EIU baseball picked to finish 3rd in OVC preseason poll


Brian Barrett

Eastern utility player Ryan Ignoffo (7) high fives his teammates after the Panthers’ 3-2 win over McNeese State on March 18. The Panthers won the series to improve to 13-4 on the season.

Autumn Schulz, Sports Editor

The Eastern baseball team was selected to finish third in the Ohio Valley Conference’s preseason poll as it will begin its regular season on Friday in Tallahassee, Fl at 3 p.m. 

The Panthers will play Florida A&M in a three-game series. 

Last season, the Panthers had a historic 30-win season, winning 33 games overall and ending the season 12-12 in the OVC. It was their first 30 plus win season since 2001.  

In the 2022 OVC Tournament, the Panthers came in as the fourth seed, their highest seeding since the 2020 season, and they were knocked out by the fifth-seeded SIUE Cougars in the first round.  

The 2023 OVC Baseball Predicted Order of Finish is as follows: 

  1. Southeast Missouri (16 first-place votes) 
  2. Morehead State 
  3. Eastern Illinois 
  4. Little Rock  
  5. Tennessee Tech  
  6. SIUE  
  7. UT Martin  
  8. Southern Indiana  
  9. Lindenwood 

Senior utility player Ryan Ignoffo and Sophomore infielder Chris Worcester were selected to the Preseason All-OVC team.  

Ignoffo was named to the 2022 First Team All-OVC following his performance during the 2022 season. He led the Panthers with a .395 batting average, 73 doubles, 14 home runs, and 58 RBIs.  

He ranked second in the OVC in batting average and 17th nationally.  

Worcester was OVC Freshman of the Year last season as he ranked third on the team in batting average with a .320. He finished the season with 49 hits, eight doubles, and 29 RBIs. 

The 2023 Preseason All-Ohio Valley Conference Baseball Team is as follows: 

  1. Lucas McNew – Southern Indiana 
  2. C Hayden Gilland – Tennessee Tech 
  3. 1B Jackson Feltner – Morehead State 
  4. 2B Nick Gooden – Morehead State 
  5. SS Chirs Worcester – Eastern Illinois  
  6. 3B Josh Ohl – SIUE 
  7. OF Brett Graber – Southeast Missouri  
  8. OF Brennan Orf – SIUE 
  9. OF Jevon Mason – Southeast Missouri  
  10. DH Brady Bunten – SIUE 
  11. UT Ryan Ignoffo – Eastern Illinois  
  12. SP John Bakke – Morehead State 
  13. SP Peyton Calitir – Tennessee Tech  
  14. SP Jackson Wells – Little Rock  
  15. SP Eric Steensma – UT Martin  
  16. RP Kyle Miller – Southeast Missouri  



Autumn Schulz can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]