FOREST, Va. - Randolph-Macon was picked a close second in the 2018 Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) Baseball Preseason Poll, as voted by the league's head coaches and released by the conference office.
The Yellow Jackets received five first-place votes and 95 points, one each behind defending regular season champion Shenandoah with six first-place votes and 96 points.
Defending ODAC tourney champ and College World Series participant Roanoke was third with 71 points, edging Hampden-Sydney with 70 points and Washington and Lee with 68. Virginia Wesleyan was sixth, followed by Guilford, Emory & Henry and Lynchburg, while Bridgewater and Eastern Mennonite tied for 10th.
R-MC posted an overall record of 26-15 a season ago and went 13-7 in conference play. The Yellow Jackets were the No. 3 seed in the ODAC Tournament. R-MC was in the national polls for the majority of the season, ranked as high as No. 6.
The Yellow Jackets were ranked No. 18 in the 2018 Perfect Game Preseason Poll, and receiving votes in the D3baseball.com/NCBWA and Collegiate Baseball preseason polls. R-MC has either been in the poll or receiving votes for 34 of the past 35 national rankings.
R-MC returns seven starters and eight of its top 11 hitters from a season ago, including reigning ODAC Player of the Year Cole Migliorini (Stafford, Va./Colonial Forge). The senior outfielder was named to the 2018 D3baseball.com Preseason All-America First Team. Senior outfielder Rick Spiers (South Chesterfield, Va./Matoaca) was All-ODAC Second Team a season ago and junior second baseman Jeff Butler (Chesapeake, Va./Western Branch) was All-ODAC Third Team. Perfect Game had Spiers as the ninth-ranked player on its list of Top 25 Prospects in Division III.
The Yellow Jackets also bring back seven of their top eight arms on the mound, led by Spiers and junior Nick Roth (Henrico, Va./Benedictine), an All-ODAC Second Team selection in 2017.
Now in his 14th season as head coach at his alma mater, Ray Hedrick and the Yellow Jackets are scheduled to open the season on Feb. 17-18 with a three-game home series against RPI, with a single game on Saturday and a doubleheader on Sunday on Hugh Stephens Field at Estes Park.
The ODAC Tournament will be held under a new format in 2018. The top eight teams will earn berths in the tourney, with the top four teams hosting best-of-three series May 4-6. The four survivors advance to Lynchburg for a double-elimination tourney May 11-13 to determine the ODAC champion.
Click here for full ODAC release and capsules of all 11 conference teams
2018 ODAC Baseball Preseason Poll
1 Shenandoah (6), 96 points
2 Randolph-Macon (5), 95 points
3 Roanoke, 71 points
4 Hampden-Sydney, 70 points
5 Washington and Lee, 68 points
6 Virginia Wesleyan, 60 points
7 Guilford, 41 points
8 Emory & Henry, 33 points
9 Lynchburg, 25 points
10 Bridgewater, 23 points
10 Eastern Mennonite, 23 points