Sam Houston repeats as Southland Conference preseason baseball favorite

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Bearkats earn 16 first-place votes, selected to top spot for fourth-straight year

FRISCO, Texas – Two-time defending regular-season champion Sam Houston was selected as the preseason favorite in the Southland Conference Baseball Preseason Poll, presented by Ready Nutrition, the league announced Thursday. The Bearkats earned 16 first-place votes to top the preseason poll.

In 2019, Sam Houston posted a 20-10 mark in league play to claim its sixth regular-season crown in the previous eight years. A third-straight title in 2021 would mark the sixth time in the league’s history that a team has won three-straight championships and make the Bearkats the first program to achieve the feat twice.

The team garnered four preseason all-conference honorees, led by reigning Southland Conference Hitter of the Year Colton Cowser. The Cypress, Texas, native enters the season ranked as the No. 13 prospect for the 2021 MLB Draft by MLB.com. Cowser is joined on the top squad by catcher Gavin Johnson and outfielder Jack Rogers.

Defending conference tournament champion McNeese followed with seven first-place votes and 256 points. Four of the Cowboys’ league-high six preseason all-conference nods were on the top squad in second baseman Nate Fisbeck, shortstop Reid Bourque, designated hitter Clayton Rasbeary and pitcher Will Dion. Fisbeck and second-team utility selection Jake Dickerson represented McNeese on the all-tournament team following the 2019 conference title.

Southeastern Louisiana (234), Central Arkansas (221) and Northwestern State (213) came in at No. 3-5, respectively, while each received one first-place nod. New Orleans rounded out the top six with 145 points, and UIW and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi tied for the No. 7 spot with 133 points apiece.

Nicholls is picked to finish ninth, and the No. 10-12 teams were separated by just seven points in Abilene Christian (93), Stephen F. Austin (92) and Lamar (86). Houston Baptist rounded out the preseason poll with 37 points.

The 2021 season begins Friday, Feb. 19 with all 13 teams in action, beginning with a pair of 1 p.m. first pitches as Lamar visits UTRGV and Houston Baptist faces Washington at Rice’s Reckling Park.

Southland preseason polls are voted on by each program’s head coach and sports information director. Individuals rank the conference’s other 12 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.

2021 Southland Conference Baseball Preseason Poll
Pl. School (First-place votes) Total
1. Sam Houston (16) 278
2. McNeese (7) 256
3. Southeastern Louisiana (1) 234
4. Central Arkansas (1) 221
5. Northwestern State (1) 213
6. New Orleans 145
t-7. UIW 133
t-7. Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 133
9. Nicholls 107
10. Abilene Christian 93
11. Stephen F. Austin 92
12. Lamar 86
13. Houston Baptist 37

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