BRENTWOOD, Tenn. – Jacksonville State has been picked to finish second in the 2010 preseason Ohio Valley Conference Baseball poll, in a vote of the 10 head baseball coaches and announced today.
The Gamecocks received the most first-pace votes with four for a total of 56 points, just three behind preseason favorite Eastern Illinois' total of 59 points. The Panthers received three first-place votes, while Tennessee Tech received the other two first-place votes for a total of 51 and is picked third. Murray State (43) is picked fourth, followed by Morehead State (33), Eastern Kentucky (26), Southeast Missouri (25), Austin Peay (22) and UT Martin is picked ninth with nine points.
Jacksonville State has been the most dominating team in the Ohio Valley Conference since joining the league for the 2004 season. JSU has posted an impressive 105-53 record in OVC play, which is 17 more wins than second place Austin Peay's total of 88-60, and their 66.5 winning percentage is well ahead of the Govs total of 59.4 percent.
The Gamecocks have averaged 18 Conference victories a season over that time period, have two regular season championships (2005, 2008), a pair of tournament championships (2004, 2006) and three tournament runner-up finishes (2005, 2007, 2009).
Head Coach Jim Case returns eight position starters and 19 lettermen from the 2009 team that advanced to the OVC Championship title game for the fifth time in six years.
The Gamecocks placed three players on the preseason All-OVC squad, including senior outfielder Daniel Adamson, infielder Bert Smith and relief pitcher Bill Henke.
Adamson was named to the preseason team after leading the Gamecocks with 58 RBI, while posting a .320 batting average with 54 hits, 11 doubles, three triples and 10 home runs. He led the team with 15 multiple-RBI games and was named the OVC Player of the Week once last season.
Smith, who earned All-OVC honors for three straight years before missing last season with a medical redshirt, was named as the preseason second baseman. Despite playing in just seven games last season, Smith became the Gamecocks' career leader with 71 stolen bases. Smith finished the 2008 season batting .332 with 56 runs, 39 RBI and 15 stolen bases, while hitting .258 in 2009.
Henke was a first-team All-OVC selection last season after leading the conference and setting the school record with nine saves. The Hoover, Ala., native posted a 2-1 overall record with a 1.50 earned run average and only allowed one hit vs OVC opponents after posting a perfect 0.00 ERA vs the league during the 2009 regular-season.
The 62nd season of Jacksonville State baseball begins at the Texas Tech Red Raider Classic on Feb. 19-22.