Feb. 13, 2009

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Jacksonville State is No. 1 in Ohio Valley Preseason Poll

Nommensen, Tootle Garner Individual Honors


For the second straight season, Jacksonville State is the preseason favorite in the Ohio Valley Conference, in voting by the league’s head coaches and released by the conference office.


The Gamecocks received five first-place votes and 61 points to edge Eastern Illinois, with four first-place votes and 60 points. JSU posted a 23-4 conference mark in 2008 to capture the regular-season crown, but fell twice in the conference tournament to finish 37-21 overall. JSU junior right-hander Ben Tootle (pictured left) was named Preseason Pitcher of the Year, joining teammates Bert Smith (2B), Todd Cunningham (OF) and Steven Leach (UT) on the Preseason All-OVC Team. Tootle was 10-2 a season ago, including 8-0 in conference contests.


EIU won the OVC Tournament a season ago and has eight position starters and three starting pitchers back. The Panthers will be led by Brett Nommensen (pictured right), the Preseason Player of the Year. He batted .402 last season with 82 hits, 56 runs, 18 doubles, five homers and 36 RBI. Pitcher Josh Mueller joined Nommensen on the Preseason All-OVC Team.


Austin Peay was third in the preseason poll with 48 points, followed by Southeast Missouri, Tennessee Tech, Murray State, Morehead State, Eastern Kentucky and Tennessee-Martin.


All nine teams begin the season during the weekend of Feb. 20-22. Conference games start March 21-22. The 2009 OVC Tournament will be played May 20-24 at Brooks Stadium in Paducah, Ky., for the ninth consecutive year.


OVC Preseason Poll

1. Jacksonville State (5) 61

2. Eastern Illinois (4) 60

3. Austin Peay 48

4. Southeast Missouri 42

5. Tennessee Tech 38

6. Murray State 23

7. Morehead State 22

8. Eastern Kentucky 20

9. Tennessee-Martin 10

Preseason Player of the Year: Brett Nommensen, Eastern Illinois
Preseason Pitcher of the Year: Ben Tootle, Jacksonville State

Preseason All-OVC Team
C - Jim Klocke, Southeast Missouri
1B - Matt Wagner, Southeast Missouri
2B - Bert Smith, Jacksonville State
SS - Drew Lee, Morehead State (pictured right)
3B - Tyler Owen, Murray State
OF - Brett Nommensen, Eastern Illinois
OF - Tyrell Cummings, Southeast Missouri
OF - Todd Cunningham, Jacksonville State
DH - Wes Cunningham, Murray State
UT - Steven Leach, Jacksonville State
SP - Ben Tootle, Jacksonville State
SP - Josh Mueller, Eastern Illinois
SP - Daniel Calhoun, Murray State
RP - Daniel Tenholder, Austin Peay


(photo courtesy of JSU and EIU Media Relations Office)