UAM Baseball Picked To Finish 8th

Courtesy of
UAM Sports Information

MONTICELLO — The University of Arkansas-Monticello baseball team has been picked to finish in eighth place in the second season of the Great American Conference, according to the preseason coaches’ poll released from the league office Tuesday.tv_sports 10db

   The Boll Weevils received 17 poll points, seven points ahead of ninth place prediction East Central. Last year’s regular season and tournament champion Southern Arkansas has been picked to repeat with 63 poll points and seven of the nine first place votes.

   The 2012 regular season runner-up Southeastern Oklahoma State follows in second with 56 points and one first place vote, while Arkansas Tech rounds out the top three with 48 points and the final first place vote.

   GAC tournament runner-up Ouachita Baptist is in fourth (44), followed by Southwestern Oklahoma State (35), Harding (29) and Henderson State (22).

   “Of course, we’d like to be picked to finish higher than eighth, but we have really emphasized to our guys to take care of what’s in front of us right now,” said head coach John Harvey. “We don’t want our players to be worried about end results, standings or rankings. We just need to take care of our team first.”

   The Boll Weevils open the 2013 season this weekend at Minute Maid Park in Houston, Texas in the Astros in Action DII Invitational, co-hosted by Major League Baseball’s Houston Astros and the University of Central Missouri. Of the four opponents UAM is scheduled to take on, two were NCAA regional tournament participants last season and one is in transition to the NCAA Division I level.

   “We are very excited to get the season started and to get it started at such an amazing venue,” said Harvey. “No matter where were scheduled to play these teams, we would still be excited to play them because they are great teams. But, throw in the fact that it’s at Minute Maid Park, and that just adds a greater level of excitement.”

   UAM returns 16 lettermen from last year’s squad, including a group of 10 seniors, two of those being All-GAC second team selections last season. Senior infielder Taylor Eaves and senior outfielder Danny Loya each received all-conference accolades last season after both hit above .300 in 44 games.

   Also returning is senior first baseman Hunter Allday, who hit .331 last season with 12 doubles and 26 runs batted in.

“We have a great group of seniors coming back,” said Harvey. “These guys have really provided core leadership for our new guys, which we have a lot of.”

   Harvey has brought in a group of 25 newcomers, 14 having college baseball experience. “Most of our new guys are transfers, and we are excited about what they are going to bring to the team, but we have some good freshman as well. I’m especially excited about our freshman pitchers that I expect to log a lot of quality innings for us.”

   “I think we will be much improved in all aspect of the game,” said Harvey. “I think we are a lot deeper on the mound, especially our starters… I think our offense should be pretty solid as well. We have a chance to be good in every spot in the lineup.”

   In addition to the 30-game GAC schedule, the 2013 slate includes a regionally-strong non-conference schedule, featuring a three-game home series against Northwest Missouri State, a home-and-home series with Delta State and four non-conference games against conference opponents.

   “It should shape up to be a pretty good non-conference schedule,” said Harvey. “Most of our non-conference games are against in-region opponents, which will not only help us, but it will help the rest of the conference as well.”

   UAM opens the Astros in Action DII Invitational this Friday, Feb. 1 against Abilene Christian at 10 a.m. UAM plays Tarleton State Saturday at 4 p.m., Texas A&M-Kingsville Sunday at 7 p.m. and Central Missouri Monday at 1 p.m. Links to live stats of all four games will be available at uamsports.com courtesy of the Central Missouri Athletics Department.

   For more information about the event, visit the tournament home page at the following link: http://ucmathletics.com/sports/2013/1/29/BB_0129133756.aspx

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