PEMBROKE — The UNC Pembroke softball team was picked second in the Conference Carolinas preseason poll and the Braves baseball team was picked third, the league announced Thursday.

The Braves softball team picked up two first place votes and was tabbed as one of the top contenders for the 2022 Conference Carolinas championship.

Seven different teams grabbed at least one first-place vote, including four by Mount Olive that helped the Trojans edge out the Black & Gold by 18 points for the top spot in the listing. King and defending regular season champion Erskine both logged a pair of first-place votes as well. The Tornado settled into the No. 3 spot in the poll, while Belmont Abbey and North Greenville rounded out the top 5.

Points were awarded on a 13-12-11-10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 basis, and coaches were not permitted to vote for their own team.

The Black & Gold concluded its 2021 campaign with a 26-13 record and shared third place in the Peach Belt Conference standings with a 14-6 record in league play. The Braves return 14 players from last season’s squad, including all-American Tatum Brummitt, Mary Sells and Jordan Adcox who were all named as players to watch in Thursday’s release.

The Braves will lift the lid on their 2022 schedule on February 4 when they host Kutztown as part of the UNCP Softball Invitational. First pitch of the twinbill is set for 1 p.m. at the UNCP Softball Field. Admission to all 2022 UNCP softball home games is free.

With the start of its 83rd season of intercollegiate competition on the immediate horizon, the Braves baseball team was picked to finish third in the race for the 2022 Conference Carolinas championship.

Defending Conference Carolinas Tournament champion North Greenville raked in seven first-place votes and 96 points to assume the perch atop the listing, while defending regular season champion Mount Olive cashed in on the remaining four first-place votes before settling into the No. 2 position. UNCP compiled 85 points, while Belmont Abbey (70 points) and Francis Marion (55) rounded out the top 5.

Points were compiled on a 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 basis, and coaches were not permitted to vote for their own teams.

The Black & Gold will return six position starters and six pitchers off of its 2021 squad that reeled off a 29-15 record on its way to the program’s first-ever Peach Belt Conference regular season title. The club has added 20 newcomers as well.

UNCP will embark on its 22nd season under the direction of head coach Paul O’Neil, Feb. 4-6, when they host a three-game set with visiting Shepherd at Sammy Cox Field. Season ticket information can be found at