Both the Howard Payne Yellow Jackets baseball team and the Lady Jackets softball team were projected to finish 11th in the American Southwest Conference preseason poll in each respective sport.

The Yellow Jackets, who finished 18-22 overall last season and 10-14 in ASC action, received 114 points. Third baseman David Groves and pitcher Seth Owen were named to the 2018 ASC baseball preseason players to watch list.

The Lady Jackets, who posted a 7-31-1 overall and 5-25 record against league foes in 2017, received 85 points. No Lady Jackets were listed on the ASC softball players to watch list.

The Yellow Jackets were picked ahead of Ozarks (12-26, 6-17, 61 points) and LeTourneau (9-28, 1-22, 59 points). HPU trailed defending ASC champion and league favorite UT-Tyler (39-9, 21-3, 331 points, 21 first-place votes), UT-Dallas (33-11, 19-5, 304 points, five first-place votes), Concordia (31-18, 16-8, 285 points), East Texas Baptist (30-15, 18-6, 257 points), Mary Hardin-Baylor (22-18, 16-8, 217 points), Hardin-Simmons (20-23, 11-13, 207 points), Belhaven (26-14, 14-10, 153 points), Sul Ross (14-26, 7-17, 132 points), Louisiana College (20-22, 9-15, 131 points) and McMurry (13-27, 7-17, 131 points).

The Lady Jackets are expected to finish ahead of first-year program McMurry (74 points) and Ozarks (6-31, 4-26, 70 points). Coming off a third-place finish at the NCAA Division III National Championship Tournament, UT-Tyler (46-6, 28-2, 332 points, 23 first-place votes) is the league favorite followed by UT-Dallas (36-10, 24-6, 294 points, one first-place vote), East Texas Baptist (38-11, 25-5, 290 points, one first-place vote), Mary Hardin-Baylor (26-16, 20-10, 257 points), Louisiana College (26-17, 18-12, 216 points), Concordia (19-23, 12-18, 205 points), Hardin-Simmons (17-22, 11-19, 170 points, one first-place vote), Belhaven (18-20, 14-19, 149 points), LeTourneau (15-25, 10-20, 134 points), Sul Ross (13-27, 8-22, 106 points) and HPU.

The Lady Jackets begin the 2018 campaign at 2 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 30 with a doubleheader at Huston-Tillotson. The home opener is at 1 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 3 with a doubleheader against Schreiner. ASC action starts Feb. 23 at ETBU.

The top eight conference seeds will compete in a double elimination tournament at the site of the No. 1 seed to determine the ASC champion and automatic qualifier to the NCAA tournament.

The Yellow Jackets’ campaign starts Wednesday, Feb. 7 with a home twin bill against Schreiner. The ASC opener falls Feb. 22 against Mary Hardin-Baylor, which will invade Don Shepard Park.

The top eight conference seeds advance to compete in two four-team double elimination brackets hosted by the top two seeds May 4-6. The bracket winners will square off in a best-of-three series May 11-12, hosted by the highest remaining seed, with the ASC title and a trip to the NCAA tournament at stake.