Photo courtesy JSU Athletics
College baseball was just barely getting started in 2020 when the season was stopped by COVID-19. All winter and spring sports were brought to an end with no conference or NCAA titles awarded.
As the SWAC prepares for spring football, a typical spring sport is getting ready to start. College baseball will make its return in the SWAC and around the state. Currently all SWAC teams are scheduled to play the season.
Jackson State University pitcher Nikelle Galatas was named SWAC Preseason Pitcher of the Year. He also was named Preseason First-Team All-SWAC as voted by coaches and sports information directors.
The Los Angeles, Calif., native, played in four games last season before the pandemic shut down the season. He went 2-0 with a 5.16 Earned Run Average, 21 strikeouts, 32 hits allowed and 17 runs, of which 13 were earned.
Galattas biggest workload came in the 2019 season as he pitched 105.2 innings as he appeared in 22 games with 15 starts. He finished the season 5-2 with a 4.17 ERA, 81 strikeouts, three complete games, two saves, and 59 runs given up with just 49 being earned.
The junior pitcher made his first appearance for Jackson State in 2018 as a sophomore. He appeared in 18 games with 14 starts with a 4.58 ERA and 8-3 record. He struck out 53 batters, gave up 50 runs with 45 being earned.
Joining Galatas as Preseason First-Team All-SWAC were three other Tigers. Senior shortstop Wesley Reyes, senior outfielder Equon Smith and senior pitcher Mario Lopez gave JSU four members on the preseason teams.
Only Alabama State University had more selections with eight players. JSU was joined by Prairie View A&M University and Texas Southern University as programs with four players on either the first or second team.
Alabama State was picked to win the East Division this season and got 14 first place votes. JSU was picked second in the division and earned three first place votes. The Tigers were followed by Alcorn State University in third with no first place votes. Alabama A&M University earned two first place votes but ended up in fourth place. Mississippi Valley State University ended up in last place while collecting one first place vote.
Jackson State begins the season at Mississippi State University in a two game series. Game one is on Tuesday, Feb. 23, and game two on Wednesday, Feb. 24. The Tigers first home game will be on Saturday, Feb. 27, against Lemoyne-Owen College.