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Mississippi College, Concordia-Austin are Preseason Favorites in 2003 American Southwest Conference Baseball Races
January 28, 2003

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RICHARDSON, Texas --- Two defending champions -- Mississippi College in the East and Concordia University-Austin in the West -- have been tabbed as the favorites in the 2003 American Southwest Conference baseball division races by conference head coaches, sports information directors and media.

Mississippi College, the defending East Division champion (29-14, 17-7 ASC), collected 12 first-place votes and 105 points to outdistance second-place pick University of Texas at Dallas who totaled 98 points and four first-place votes. East Texas Baptist (71 pts.), Louisiana College (68), LeTourneau (49), University of the Ozarks (32) and Austin College (25) were picked to finish third through seventh in the East Division.

Concordia-Austin won both the ASC Baseball Tournament and NCAA West Regional titles and advanced to the NCAA-III College World Series a year ago after finishing second in the West Division (35-13, 20-7 ASC). The Tornados totaled 13 first-place votes and 132 points in the 2003 preseason poll. Defending West champion Texas Lutheran nabbed three first-place votes and was picked to finish second (120 pts.) while ASC Tournament runner-up Howard Payne was picked third (108 pts.). McMurry (87), Hardin-Simmons (67), Sul Ross State (46), Mary Hardin-Baylor (42) and Schreiner (38, 2 first-place votes) were predicted to finish fourth through eighth in the West Division.

Sam GrahamOscar LunaMississippi College sophomore pitcher Sam Graham (Clinton, Miss.) was selected as East Division Preseason Player of the Year while senior center fielder Oscar Luna (Pecos, Texas) of Howard Payne was named West Division Preseason Player of the Year. Graham was the East Freshman of the Year and an ASC All-Conference and All-East pick after compiling a 6-0 record and 1.48 ERA vs. the league. Luna was named West Newcomer of the Year, All-Conference and All-West last season after batting .317 with six doubles in the conference.

ASC 2003 BASEBALL PRESEASON POLL

East Division

  Team (first place votes) Points 2002 Records
1. Mississippi College (12) 105 29-14, 17-1 ASC
2. UT Dallas (4) 98 22-17, 13-10 ASC
3. East Texas Baptist 71 21-21, 11-13 ASC
4. Louisiana College 68 19-21, 12-12 ASC
5. LeTourneau 49 14-26, 8-13 ASC
6. Univ. of the Ozarks 32 11-27, 6-16 ASC
7. Austin College 25 6-29, 4-17 ASC

West Division

  Team (first place votes) Points 2002 Records
1. Concordia-Austin (13) 132 35-13, 20-7 ASC
2. Texas Lutheran (3) 120 33-6, 22-5 ASC
3. Howard Payne 108 24-19, 19-7 ASC
4. McMurry 87 21-19, 15-12 ASC
5. Hardin-Simmons 67 18-22, 12-12 ASC
6. Sul Ross State 46 11-24, 11-11 ASC
7. Mary Hardin-Baylor 42 13-24, 8-17 ASC
8. Schreiner (2) 38 7-32, 4-23 ASC

ASC East Division Preseason Player of the Year: Sam Graham, RHP, Soph., Mississippi College

ASC West Division Preseason Player of the Year: Oscar Luna, CF, Sr., Howard Payne University

* NOTES: Coaches, SIDs and media were allowed to vote for their own team and player. 16 ballots cast in the East Division, 18 ballots in the West Division.


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