MIDDLETOWN, Ohio — The University of Rio Grande has been picked sixth in the 2021 River States Conference Baseball Coaches’ Preseason Poll released by the league office on Tuesday.
The RedStorm, who finished their COVID-19-shortened 2020 season with a 4-21 record, received 45 points in the balloting of the RSC’s 10 head coaches.
Head coach Brad Warnimont’s club returns nearly all of last year’s roster, along with a handful of newcomers who are expected to make an immediate impact.
Rio Grande is set to open its 2021 campaign on Jan. 29 at Bryan (Tenn.) College.
Indiana University Southeast finds itself in familiar territory as the predicted favorite in the poll. The Grenadiers were 18-1 overall and ranked No. 12 in the NAIA at the time the 2020 season was halted.
IU Southeast earned 80 total points and eight of the possible 10 first-place votes in the poll.
IU Kokomo, which was “receiving votes” nationally at the end of last year, was picked second with 73 total points and the remaining two first-place votes. The Cougars were 12-10 during the shortened spring, which included playing 10 games versus nationally-ranked ball clubs.
Point Park (Pa.) was picked third with 71 total points. That’s after the Pioneers were 10-3 overall, 4-2 RSC last spring.
Asbury (Ky.) University, which got out to a record of 14-4 overall and 2-1 in the RSC last year, came in at No. 4 in the preseason poll with 53 points. Midway (Ky.) University was picked fifth with 47 points, while Rio Grande was picked as the final predicted playoff team in sixth place.
WVU Tech earned 31 points for seventh overall, followed by Brescia (Ky.) University in eighth with 27 points, Ohio Christian University in ninth with 15 points and conference newcomer Oakland City (Ind.) University in 10th with 14 points.
Randy Payton is the Sports Information Director at the University of Rio Grande.