WACO, Texas (Jan. 21, 2013) – St. Mary’s (Texas), which reached the third round of the NCAA Division II College World Series last season, has been chosen as the preseason baseball favorite in the Heartland Conference for 2013.
The conference released its preseason poll of coaches and sports information directors on Monday, with St. Mary’s receiving all 14 first-place votes and 98 points, easily outdistancing second-place St. Edward’s (Texas), which received 83 points. St. Mary’s has won the last three Heartland Conference titles.
Like St. Mary’s, St. Edward’s played in the 2012 NCAA Division II tournament, falling in regional play.
Following St. Mary’s and St. Edward’s in the conference preseason poll were Arkansas-Fort Smith with 71 points, Newman (Kan.) with 50 points, Texas A&M International with 42 points, Texas-Permian Basin with 33 points and Oklahoma Panhandle State with 15 points.
Oklahoma Christian, in its first season in the Heartland Conference and in the first year of the Division II membership process, was not eligible for consideration in the poll. Another first-year Heartland member, McMurry (Texas), also was not eligible for the poll, while conference member Dallas Baptist (Texas) competes at the NCAA Division I level in baseball.
OC, under new coach Lonny Cobble, will open its season Feb. 4 at Schreiner (Texas). The Eagles’ home opener at Dobson Field will be Feb. 13 against Oklahoma Panhandle State.