The University of Central Arkansas baseball team is picked to finish fourth behind Sam Houston State, Southeaster Louisiana and McNeese State in the Southland Conference preseason coaches poll.

Defending Southland Conference tournament champion Sam Houston State is favored to win the 2018 regular season.

Southeastern Louisiana earned seven first-place votes and just 21 total points behind Sam Houston State with 261. The Lions finished second in the regular season in 2017 with a 20-10 Southland record.

Defending regular-season champion McNeese earned one first-place vote and 246 total points to rank third in the preseason poll.

Central Arkansas is picked to finish fourth with 202 points while Houston Baptist rounds out the top five with 185 points. Lamar (172), New Orleans (168), Stephen F. Austin (144), Nicholls (122), Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (92) and Northwestern State (74) were voted sixth through 11th while Abilene Christian and UIW (40) are tied for 12th.

The 2018 season begins Friday, Feb. 16 with 13 games, starting when Houston Baptist welcomes Western Michigan at 2 p.m. CT.


UCA partners with Nike

The University of Central Arkansa Athletic Departmenthas entered into a five-year partnership with Nike through BSN SPORTS.

The agreement, which will begin on June 1, is part of BSN SPORTS Collegiate Select program, which aims to make BSN SPORTS a one-stop provider for all collegiate athletic, intramural, club and staff apparel and equipment to all D1, D2, D3 and NAIA schools.

The agreement includes numerous incentives in the form of discounts and rewards along with incentives for on-field achievements and additional marketing and promotional opportunities.

 "This will enable us to strengthen an already strong Central Arkansas brand and provide significant savings to the athletic department while equipping our student-athletes with some of the best uniforms and athletic gear in the world. It's a win-win situation for everybody involved," said UCA athletic director Brad Teague.

Harmon honored by UALR

Darby Harmon of Vilonia was a member of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock swimming and diving team that was recently named the Scholar All-America Team by the College Swimming & Diving Coaches Association of America.

The Trojans tallied a cumulative grade point average of 3.37 for the 2017 fall semester,  one of the 688 teams representing 430 institutions to earn the honor.

To be selected as a CSCAA Scholar All-America Team, programs must have achieved a grade point average of 3.0 or higher over the spring semester.