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HUNTINGTON — Baseball America, a premier publication specializing in college and minor league baseball, predicted Marshall University to finish sixth in Conference USA’s East Division.

That prognostication matched that of a poll of the league’s 12 baseball coaches on Thursday.

Baseball America isn’t entirely pessimistic on the Thundering Herd, however, praising Marshall’s “solid offensive attack” led by first baseman Zach Inskeep, who batted .328, slugged .371 and reached base at a .393 clip last season. Baseball America was also high on Herd third baseman Peter Hutzal, shortstop Geordon Blanton, left fielder Jordan Billups and center fielder Luke Edwards. Baseball America writer Joe Healy wrote that Marshall’s outfield defense is strong.

Healy also was complimentary of third-year sophomore pitcher Brady Choban, referring to him as a high-end talent and rating him as the league’s 11th-best draft prospect for 2021, and hard-throwing reliever Nick Jodway.

The full article can be viewed at www.baseballamerica.com, subscription required.

Baseball America tabbed Florida Atlantic as the East Division favorite, followed by Old Dominion, Charlotte, Florida International, Western Kentucky and Marshall. The West was headed by Southern Mississippi, followed by Louisiana Tech, Rice, Texas-San Antonio, UAB and Middle Tennessee.

The publication picked Louisiana Tech outfielder Parker Bates as its pre-season player of the year and Southern Miss’ Walker Powell pitcher of the year. Slade Wilks, an outfielder from Southern Miss, was selected newcomer of the year. Charlotte pitcher Bryce McGowan was named the league’s top prospect for the 2021 MLB Draft.

Conference USA coaches agreed with the selections of Bates and Powell. The coaches flipped FIU and Charlotte in their East Division predictions. The coaches agreed with B.A. on the top three teams in the West, but ordered Middle Tennessee, UTSA and UAB as the last three.