BURNSVILLE, MN (NSUWolves.com, NorthernSun.org) – The Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference has released the 2023 Baseball Coaches’ Preseason Poll with the Northern State baseball team picked in a tie for 11th in the conference, picking up a total of 66 points in the poll. Redshirt-junior outfielder Karson Hesser and junior right-handed pitcher Max Otto are tabbed as the Wolves’ players to watch this upcoming season. The Northern baseball team is slated to open the 2023 season February 3-5 in Oklahoma at the Edmond First Pitch Classic where they will face a trio of MIAA opponents: Central Oklahoma, Emporia State, and Pittsburg State.
Hesser returns to the diamond after a 2022 season where he held a batting average of .294, an on-base percentage of .304, a slugging percentage of .412, and an on-base plus slugging percentage of .716. He appeared in 37 games while making 35 starts for NSU, where he totaled 40 hits, six doubles, two triples, two homeruns, and 11 RBI in 136 plate appearances. On the bases Hesser went 7-8 on stolen base attempts.
“Karson has worked extremely hard to put himself in a position to have a lot of success this season. He has done everything that has been asked of him and has emerged as a leader heading into this year. He will be a mainstay in our lineup and a player we can count on all year long.” – Dean Berry, Northern State Head Coach
Otto returns to the mound after a breakout 2022 season where he accumulated a 2.69 ERA and 6-3 record. He made 11 starts and appearances, pitching four complete games which included one shutout performance. Otto pitched a total of 67.0 innings a season ago, throwing 57 strikeouts and surrendering only 19 walks while opponents were held to a .252 batting average.
“Max has proven that he can consistently compete in our league. He keeps us in the game and gives us a chance to win every time he takes the mound. Max is another guy that is a great leader for our team and we look forward to seeing what he can put together this year.” – Dean Berry, NSU Head Coach
“This group returns a large number of players who understand what it takes to compete and be successful in the NSIC. They have worked really hard to put themselves in positions to have success and help the team win baseball games. We look forward to getting on the field with this group!”
The preseason coaches’ poll is based off each coach ranking each team from 14 to 1 with the top team receiving 14 points, second 13, third 12, etc.
The non-conference season gets underway in early February with NSIC play beginning on March 18. The 2023 NSIC Baseball Tournament will take the top eight teams in the final NSIC Standings. The eight-team, double elimination NSIC Tournament takes place May 10-13, hosted by the University of Mary at Veterans Memorial/Municipal Ballparks, in Mandan & Bismarck, North Dakota.
Entire NSIC Baseball Preseason Coaches’ Poll…
Rank School (1st Place Picks) Points
1 – MSU (8) 188
2 – Augustana (5) 185
3 – SCSU (2) 174
T-4 – U-Mary & Minot State 128
6 – Winona State 126
7 – MN-Duluth 113
8 – USF 108
9 – MN-Crookston 98
10 – Wayne State College 97
T-11 – NSU & CSP 66
13 – Upper IA 41
14 – SMSU 40
15 – Bemidji State 17
[MSUM is the lone school w/out baseball in the NSIC]