Creighton Named Slim Favorite in BIG EAST Baseball

Creighton, one of three conference newcomers this season, is the narrow favorite in BIG EAST baseball in 2014, according to the coaches poll announced on Thursday. The Bluejays claimed a poll-topping 32 points with two first-place votes, edging out Seton Hall and St. John’s for No. 1.

There was more good news for Creighton, as a league-high four players earned Preseason All-BIG EAST honors. Among them were senior outfielder Mike Gerber, who was named the Preseason Player of the Year, and sophomore hurler Tommy Strunc, who picked up Preseason Pitcher of the Year accolades.

Seton Hall claimed two first-place votes and finished with 31 points for second, while St. John’s was close behind with 29 points and three first-place ballots. Rounding out the poll were Xavier with 21 points, Georgetown with 12 and a tie for sixth between Butler and Villanova with 11.

Voting was conducted by the conference’s seven head coaches who could not cast ballots for their own players.

Preseason Coaches’ Poll
1. Creighton – 32 points (2 first-place votes)
2. Seton Hall – 31 (2)
3. St. John’s – 29 (3)
4. Xavier – 21
5. Georgetown – 12
6. Butler – 11
Villanova – 11

Gerber, a unanimous choice for Preseason Player of the Year, hit .328 last season with team highs of five home runs and six triples to go with 31 RBI in helping the Bluejays to a 30-win campaign. He posted those numbers despite missing 15 games following an appendectomy. Gerber was the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament’s Most Outstanding Player in 2012, a year after earning Collegiate Baseball Freshman All-America laurels.

Strunc was a unanimous Preseason All-BIG EAST selection after earning All-MVC Honorable Mention accolades in 2013. He logged a 7-3 record in 14 starts with a 4.14 ERA and 55 strikeouts in 71.2 innings of work, and held opposing hitters to .201 at the plate.

Gerber and Strunc head up a list of a league-best four Preseason All-BIG EAST picks for Creighton (30-18, 13-8 MVC). The Bluejays are coming off a season in which they captured the No. 3 seed to the MVC Tournament. Head coach Ed Servais welcomes back junior second baseman Jake Peter, a second-team and defensive all-conference selection from last year who led the squad with a .350 batting average and 35 RBI, while contributing on the mound with six saves. Senior Bryan Sova (1-2, 2.34 ERA, 4 saves) earned Preseason All-BIG EAST honors as a reliever. Servais enters his 12th season in the Creighton dugout, and last guided the Bluejays to the NCAA Tournament in 2012.

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