competitive MEC South Division. Defending conference champions Charleston was the clear favorite to win the divisional title again with 10 first-place votes and 65 points in the preseason poll. Concord was picked second with one first-place vote and 49 points. State was close behind with 46 points while Glenville came in fourth with 44 points and a single first-place vote. The top three teams in the division at the conclusion of the regular season advance to the MEC Tournament.

In the MEC North Division, Frostburg State was picked to top the division with 63 points and eight first-place votes in the preseason poll. Fairmont State shared the divisional title with the Bobcats last spring and is predicted to finish runners-up with 54 points and two first-place votes. The battle for third place in the North Division is expected to be hotly contested with Wheeling (40 points), Notre Dame (39 points) and West Liberty (34 points) all given a chance at making the postseason. Furthermore, the Falcons and Hilltoppers each received a single first-place vote.

Alderson Broaddus was voted last in the North Division with only 16 points. In the South Division, West Virginia Wesleyan (22 points) and Davis & Elkins (20 points) rounded out the poll in fifth and sixth place respectively.

West Virginia State’s 2023 campaign begins on Saturday, Feb. 18 with a non-conference doubleheader at home versus Malone University. The full 2023 baseball schedule can be viewed here.

2023 MEC Baseball Preseason Poll
1. Frostburg State (8) 63
2. Fairmont State (2) 54
3. Wheeling 40
4. Notre Dame (1) 39
5. West Liberty (1) 34
6. Alderson Broaddus 16

1. Charleston (10) 65
2. Concord (1) 49
3. West Virginia State 46
4. Glenville State (1) 44
5. West Va. Wesleyan 22
6. Davis & Elkins 20

( ) – First-place votes 

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