The Illinois State Redbirds will open the 2020 season at Little Rock, Ark., beginning with a 3 p.m. matchup Friday afternoon. The two teams will face-off Saturday at 2 p.m., before wrapping up the series at 1 p.m. Sunday.
A year after finishing as co-champions of the Missouri Valley Conference, the Illinois State baseball team was selected to finish third in the annual Preseason MVC Coaches' Poll. Dallas Baptist, who shared the crown with the Redbirds a year ago, was picked to finish first after gathering 61 total points. Missouri State was tabbed second with 51 total points, with Illinois State close behind with 49 points. Indiana State was selected to finish fourth (40), while Bradley (38) was picked fifth.
Despite losing multiple key players to the draft and graduation, the Redbirds bring back a solid core of players headlined by preseason All-MVC picks in senior infielder Joe Butler, redshirt-junior outfielder Jack Butler, senior left-handed pitcher Colton Johnson and senior outfielder/designated hitter Jordan Libman. In total, five position starters and nine pitchers return from last season's roster.
The Redbirds will be spending a lot of time away from Normal to start the season, as ISU will be on the road for the first six weeks of the season before its home opener on March 24 against Northwestern.