The University of Arkansas at Monticello baseball team will open the 2014 season on February 1 at 10 a.m. against Arkansas Tech at Minute Maid Park in Houston, Texas in the first NCAA Division II baseball game of the year.
UAM and ATU share the season-opening honors with Limestone and Mars Hill, teams facing off against each other on Saturday at 11 a.m. eastern time at the Francis Marion Tournament in Florence, S.C.
The Weevils are making a return trip to the home of the MLB’s Houston Astros for this weekend and into next week’s Houston Winter Invitational. UAM went 1-3 in last year’s event.
Like last year, UAM is set for one game per day, Saturday-Tuesday. The Weevils face GAC opponent Arkansas Tech on Saturday at 10 a.m., St. Mary’s of the Heartland Conference on Sunday at 10 a.m., Central Missouri of the MIAA on Monday at 2 p.m. and GAC opponent Henderson State on Tuesday at 2 p.m.
Arkansas Tech finished the 2013 season with an overall record of 32-21 and has been picked to finish second this season in the Great American Conference. St. Mary’s begins the season ranked No. 15 nationally in two different polls after finishing last season at 39-17 overall and made it to the semi-finals of the NCAA Division II South Central Regional Tournament.
Central Missouri, the host institution of the Houston Winter Invitational, is ranked No. 19 and No. 23 in the preseason national rankings after a 36-13 record and a berth into the regional tournament. UAM’s final opponent in the event, Henderson State, has been picked to finish fifth in the GAC this season after a 24-27 finish last year.
The Weevils are coming off the second most successful season in program history with a 32-20 record in 2013 and a runner-up finish at the GAC Championship Tournament. UAM is picked to finish fourth this season in the GAC.
The Houston Winter Invitational was founded by Jim Crane, owner of the Houston Astros as well as Central Missouri and MIAA Hall of Famer. In addition to UAM and its opponents, Tarleton State of the Lone Star Conference and Winona State of the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference complete the field of seven participants.