Tuesday, January 30, 2007
NASHVILLE, Tennessee-- The Tennessee State University softball team has been picked to finish ninth in the 10-team Ohio Valley Conference this season in a preseason poll of the league's head coaches. The Tigers return three starters and three pitchers from last year's team which went 21-35 overall and ninth place in the OVC with a 6-20 mark. Last year's champion, Tennessee Tech, is the preseason pick to repeat, earning eight of the ten first-place votes and 79 points. Eastern Kentucky and Jacksonville State each received one first-place vote and were picked to finish second and third, respectively. Southeast Missouri was tabbed fourth, followed by UT Martin who edged Eastern Illinois by one point. Austin Peay and Samford tied for seventh ahead of the Tigers, who finished two points ahead of Morehead State. Senior pitcher Candace Hildebrand leads TSU into the 2007 season after posting a 12-13 record with a 1.78 ERA a year ago on her way to earning a spot on the OVC all-Newcomer team. Tennessee State opens its season February 10 when they host Western Carolina. The first game of the doubleheader with the Catamounts is set for 12 p.m. at Tiger Field. 2007 OVC SOFTBALL PREDICTED ORDER OF FINISH (as voted on by the OVC's head softball coaches) 1. Tennessee Tech (8 first-place votes) 79 2. Eastern Kentucky (1 first-place vote) 72 3. Jacksonville State (1 first-place vote) 65 4. Southeast Missouri 51 5. UT Martin 48 6. Eastern Illinois 47 t7. Austin Peay 30 t7. Samford 30 9. Tennessee State 15 10. Morehead State 13 (Teams awarded 9 points for a first-place vote, 8 for second, etc.)