ELMHURST, Ill. – Oral Roberts has been tabbed to repeat as Summit League baseball champions in a poll of the league's head coaches. The Golden Eagles are looking to extend their record 17 regular season titles and 18 tournament championships in 2018.
ORU received all five of its possible first-place votes for 25 total points. South Dakota State received the final first-place vote and placed second with 20 points. North Dakota State and Western Illinois followed in third (17 points) and fourth (14 points), respectively. Omaha (9 points) and Fort Wayne (5 points) rounded out the poll.
#SummitBSB Preseason Notes
- A total of 13 all-league selections return (nine first teamers, four second team selections) for the 2018 season, led by Oral Roberts' seven.
- Eight of the 14 all-tournament team selections from a year ago return to the field in 2018.
- Oral Roberts is receiving votes in the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) preseason poll.
- Both the Player and Pitcher of the Year return for the 2018 campaign in Oral Roberts' Noah Cummings (.321, 15 HR, 70 RBI) and Miguel Ausua (11-3, 1.65 ERA, 85 K).
- In addition to Cummings and Ausua, ORU first teamers Cal Hernandez (.299, 10 2B, 44 R), Trevor McCutchin (.299, .497 SLG%, 9 2B), Justin McGregor (9-0, 2.99 ERA, 1 CG) and Josh McMinn (9-3, 2.47 ERA, 75 K) are welcomed back.
- Ausua and Cummings have both been named Preseason All-Americans by both Collegiate Baseball and the NCBWA
- South Dakota State brings back a pair of second team honorees in Newt Johnson (.302, 16 2B, 40 RBI) and Nick Smith (.340, 30 R, 7 SB).
- Outfielder Logan Busch, a 2017 first team selection, is welcomed back for North Dakota State. Busch led the Bison in triples (3) and on-base percentage (.435), while ranking second in batting average (.303), doubles (12) and home runs (3)
- The Mavericks bring back utility player and a 2017 first team all-league selection in Grant Suponchick (.287, 7 2B, 60 TB).
- Second team all-league selection Johnathan Fleek returns to the lineup for Western Illinois. Fleek batted .315 with 15 RBI and five stolen bases last season.
- Fort Wayne brings back Brandon Yoho who finished last season with a .257 batting average, nine doubles and a .351 slugging percentage.
- Oral Roberts is in search of extending its league record of 17 regular season championships and 18 tournament titles.
#SummitBSB Schedule Notes
- The 2018 season begins Feb. 16 with league action starting March 16.
- The first rematch of last season's championship game between North Dakota State and Oral Roberts takes place in Tulsa from March 30-31. The two squads meet again in Fargo, May 4-6.
- League teams face a total of six different teams ranked in the DIBaseball.com, NCWBA or Collegiate Baseball Newspaper preseason polls.
- The top four teams in the regular-season standings will qualify for The Summit League Baseball Championship in Tulsa, Okla., from May 23-26.
|2018 Summit League Baseball Preseason Poll|
|Place||Team||Points (1st)||2017 Record|
|1.||Oral Roberts||25 (5)||43-16 (25-4)|
|2.||South Dakota State||20 (1)||26-24 (18-12)|
|3.||North Dakota State||17||31-25 (19-11)|
|4.||Western Illinois||14||18-32 (12-15)|
|6.||Fort Wayne||5||9-43 (4-26)|
Coaches are not allowed to vote for their own team.
Players to Watch
Brock Logan, Fort Wayne – Sr., OF
- Led the Mastodons with six home runs in 2017
- Last season, batted .236 with 39 hits, six doubles and 20 RBI
- Had a .352 on-base percentage and .989 fielding percentage a year ago
Logan Busch, North Dakota State – Sr., OF
- 2017 Summit League First Team All-League selection (OF)
- Led the Bison in triples (3) and on-base percentage (.435), while ranking second in batting average (.303), doubles (12) and home runs (3)
- Two-time Summit League Academic Honor Roll recipient (2016-17)
Thomas DeBonville, Omaha – Jr., OF
- Two-time all-conference and all-region pick at Eastern Arizona College
- Was fifth nationally in stolen bases (39) at the junior college level last season
- Conference first team all-academic selection
Miguel Ausua, Oral Roberts – Sr., LHP
- 2017 Summit League Pitcher of the Year, all-league first team honoree and Tournament MVP
- Led the league in both wins (11) and ERA (1.65) a year ago
- Landed on the NCBWA All-America Second Team and honored on the ABCA/Rawlings All-Midwest Region First Team last season
Noah Cummings, Oral Roberts – R-Sr., OF
- Named the 2017 Summit League Player of the Year and two-time all-league first team selection (2016-17)
- Honored on the 2017 NCBWA All-America Third Team
- Led the league and ranked 12th nationally with 70 RBI a year ago
Tony Kjolsing, South Dakota State – Sr., SS
- Second on his Jackrabbit squad with a .445 slugging percentage in 2017
- Was fourth on SDSU's team a year ago with 21 RBI and five doubles
- During an 18-game stretch last season, hit safely in 17 of those games
Drue Galassi, Western Illinois – So., OF
- Named Collegiate Baseball Freshman All-America and earned the National Player of the Week on April 24
- Recorded 10 RBI in win vs. SIU Edwardsville on April 18 which finished the 2017 season as the second-highest single-game mark nationally
- Led the Fighting Leathernecks with eight home runs and was second with 31 RBI last season
Note: Players to Watch selected by league's head coaches
ABOUT THE SUMMIT LEAGUE
Through 35 years of Division I athletics, The Summit League offers 19 championship sports and has a combined enrollment of nearly 100,000 at eight institutions, including three located in top 60 U.S. metro populations and two land-grant universities. Member institutions include: Denver (University of Denver), Fort Wayne (Indiana University-Purdue University-Fort Wayne), North Dakota State University, Omaha (University of Nebraska Omaha), Oral Roberts University, the University of South Dakota, South Dakota State University and Western Illinois University with the University of North Dakota becoming an official member on July 1, 2018. Previously known as the Mid-Continent Conference, The Summit League rebranded in 2007 and has since produced nine NCAA Champions along with over 90 Academic All-Americans, nearly 100 All-America selections and numerous former student-athletes competing at the highest professional level. For more information about the league, visit www.thesummitleague.org website, follow The Summit League on Twitter @thesummitleague.