Lions picked #3 in MIAA preseason poll

Southern was 35-21 last season.
MSSU baseball


The Missouri Southern baseball team has been picked to finish third in the MIAA Preseason Coaches’ Poll, the league announced today.

Southern is coming off a season that saw the Lions finish 35-21, one game out of first place in the final MIAA standings and earn an appearance in the 2019 NCAA Tournament. The Lions made it to Championship Sunday in the MIAA Tournament forcing an if-necessary game with eventual Tournament Champions Central Missouri.

The Lions return the MIAA Coach of the Year in Bryce Darnell, the MIAA Pitcher of the Year in Zach Parish and the MIAA Freshman of the Year in Dexter Swims. Parish was 9-2 last season with a school-record 136 strikeouts. He was a first-team All-MIAA and All-Region selection, while being named the American Baseball Coaches Association Regional Pitcher of the Year. He went on to earn All-American honors, as well.

Swims finished second on the team with a .325 batting average and led the Lions with 75 hits on the season. He added five home runs and was third on the team with 36 RBIs.

The team returns a total of five starters from last year’s team including Swims, Troy GaganRyan HunterMatt Miller and Davin Gummere. The entire weekend rotation of Parish, Zac Shoemaker and Will Bausinger also returns to the fold. Shoemaker was 8-2 last season with 82 strikeouts, while Bausinger struck out 106 and recorded the first-ever perfect game in MSSU and MIAA history when he blanked Washburn in February.

In total, the Lions return ten position players, as well as seven pitchers from last year’s team. A group of 15 newcomers also return to the fold.

Central Missouri earned 10 first-place votes and was picked to defend its title with 120 total points. Central Oklahoma received a first-place vote and 107 points, while the Lions picked up a first-place vote, as well with 102 points. Pittsburg State was fourth, followed by Emporia State, Rogers State, Missouri Western, Northwest Missouri, Washburn, Northeastern State, Newman and Fort Hays State to round out the poll.

The Lions open up the regular season on January 31 playing in the Edmond First-Pitch Classic at Central Oklahoma. Southern takes on Northwestern Oklahoma at 1 pm in the first of three games that weekend at UCO.

The complete poll is listed below.

2020 MIAA Baseball Coaches Preseason Poll
1. Central Missouri (10) – 120 points
2. Central Oklahoma (1) – 107 points
3. Missouri Southern (1) – 102 points
4. Pittsburg State – 91 points
5. Emporia State – 79 points
6. Rogers State – 67 points
7. Missouri Western – 61 points
8. Northwest Missouri – 51 points
9. Washburn – 50 points
10. Northeastern State – 27 points
11. Newman – 21 points
12. Fort Hays State – 16 points