Two Eastern Kentucky University baseball players were chosen to the 2019 Preseason All-Ohio Valley Conference baseball team, the league announced today from its Brentwood, Tennessee headquarters.
The two selections were junior Nick Howie as a utility player and redshirt senior Aaron Ochsenbein as a relief pitcher.
In addition, the Colonels were picked to finish sixth this year in a poll of head coaches and communications directors. EKU earned 110 points in the poll, 32 fewer than fifth place Southeast Missouri and 22 more than seventh place Belmont.
Eastern Kentucky begins the 2019 season at the Andre Dawson Classic on Feb. 15-17 in New Orleans. EKU will face Grambling at 5 p.m. on Feb. 15. EKU’s game against Florida A&M on Feb. 16 will air live on the MLB Network and MLB.com at 8 p.m. ET. Eastern will wrap up play on Feb. 17 against Prairie View A&M at 12 p.m. ET.
The 6-foot-3, 210-pound Howie was a third team selection to the 2018 Google Cloud Academic All-America® Team. He earned second team All-OVC honors after hitting .333 last season with 10 home runs, 43 runs, 50 RBIs and 17 stolen bases. The Oakville, Ontario native was chosen to the OVC All-Tournament Team after batting .500 (10-for-20) with six walks, five runs, four RBIs, three doubles and one home run in five tournament games. He posted an .800 slugging percentage and a .615 on-base percentage in the OVC Tournament. Among all players in the tournament, Howie had the second-most hits, was tied for first in doubles, tied for first in stolen bases, second in total bases (16) and fourth in average.
Ochsenbein, a 6-foot-3, 225-pound right-hander earned a spot on the OVC All-Tournament Team last season. He made two appearances in Eastern’s five OVC Tournament games, throwing a total of six and two-thirds innings. Ochsenbein did not allow a run, gave up just three hits, walked two and struck out 12. He tied for the tournament lead in strikeouts and was one of only two pitchers to pitch six or more innings without allowing a run. Overall, the Lexington, Kentucky native made a team high 25 appearances on the mound. He went 2-2 on the year with a 4.70 ERA and a team-best nine saves. Ochsenbein struck out a team-high 71 batters in 51 and two-thirds innings pitched.
Over the summer, Ochsenbein was third in the Cape Cod League in strikeouts per nine innings (10 or more innings pitched) and was fourth in total strikeouts.
The 2018 EKU team defied expectations throughout the season – beating two top-15 ranked teams, winning 30 games, finishing five spots higher in the OVC than predicted in last year’s preseason poll and advancing to the final three in the conference tournament.
Morehead State (185) was the preseason pick to win the OVC Championship in 2019. Jacksonville State (173) was second, Tennessee Tech (166) third and Austin Peay (143) fourth. Eastern Illinois (77) was picked to place eighth. Murray State (51), Southern Illinois Edwardsville (45) and Tennessee-Martin (32) rounded out the 11-team preseason poll.
Assistant Athletics Director for Communications & Branding