Red Hawks Tie For First In MWC Preseason Coaches Poll

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GRINNELL, Iowa - Coming off the 21st Midwest Conference Championship in program history and fourth in the last six years, the Ripon College baseball team has again been picked to finish first in the MWC North Division. The Red Hawks were voted in a tie for first place in the MWC Preseason Coaches Poll, which was released Tuesday by the conference office.

The poll was voted on by the 10 MWC Head Baseball Coaches. Four points were awarded for a first-place vote, three for second, two for third and one for fourth. Ripon finished tied atop the MWC North, along with St. Norbert, with 14 points apiece. The Red Hawks garnered three first-place votes, while St. Norbert received the other two. Beloit was picked third in the division with 11 points, followed by Carroll (7) and Lawrence (4). In the MWC South Division, Cornell and Illinois College each tallied 12 points apiece, recording four and one first-place votes, respectively. Grinnell finished third in the voting among South teams with 11 points, followed by Monmouth (8) and Knox (7).

Ripon graduated 12 players from last year's team and have just three seniors on this season's squad. They'll be led by two-time All-Region and All-Conference senior second baseman Nick Schmitt, who enters 2016 ranking fifth in school history in career doubles (42), fifth in RBI (133) and 10th in total bases (236). On the mound, Ripon's top two pitchers are projected to be juniors Matt Hecht and Aaron Langdon.

The Red Hawks will open the season on March 12 against Coe College in Winter Haven, Fla. Ripon's first home game will take place March 23 against Marian University, while their first conference games will be played April 9 at St. Norbert.