Weevils remain No. 3 in Central Region


INDIANAPOLIS — Arkansas-Monticello’s runner-up finish in the Great American Conference baseball tournament did not negatively affect its ranking in the NCAA Division II Central Region rankings.

The Boll Weevils held on to the No. 3 spot in the latest rankings, which were released Wednesday. With the conference tournament behind them, the Weevils (36-18) are expected to receive an at-large bid to their first-ever NCAA regional tournament.

The NCAA will announce the field for its national tournament at 9 p.m. Sunday on NCAA.com. The national playoffs begin with the six-team regional tournaments, and UAM, if selected, will play in the Central Regional, likely at the site of the No. 1 seed.

Minnesota State-Mankato (40-8) is still No. 1, but the Mavericks were upset by eighth-seeded Wayne State (Mich.) 2-1 in the first round of the double-elimination Northern Sun Intercollegiate Tournament in Sioux Falls, S.D., ending a 17-game winning streak. UAM split a pair of games with Mankato in February.

Arkansas Tech (42-10), which went 1-2 in the GAC tournament, moved down a spot to No. 2.

Southern Arkansas (38-17), ranked No. 4, grabbed the automatic berth from the GAC with a 6-2 win over UAM in Tuesday’s conference final in Enid, Okla. It’s the fifth conference championship in six years for the Muleriders, leaving UAM without its first such achievement as a Division II school.

Fifth- through eighth-ranked teams in the Central are, in order, Emporia State of Kansas, Augustana of South Dakota, St. Cloud State of Minnesota, and Central Missouri.

The top six teams will comprise the Central Regional. Each regional champion will advance to the Division II College World Series, to be held in Cary, N.C., May 24-31.