Big Ten: Indiana Tabbed Big Ten Baseball Favorite (Feb. 14, 2018)
10 Innings: Preseason All-Big Ten (Feb. 11, 2018)
D1Baseball: 2018 Conference Previews: Big Ten (Feb. 9, 2018) - $
ROSEMONT, Ill. – The Big Ten Conference released Wednesday its 2018 Preseason Poll and Players to Watch in the league, with the Gopher Baseball team landing third in the top-six standings revealed and Micah Coffey, Toby Hanson, and Luke Pettersen earning preseason recognition.
Joining the league in announcing preseason honors, non-affiliated Big Ten baseball blog 10 Innings and D1Baseball.com also previewed the league season. The 10 Innings staff selected Gopher infielders Coffey, Hanson, and Terrin Vavra to its Preseason First Team All-Big Ten. Jordan Kozicky landed the utility spot on the Third Team by the same entity.
D1Baseball.com also picked Minnesota for a third place finish in the league, while naming Vavra, Kozicky, and Nick Lackney among the top prospects in the conference for the 2018 MLB Draft and Eli Wilson and Brett Schulze for the 2019 Draft. Rookies Sam Thoresen, Max Meyer, Patrick Fredrickson, and Joshua Culliver also earned recognition as “Impact Freshmen.”
Minnesota’s .297 team average led the Big Ten a season ago with the majority of the offense returning to a veteran-laden line-up. Six teams won 14 games in league play last season, including the Gophers, but only Minnesota was not selected to the NCAA Tournament.
“[The team is] disappointed in their finish last year. I look at it a little differently than maybe they do,” said head coach John Anderson. “We had a tough set of cards thrown at us at the end of last year. We had to play five doubleheaders because of the weather. They’re disappointed they didn’t win the league. They’re disappointed they didn’t get into the NCAA Tournament. It’s been obvious since the end of last season to today, that there’s been a commitment that they’re not going through that again.”
While Anderson is confident in his team’s abilities, he admitted there were too many outlying factors to pick any favorites in the league.
“The competitiveness of the league top to bottom has grown significantly over the last five years. Everybody has somebody. Who can stay healthy? How many doubleheaders do you have to play because of weather? All these things matter,” said Anderson. “We are just going to go after each day here. Our team understands how to compete whether it is in practice to help each other get better or on game day. This team is going to show some grit, and they will battle you until the last out of the game.”
Minnesota opens the Big Ten season at Nebraska on March 23-25. The Gophers will see their first non-conference action of the season this Friday, Feb. 16 against Georgia Tech. First pitch is set for 4 p.m. ET in Atlanta.
2018 Big Ten Baseball Preseason Poll
2018 Big Ten Preseason Honors List
Micah Coffey, IF, Sr., Minnesota
Toby Hanson, IF/OF, Sr., Minnesota
Luke Pettersen, IF, Sr., Minnesota
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