Valparaiso University's baseball team has been picked to finish in sixth place in the Mid-Continent Conference in preseason balloting done by the league's head coaches.
Head coach Paul Twenge's squad garnered 15 points and finished just one point behind Oakland for fifth place in the voting.
Oral Roberts, the seven-time defending regular season champion, was picked to win the title for the eighth straight season while Western Illinois was tabbed second. Southern Utah and Centenary were picked third and fourth, while Chicago State was selected seventh behind the Crusaders.
First place votes earned six points in the poll on a scale that saw one point issued for a sixth place pick. Coaches were not allowed to vote for their own team.
The Crusaders will open up their 2006 regular season with a three-game series at Austin Peay March 3-5. Friday's game begins at 2:30 p.m. with the Saturday and Sunday games starting at 1 p.m.
2006 Mid-Continent Conference Preseason Poll
Team - Points
1. Oral Roberts (6) - 36
2. Western Illinois - 29
3. Southern Utah (1) - 25
4. Centenary - 20
5. Oakland - 16
6. Valparaiso - 15
7. Chicago State - 6
(First place votes in parentheses)