Kent State baseball picked to repeat as Mid-American Conference champs

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The Kent State baseball team was picked by the Mid-American Conference to repeat as league champions during the 2013 season.

The Flashes, who are coming off the best season in school history that included 47 wins and a berth into the College World Series, ended last year ranked Nio. 6 in the nation. They were also the first MAC team to play in the World Series in 36 years.

On Tuesday, KSU received nine votes to also win the MAC Tournament this year, besting Central Michigan, which was selected to win the West Division.

Kent State opens the season on Friday against UNC Wilmington and Virginia Tech and the Flashes will be led by a pair of preseason All-Americans: Pitcher Tyler Skulina and first baseman George Roberts.

Three-time MAC Coach of the Year and 2012 American Baseball Coaches Association/Rawlings NCAA Coach of the Year Scott Stricklin remains at the helm, along with 2012 Baseball America Assistant Coach of the Year Mike Birkbeck. Assistant coach Scott Daeley rounds out the coaching staff, marking the ninth consecutive season the three coaches have remained together.

Kent State was followed by Miami in the East while Bowling Green was selected to finish third. Ohio was selected to finish in fourth place, while Akron was tabbed to place fifth. Buffalo rounded out this year's East Division predictions.

Central Michigan welcomes back 15 letterwinners to a team that posted an overall record of 34-29 (17-10 MAC) last season. The Chippewas won 16 of their last 20 games, including a season-long 10 straight from April 29 to May 13. The 30-win campaign marked the third straight for the Maroon and Gold and the seventh in 10 years under head coach Steve Jaksa.

Toledo was picked to finish second in the West Division and was followed by Eastern Michigan in third place. Western Michigan, Ball State and Northern Illinois rounded out the remaining sports in the West.

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