Thomas Ashworth, Correspondent
The Ohio Valley Conference released its annual preseason baseball predictions last Thursday, picking Jacksonville State to finish second in the 2021 season, according to the votes of coaches and sports information directors throughout the conference.
The league also announced All-OVC preseason selections, with senior Alex Webb named the OVC’s top catcher heading into the 2021 season.
Belmont picked up 14 of the 22 first-place votes to tally 188 points. Jacksonville State received seven first-place votes and was tabbed second (176) and followed by Murray State (136) and Austin Peay (132).
Southeast Missouri picked up the other first-place vote (and 131 total points) in being picked fifth. Eastern Kentucky (117) was tabbed sixth and followed by SIUE (78), Eastern Illinois (73), Morehead State (67), Tennessee Tech (66) and UT Martin (45).
This season, OVC teams will play a three-game league series over two days instead of the traditional three games over three days.
This year’s OVC Tournament will showcase the top four teams squaring off in a double elimination bracket from May 27 to May 29. The site of this year’s OVC championship has yet to be determined.
The Gamecocks’ season opener against the Baylor Bears — originally scheduled to take place between Feb. 19 and Feb. 21 — has been canceled due to the severe winter weather storm that has impacted the state of Texas this week.
Jax State’s home opener will take place on Tuesday, Feb. 24 at 4 p.m. against the Alabama Crimson Tide.