UAPB picked 5th in division

University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff baseball players practice groundouts during practice at UAPB's Torii Hunter Baseball Complex in this Feb. 16, 2023 file photo. (Pine Bluff Commercial/I.C. Murrell)
University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff baseball players practice groundouts during practice at UAPB's Torii Hunter Baseball Complex in this Feb. 16, 2023 file photo. (Pine Bluff Commercial/I.C. Murrell)

The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff baseball team was picked to finish fifth in the Southwestern Athletic Conference West Division preseason poll.

The Golden Lions were picked to finish ahead of only Alcorn State, despite the Braves receiving three first-place votes. UAPB was the only team in the division to not receive a first-place vote in the poll, which is voted upon by the league's head coaches and sports information directors.

A fifth-place finish would match the past two seasons for UAPB.

Grambling State was picked to repeat as West champions. Prairie View A&M was picked second, Southern third, and Texas Southern fourth.

Alabama State was picked to win what would be its third-straight east division title. Bethune-Cookman was picked second, narrowly ahead of Florida A&M. Jackson State, Alabama A&M and Mississippi Valley State round out the division, with MVSU being the lone team without a first-place vote.

UAPB is one of three teams to not have a player named to either the first or second preseason all-SWAC teams, joining Southern and MVSU. Alabama State led the way with seven selections, followed by Grambling with five. Florida A&M had four, while Prairie View and Alabama A&M had two each. Finally, Alcorn, Texas Southern, Jackson State and Bethune-Cookman had one player each.

GSU's Cameron Bufford was named preseason player of the year, while preseason pitcher of the year went to Bethune-Cookman's Daniel Gaviria.

UAPB opens baseball season at home Feb. 16 against Alabama A&M, kicking off a three-game non-conference series.

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