MOREHEAD, Ky. With the most wins among conference teams in the last three seasons, the Morehead State Baseball program has become one to be reckoned with across the Ohio Valley Conference and the nation. Collegiate Baseball Magazine has tabbed the Eagles to win the OVC title this season and picked five Eagles as "Players to Watch."
Reigning OVC Player of the Year Niko Hulsizer, who set the league record with 27 home runs and 193 total bases and won the College Home Run Derby, was picked as the publication's OVC Preseason Player of the Year. Listed as other notable all-conference players were junior shortstop Reid Leonard, senior second baseman Braxton Morris, senior third baseman Eli Boggess and sophomore right-handed starting pitcher Jake Ziegelmeyer.
The rising junior Hulsizer has already been selected a Preseason First-Team All-American by CB. With 21 doubles last year as well, he became the first player in program history with at least 20 homers and 20 doubles in the same season.
Morehead State, which finished second in the 2017 regular-season OVC race, was picked just ahead of Tennessee Tech by CB. The Eagles defeated nationally-ranked Mississippi State on the road last year and have won five other games against nationally-ranked foes since 2014.
Leonard, a Third-Team CB Preseason All-American, led all OVC shortstops in batting average (.357) against conference pitching last season. Overall, Leonard batted .328 with a team-high 21 doubles, which ranked among the top 10 in program history in season doubles.
Morris, also a Third-Team CB Preseason All-American, ranked eighth in the OVC in batting average (.364) and fifth in fielding assists (144). Morris scored 51 runs, had 82 hits, legged out 17 doubles, one triple, five home runs, and produced 47 RBI.
Boggess, who was First-Team All-OVC last season, finished 2017 ranked second in the nation in batting average (.425). Among his 88 hits, 11 were doubles and seven left the ballparks. He also produced 40 RBI and scored 54 times.
Ziegelmeyer, an OVC All-Freshmen Team pick in 2017, ranked among the top freshmen pitchers in the conference with a 5-1 mark and 39 strikeouts. He also garnered two saves.
Morehead State opens the 2018 slate on Feb. 16 against UMass-Lowell at the Shipyard Classic Tournament in South Carolina.