SWOSU football picked 10th in GAC preseason poll

RUSSELLVILLE, Ark. – Southwestern Oklahoma State University football has been picked to finish 10th in the Great American Conference during the 2018 season according to a poll of the league’s 12 head coaches.

The preseason poll was announced by the conference office on Thursday afternoon.

Following a run to the national semifinals, Harding received eight first-place votes and sits atop the poll with 118 points, but they were one of four teams to receive a first-place vote. Defending conference champion Ouachita was second in the poll with 111 points, while Southern Arkansas was third with 81 points and followed by Southeastern and Arkansas Tech tied for fourth with 86 points.

After Henderson State came in at No. 6, there was a significant gap between the next group of teams, which included Arkansas-Monticello and Northwestern Oklahoma State in seventh and eighth, respectively. Southern Nazarene was ranked just above the Bulldogs with 30 points, while SWOSU claimed 28 points to sit just above two teams – East Central and Oklahoma Baptist – who were tied for 11th place.

A new regime of SWOSU football takes the field in 2018 as Chet Pobolish leads the Bulldogs for his first season as a head coach. Pobolish brings 17 years of coaching experience at the NCAA Division II and Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) levels to the sideline for SWOSU after most recently serving as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Missouri Western last season.

Pobolish welcomes back a squad that includes nine starters and 35 letterwinners, but no players who were named to the All-Great American Conference teams in 2017. Among the top returners for the Bulldogs are a pair of Academic All-Americans in senior offensive lineman Brandon Roe and junior outside linebacker Braden Sweet along with senior wide receiver JR Omigie, who was an Honorable Mention All-GAC selection in 2016.

SWOSU opens the season with the ASAP Kickoff Classic against Arkansas-Monticello on Aug. 30 – the first of six home games for the Bulldogs during the 2018 season. Other key dates include Parents Day against Southern Arkansas (Sept. 15), SWOSU Saturday against Oklahoma Baptist (Oct. 27) and Homecoming against Northwestern Oklahoma State (Nov. 10).

2018 GAC Football Preseason Coaches Poll


# Team (1st Place Votes) Points
1 Harding (8) 118
2 Ouachita (2) 111
3 Southern Arkansas (1) 91
T-4 Southeastern Okla. (1) 86
T-4 Arkansas Tech 86
6 Henderson State 81
7 Arkansas-Monticello 58
8 Northwestern Okla. 55
9 Southern Nazarene 30
10 SWOSU 28
T-11 East Central 24
T-11 Oklahoma Baptist 24

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Drillers fall to Hooks in ninth

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas– The Tulsa Drillers and the Corpus Christi Hooks played a tightly contested game that was tied at 2-2 going into the bottom of the ninth.

But the Drillers’ bullpen was unable to force the game into extra innings, as Carmen Benedetti hit a walk-off homer to give the Hooks a 3-2 win.

The Hooks quickly took the early lead in the bottom of the first. Drillers starting pitcher Dustin May hit the leadoff batter Ronnie Dawson, who then promptly stole second. May then threw a wild pitch, allowing Dawson to reach third. Houston Astros shortstop Carlos Correa followed with an RBI groundout to bring home the games first run.

The Drillers evened things up in the top of the fifth. Logan Landon led the inning off by unloading a ball onto the grassy berm in left field to tie the game at 1-1.

May did not surrender his first hit until the bottom of the fifth. Josh Rojas singled, then proceeded to steal second, and followed by advancing to third on a wild pitch. Corpus Christi then took a 2-1 lead on a Ryne Birk triple.

A half inning later, the Drillers tied things up again. With two outs, Wes Darvill crushed a ball to left center that found its way onto the berm to tie the game at 2-2.

The score remained the same going into the bottom of the eighth. May recorded the first out in the inning, then was replaced by Michael Johnson who set down the final two batters in the inning.

Despite getting runners on first and second in the ninth, the Drillers were unable to push across a run. Johnson went back out for the bottom of the ninth, and gave up a walk-off home run to Benedetti that gave the Hooks a 3-2 victory.


*Gavin Lux has not had much trouble with Double-A pitching since being called up to Tulsa. He has hit safely in all seven games as a Driller, including going 3-4 with a walk on Wednesday. He is hitting at a .440 clip.

*The Drillers home run power came from the bottom of the order on Wednesday. Darvill and Landon hit eighth and ninth in the order, respectively.

*May’s second Double-A start went much better than his first. On August 3, May only lasted 3.2 innings and gave up five earned runs, but gave up only two runs in 7.1 innings on Wednesday.

* Correa was held hitless for the second straight game in three at bats, but did have an RBI groundout.


The Drillers will wrap up their series with the Hooks on Thursday night in the third and final game of the series. First pitch at Whataburger Field in Corpus Christi is scheduled for 7:05 PM, and the probable starting pitchers will be:

TUL        Ben Holmes (1-0, 2.45 ERA)
CC          Brandon Bielak (2-3, 2.41 ERA)

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