MIDDLETOWN, Ohio — The University of Rio Grande was picked fourth in the 2019 River States Conference Baseball Coaches’ Preseason Poll released late Monday by league officials.
The RedStorm, who finished 26-26 overall and 17-10 in conference play last season, tallied 61 points in the balloting of the RSC’s 10 head coaches.
Point Park (Pa.) University was tabbed as the favorite in the poll. The Pioneers, who ended last year ranked No. 15 in the NAIA Top 25 Poll, received six of the 10 first-place votes and 78 points in the polling conducted by the league’s head coaches.
Point Park was 47-9 overall, 23-4 RSC last year and won the RSC Tournament. The Pioneers came within one round of the NAIA World Series as finalists in the NAIA National Championship Opening Round Williamsburg (Ky.) Bracket.
IU Southeast came in second in the poll with 72 points and two first-place votes, while IU Kokomo also had two first-place votes and was third – just ahead of Rio Grande – with 64 points.
IU Southeast (41-14 overall, 23-4 RSC) won the 2018 RSC regular-season championship. The Grenadiers made it back to the NAIA Opening Round and ended the year just outside the NAIA Top 25 Poll at No. 26 overall and ‘receiving votes’.
IU Kokomo was 31-21-1 overall and 16-11 in RSC play last year – the program’s inaugural season.
Midway (Ky.) University placed fifth behind Rio Grande with 50 points after finishing 26-24, 15-11 RSC last season. The Eagles joined Point Park and IU Southeast as the last three teams alive in the conference tournament in 2018.
WVU Tech is predicted as the final postseason qualifier for 2019 and came in sixth place. The Golden Bears received 41 points.
The final four teams in the poll were Asbury (Ky.) University (28 pts.), Brescia (Ky.) University (25), Cincinnati Christian University (16) and Ohio Christian University (14).
Randy Payton is the Sports Information Director at the University of Rio Grande.