BRENTWOOD, Tenn. – SIUE baseball was picked to finish eighth in this year's Ohio Valley Conference race, according to the preseason poll of head coaches and sports information personnel released today.
Second-year Head Coach Tony Stoecklin returns five starters and 18 letter winners from last season's team which finished eighth in the OVC.
Last season's regular season champion Tennessee Tech was chosen to repeat as the OVC champion. Three-time defending tournament champion Austin Peay was picked second. Belmont, Jacksonville State, and Eastern Kentucky completed the top five.
Senior starting pitcher Travis Felax (Troy, Ill.) has been named to the All-OVC preseason team for the second season in a row. The right hander is one of three starting pitchers to earn the selection.
Felax was a second team All-OVC choice after finishing last season with a 3-6 record and a 2.26 earned run average, which was second in the OVC and among the top 100 in the NCAA. In 75.2 innings he struck out 58 hitters, while walking just six. His strikeout-to-walk ratio (9.67) and walks allowed per nine innings (0.71) each rank fourth in the NCAA. He tossed four complete games.
2014 OVC Baseball Predicted Order of Finish
1. Tennessee Tech (19 first-place votes) - 199
2. Austin Peay (2) - 164
3. Belmont - 158
4. Jacksonville State - 154
5. Eastern Kentucky (1) - 139
6. Southeast Missouri - 104
7. Eastern Illinois - 96
8. SIUE - 67
9. Morehead State - 58
10. Murray State - 51
11. UT Martin - 20
(10 points awarded for a first-place vote, 9 for second, etc. - Coaches/SID's could not vote for their own teams)
2014 Preseason All-OVC Baseball Team
Preseason OVC Player of the Year: Zach Stephens (1B), Tennessee Tech
Preseason OVC Pitcher of the Year: Travis Stout (RHP), Jacksonville State
C - Sean Hagen, Eastern Kentucky
1B - Zach Stephens, Tennessee Tech
2B - Zach Zarzour, Tennessee Tech
SS - Dylan Bosheers, Tennessee Tech
3B - Daniel Miles, Tennessee Tech
OF - Michael Bishop, Jacksonville State
OF - Caleb Howell, Eastern Illinois
OF - Griff Gordon, Jacksonville State
DH - Brandon Thomasson, Tennessee Tech
UT - Kane Sweeney, Morehead State
SP - Dan Ludwig, Belmont
SP - Austin Coley, Belmont
SP - Travis Felax, SIUE
RP - Travis Stout, Jacksonville State
RP - Seth Lucio, Tennessee Tech