NORFOLK, VA (WTKR)- Last week, Chris Finwood and a couple of Old Dominion baseball players said they feed off an underdog mindset. The squad will enter the campaign as underdogs to two conference foes.
The Monarchs are picked to finish third in the Conference USA preseason poll released on Wednesday, receiving one first place vote. Southern Mississippi will enter 2022 as the league favorite, with Louisiana Tech projected to finish second. ODU is the highest ranked team in the East Division, narrowly topping Charlotte, which actually received two first place votes.
Old Dominion is coming off a 44-16 season that saw it win its first ever Conference USA championship and earn the No. 11 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament. The Monarchs were the number one seed in the Columbia Regional and fell one game shy of advancing to the Super Regional. ODU's final national ranking of No. 16 was the best in school history.
Six Monarchs landed on the preseason all-conference team. Catcher Brock Gagliardi, shortstop Tommy Bell and outfielders Carter Trice and Andy Garriola earned the honors, along with relief pitchers Noah Dean and Jason Hartline.
Charlotte infielder Austin Knight earned the Conference USA Preseason Player of the Year, while Louisiana Tech pitcher Jonathan Fincher was C-USA Preseason Pitcher of the Year.
Old Dominion begins its 2022 campaign on Friday at home against Iona. First pitch is slated for 3:00 PM.