A year after winning the Missouri Valley Conference regular season championship, the Missouri State baseball team enters the 2010 season picked to finish second in the conference according to a vote of the league’s coaches, the conference announced Tuesday morning.
Additionally, juniors Aaron Conway (center field) and Aaron Meade (starting pitcher) and sophomore Kevin Medrano (second base) earned spots on the preseason all-conference team.
The Bears earned 52 points, trailing only preseason favorite Wichita State in the poll, which received seven first-place votes and 57 points. Creighton garnered the remaining first-place vote and 50 points for third. Illinois State (38), Southern Illinois (33), Indiana State (29), Evansville (16) and Bradley (13) round out the poll.
Conway batted leadoff and played center field in all 54 of Missouri State’s games last season, hitting .291 with four home runs and 29 RBIs. A native of Edwardsville, Ill., Conway stole 18 bases in 20 tries while ranking second in school history with eight triples and seventh with 40 walks in 2009.
Meade was a first-team all-MVC choice last season and is a Ping!Baseball preseason All-American in 2010. As a sophomore, the Kansas City native went 9-2 with a 3.39 ERA and 89 strikeouts in a team-high 90.1 innings. He started 14 games for the Bears and picked up a save in his only relief appearance.
Medrano was the 2009 MVC Freshman of the Year after hitting .329 with three home runs and 40 RBIs. The Lee’s Summit, Mo., native fielded .980 while playing second base, ranked fourth in MSU history among freshmen with 76 base hits, and finished fourth in the MVC with 53 runs scored on the way to a Freshman All-America nod from Collegiate Baseball.
The Bears open the season Feb. 19 at sixth-ranked Georgia Tech.