The University of Arkansas at Monticello baseball team has been picked seventh in the 2016 Great American Conference Preseason Coaches Poll.
The Weevils finished the 2015 season with a 17-20 overall record and a 12-16 mark in GAC contests, just missing out on the GAC championship tournament, where the team posted back-to-back runner-up finishes in 2013 and 2014.
UAM returns 17 letter-winners and 10 starters from last year’s team, including 2015 All-GAC outfielders Corey Wood and Brian Ray. Kevin Fitzpatrick also returns in the outfield after leading the Weevils in hitting last season with a .350 batting average. Other starters combing back include infielders Mitchell Dornblut, Evan Comeau, Nick Cerda and C.J. Womack; catcher Travis Steinke; and starting pitchers Zach McKnight and Gavin Johnston.
Sixth-year head coach John Harvey (120-109 at UAM, 274-257 overall in 12 years) added 24 newcomers for the 2016 season, which will also feature a junior varsity addition to the program.
The Weevils open the 2016 season at Minute Maid Park in the Houston Winter Invitational February 5-7. Following the season-opening weekend, UAM opens a five-game home stand on February 9 against Delta State.
The 2016 GAC Championship Tournament, which has been expanded to an eight-team field this year, is scheduled for May 6-7 at host sites followed by a double-elimination round of four May 13-15 hosted by Henderson State in Arkadelphia.
GAC BASEBALL PRESEASON COACHES POLL
1. Southern Arkansas (118 points, eight first place votes)
2. Henderson State (110 points, three first place votes)
3. Harding (92 points)
4. Ouachita (88 points)
5. Arkansas Tech (87 points)
6. Southeastern Oklahoma State (61 points)
7. UAM (55 points)
8. Southwestern Oklahoma State (53 points)
9. Oklahoma Baptist (43 points, one first place vote)
10. East Central (37 points)
11. Northwestern Oklahoma State (31 points)
12. Southern Nazarene (17 points)