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    Senior Eric Duke is UIC's top returning hitter
     
    Senior Eric Duke is UIC's top returning hitter
     
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    Jan. 31, 2000 - In the preseason poll of Midwestern Collegiate Conference coaches, the University of Illinois at Chicago baseball team was picked to finish third it was announced today.

    The Flames, who trailed Butler and Wisconsin-Milwaukee in the poll, as both were selected the co-favorites, edged out Cleveland State, Wright State and Detroit in the voting, receiving a total of 14 votes.

    Last season, under first-year skipper Mike Dee, the Flames doubled their conference wins while reaching the semifinals of the MCC Tournament. For his effort, Dee was voted the MCC co-coach of the year along with Butler's Steve Farley while the Flames landed three individuals on both the All-MCC First Team and the All-Newcomer squad.

    The 2000 campaign, which gets underway for UIC on Feb. 11, looks to be very promising for the young Flames as they will look to mesh 19 newcomers with 15 returning letterwinners. UIC welcomes back its entire infield, led by 1999 First Team All-MCC member Eric Duke. A three-year starter at second base, Duke is the Flames' top returning hitter as he batted .368 last season with 71 hits and 38 RBI.

    After playing the first month and a half of its schedule on the road, UIC opens up its 2000 home schedule against St. Ambrose on March 31. The Flames' first MCC action comes at home against Wright State on April 7-9.