FAIRBORN — The Wright State baseball team was picked first as the Horizon League released its preseason poll Tuesday morning. Head coaches at the seven schools conducted the voting.
The Raiders received 47 points and six first-place votes while Illinois Chicago was picked second with one first-place vote and 40 points. Milwaukee was chosen third, followed by Valparaiso, Northern Kentucky, Oakland and Youngstown State.
WSU has 16 players that saw action last season returning in 2017, including sophomore pitcher Caleb Sampen, who was the 2016 Horizon League Freshman of the Year and was selected to the Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American Team. Also back is senior pitcher Trevor Swaney and sophomore outfielder Peyton Burdick, who were both Second Team All-League honorees last season, and sophomore outfielder J.D. Orr, who was named to the NCAA All-Regional Team.
Wright State won its second straight Horizon League Tournament title in 2016 at Nischwitz Stadium and made its sixth all-time appearance in the NCAA Division I Regionals, advancing to the finals for the second consecutive year. The Raiders, who posted their most wins ever in a season with 46, defeated Western Michigan and Ohio State in Louisville, Ky., before falling to the host Cardinals.
Wright State opens the regular season this weekend with a three-game series at Clemson. The Raiders and Tigers will play single games on Friday (4 p.m.) , Saturday (2 p.m.) and Sunday (1 p.m.) A live audio link to the three games with Clemson will be available on the clemsontigers.com website. The home opener for WSU is set for 4 p.m. Friday, March 10, against Western Illinois at Nischwitz Stadium.