The 2013 season will be the Cougars’ first as members of the NSIC.
Defending league champion Minnesota State-Mankato was selected as the favorite after collecting 13 of 15 first-place votes and 195 points. The St. Cloud State Huskies were tabbed second with 177 points, including a first-place vote, while Winona State collected the last first-place vote and garnered 163 total points to rank third.
Augustana College was selected fourth with 158 points, five points behind Winona State. Wayne State rounded out the top-five, with 152 points.
Redshirt senior catcher Corey Vasquez and junior right-handed pitcher Derek Fischer were selected as the Cougars’ “Players to Watch” in the NSIC. Vasquez redshirted last season but started every game for the Cougars in 2011, splitting time between catcher and shortstop. He batted .331 (48-for-145) with five doubles and 26 RBI en route to honorable mention GPAC accolades.
Fischer notched a record of 9-4 in his first two collegiate campaigns and has 65 career strikeouts. He shaved more than two runs off his 2010 ERA (6.05 to 3.57) and had a team-high five victories last year.
USF went 10-29 during its 2011-12 NCAA D-II transitional season.
The Cougars open their 2013 campaign Feb. 16-17 when taking on Bemidji State and Minnesota State-Mankato at the Metrodome in Minneapolis, Minn., before a four-game series the following weekend at William Jewell. The club will host St. Cloud State for its NSIC home opener on March 23, which begins a nine-game homestand.
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