#SummitBSB Weekly Notebook: No. 1

Omaha's Joey Machado, a Preseason Player to Watch among Summit League hurlers, and his Maverick teammates open the 2020 campaign against Northwestern.
Omaha's Joey Machado, a Preseason Player to Watch among Summit League hurlers, and his Maverick teammates open the 2020 campaign against Northwestern.

WEEKLY NOTEBOOK NO. 1

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. --
The 2020 collegiate baseball season gets underway on Valentine's Day and for those that love Summit League baseball, all six teams will get their respective campaigns underway. Preseason favorite Oral Roberts is the only league team opening up at home as the Golden Eagles play host to Merrimack in a four-game series.  Defending champion Omaha is playing Northwestern in a three-game series scheduled for the sunshine of Phoenix, Ariz.

South Dakota State plays the only ranked-foe as the Jackrabbits have a three-game series scheduled at No. 27 Dallas Baptist. Western Illinois and first-year head coach Andy Pascoe open against an SEC-foe that is receiving votes in the NCBWA poll as the Leathernecks take on Tennessee in their season-opening series. Pascoe will be making his collegiate head-coaching debut. The league's other new coach is Purdue Fort Wayne's Doug Schrieber. The longtime coach might be new to the Mastodons, but he brings 18 years of DI-head coaching experience with him. He'll begin his new post with a four-game series against Longwood.

North Dakota State is opening the 2020 campaign off The Mainland as the Bison are traveling to Honolulu to face Hawai'i in a four-game set.  

THIS WEEK IN THE SUMMIT LEAGUE
Friday, February 14
North Dakota State at Hawaii
Purdue Fort Wayne at Longwood
Merrimack at Oral Roberts
Western Illinois at (RV) Tennessee
Northwestern vs. Omaha (Phoenix, Ariz.)
South Dakota State at (27) Dallas Baptist

Saturday, February 15
North Dakota State at Hawaii
Purdue Fort Wayne at Longwood
Merrimack at Oral Roberts
Western Illinois at (RV) Tennessee
Northwestern vs. Omaha (Phoenix, Ariz.)
South Dakota State at (27) Dallas Baptist

Sunday, February 16
North Dakota State at Hawaii
Purdue Fort Wayne at Longwood
Merrimack at Oral Roberts
Western Illinois at (RV) Tennessee
Northwestern vs. Omaha (Phoenix, Ariz.)
South Dakota State at (27) Dallas Baptist

Monday, February 17
North Dakota State at Hawaii
Rankings used: NCBWA

PRESEASON NOTEBOOK
•  A total of 17 all-league selections return (nine first-teamers, eight second-teamers) for the 2020 season – South Dakota State's roster includes seven of those selections. Omaha boasts four all-league returners while North Dakota State, Oral Roberts and Western Illinois each had two.
• SDSU's Gus Steiger is the only returning player with multiple all-league selections to his credit, having earned second-team honors as a freshman in 2018 and first-team honors as a sophomore in 2019. Steiger hit .324, stole a league-high 18 bases and drove in 43 runs last year.
• Omaha snapped Oral Roberts' streak of 18-consecutive regular season and 19-consecutive tournament titles as a league member by winning both trophies in 2019. The Golden Eagles returned to the league in 2015 and had won both titles in each of the prior four seasons.
• The Mavericks will have to defend their crown without the services of Pitcher of the Year Payton Kinney, who is now on Omaha's staff as the pitching coach. Kinney, who was an ABCA/Rawlings Third Team All-American, led the league in ERA (1.96), wins (11) and strikeouts (111) and was named the Summit League Tournament MVP.
• Oral Roberts will have to fill the void left behind by reigning Player of the Year Spencer Henson, who led the league in batting average (.362), home runs (19) and shared the league-lead in RBI (51). He was a ninth-round draft pick by the New York Yankees in the 2019 Major League Baseball Draft.
• North Dakota State returns Newcomer of the Year Max Loven, who ranked second in the league with a 2.94 ERA en route to earning All-Summit League First Team honors as a starting pitcher. He fanned 88 during his first collegiate season and posted a 4-2 record.
• Loven was one of four Summit League players to garner Freshman All-America honors by Collegiate Baseball following last season. He was joined in that group by South Dakota State teammates Drew Beazley (1B) and Nic McCay (SP) along with Oral Roberts' utility player Isaac Coffey (SP/1B). Coffey also landed a spot on the NCBWA Freshman All-America Team.
• Western Illinois and Purdue Fort Wayne will both be under new leadership in 2020. Andy Pascoe takes over the helm of the Leathernecks' program after serving as an assistant coach at Butler for the previous three seasons. Doug Schreiber takes over the Mastodons' program, returning to collegiate baseball after spending 18 seasons as the head coach at Purdue (1999-2016).
• Pascoe will have a pair of First Team All-Summit League selections back to lead his squad. Outfielder Drue Galassi belted 10 home runs and shared the league-lead with 51 RBI a year ago while righthander Javin Drake was one of the top strikeout-men in the league and notched seven wins for WIU.
• Third baseman Garrett Mohler will provide a veteran presence for Schreiber. Mohler was the team's top hitter in 2019 (.285 batting average) and has 95 career starts under his belt.


2020 Summit League Baseball Preseason Poll

Place

Team

Points (1st)

2019 Record

1.

Oral Roberts

23 (3)

29-26 (17-12)

2.

Omaha

19 (1)

31-24-1 (20-10)

3.

South Dakota State

18 (2)

28-22 (19-10)

4.

North Dakota State

16

19-24 (15-15)

5.

Western Illinois

9

22-31 (16-14)

6.

Purdue Fort Wayne

5

7-45 (2-28)

Coaches are not allowed to vote for their own team.

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