Southland Conference baseball coaches and sports information directors have tabbed Northwestern State to finish fifth in the league in the 2020 season.
The Demons, coming off a second straight 30-win season, were slotted in the upper half of the league, 50 points behind fourth-place Southeastern Louisiana but 47 points clear of sixth-place Texas A&M-Corpus Christi.
Defending regular-season champion Sam Houston State was chosen to repeat, taking 17 of the 26 first-place votes while Central Arkansas (five first-place votes) and tournament champion McNeese (one first-place vote) were slotted second and third, respectively. Southeastern Louisiana (three first-place votes) and the Demons round out the top five.
Northwestern State returns five starting position players from its 30-25 team of 2019, including preseason second-team All-Southland Conference outfielder Tyler Smith. Northwestern State reached the Southland Conference Tournament for the second straight season and the fifth time in the past six years.
The Demons open the season Feb. 14 at home against Wichita State in a three-game series. First pitch for the opener is set for 6:30 p.m.
2020 Southland Conference Baseball Preseason Poll
- Sam Houston State (17) 276
- Central Arkansas (5) 247
- McNeese (1) 244
- Southeastern Louisiana (3) 243
- Northwestern State 193
- Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 146
- UIW 144
- Nicholls 108
- New Orleans 101
- Abilene Christian 98
- Stephen F. Austin 92
- Lamar 87
- Houston Baptist 49