HAMMOND, La. – The Southeastern Louisiana baseball team was picked to finish second this coming season in the Southland Conference Preseason Baseball Poll, the league announced Thursday. Just 26 total points (258) behind conference favorite Sam Houston State, Southeastern earned three first-place votes. Coming off their third-straight second-place finish in the regular season, the Lions wrapped up with a 37-22 record in 2018.
Southeastern begins 2019 with three preseason all-conference members, headlined by first-team senior pitchers Corey Gaconi and Carlisle Koestler. The duo combined to go 14-2 last season with a 2.90 ERA, 135 strikeouts over 167.1 innings pitched and just 1.6 walks per nine innings.
Reigning regular-season champion Sam Houston State is favored to defend its title. The Bearkats earned 22 first-place votes, topping the preseason poll. After finishing atop the league standings in 2018 with a 24-6 conference record, Sam Houston was knocked out of the Southland tournament and missed out on a berth to the NCAA tournament.
Defending tournament champion Northwestern State earned one first-place vote and 250 total points, ranking third in the preseason poll. The Demons entered the 2018 Southland Conference tournament with an 18-12 mark in league play and won four-straight games to claim the program’s first-ever Southland Conference tournament title.
Central Arkansas is picked to finish fourth with 200 points while McNeese rounds out the top five with 187 points. Houston Baptist (169), New Orleans (130), Lamar (128), Nicholls (120), Incarnate Word (104), and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (97) were voted sixth through 11th while Stephen F. Austin (63) and Abilene Christian (38) rounded out the poll.
Southland preseason polls are voted on by each program’s head coach and sports information director. Individuals rank the conference’s 12 other teams in predicted order of regular season finish, with first-place votes worth 12 points, second-place votes worth 11 points and so on to one point for 12th place.
The NCAA Division I regular season begins Friday, Feb. 15, with 13 games scheduled, including Southeastern’s matchup with Louisiana Tech at 7 p.m. at Pat Kenelly Diamond at Alumni Field.
Article courtesy of Southeastern Sports Information Department.