The University of Central Arkansas Bears were the fourth pick in the 2021 Southland Conference preseason baseball poll released Thursday by the league office.

UCA, which returns nine seniors from the 2020 team that stood 2-1 in SLC play when the pandemic-shortened season ended last March, received one first-place vote and had 221 total points in the poll.

Sam Houston State was first with 278 points, followed by McNeese (256) and Southeastern Louisiana (234).

Trailing the Bears in the preseason poll are Northwestern State, New Orleans, Incarnate Word, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, Nicholls, Abilene Christian, Stephen F. Austin, Lamar and Houston Baptist.

The Bears open the 2020 season at home Feb. 19 with a four-game series against Western Illinois.

UCA has 30 home games scheduled this season, including SLC series with Sam Houston and McNeese.

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