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Defending ASC Baseball Division Champions Picked to Repeat Titles in 2004
Pitchers Sam Graham and Josh Lee Tabbed Preseason Division Players of the Year
January 27, 2004

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RICHARDSON, Texas---Defending American Southwest Conference baseball division champions Mississippi College and Texas Lutheran University have been targeted for repeat championship performances by the conference head coaches and sports information directors in the preseason poll released on Tuesday (Jan. 27).

Winners of last season’s ASC East Division title and conference championships and an NCAA Division III Regional semifinalist, Mississippi College opens the new season ranked No. 18 in the preseason American Baseball Coaches Association/Collegiate Baseball NCAA Division III poll. The Choctaws claimed 11 first-place votes from the ASC East voters totaling 120 points and outdistancing the University of Texas at Dallas, 2003 ASC East runner-up, who totaled 116 points for a predicted second-place finish in 2004.

East Texas Baptist University (87 pts.) and first-year ASC and NCAA–III Championship-eligible Louisiana College (76 pts.) round out the upper half of the ASC East in third and fourth places, respectively. First-year program and conference member University of Texas at Tyler was picked fifth (70 pts.), LeTourneau University at sixth (45 pts.), University of the Ozarks at seventh (40 pts.) and Austin College at eighth (22 pts.) complete the ASC East picks.

Two-time defending ASC West champion Texas Lutheran is projected to win a third division title, earning nine first-place votes and 112 points from the voters. The Bulldogs received votes in the national ABCA/Collegiate Baseball preseason poll. Predicted second-place finisher McMurry University earned four first-place votes and 105 points, squeaking past last season’s ASC West runner-up Concordia University at Austin (102 pts.) who earned one first-place vote. CUA also received votes in the national preseason ABCA/Collegiate Baseball poll. Hardin-Simmons University, projected at fourth-place (79 pts.), completes the upper half of the ASC West.

Howard Payne University was picked fifth (58 pts.), University of Mary Hardin-Baylor at sixth (52 pts.), Schreiner University at seventh (35 pts., two first-place votes) and Sul Ross State University at eighth (33 pts.) complete the ASC West picks.

Josh LeeSam Graham

Preseason player of the year award winners were named in each division. Mississippi College junior right-handed pitcher Sam Graham (Clinton, Miss.) was selected the 2004 East Division Preseason Player of the Year while McMurry senior right-handed pitcher/first baseman Josh Lee (Lufkin, Texas/Abilene Cooper HS) was selected the ASC West Preseason Player of the Year. Graham posted a 7-2 record with a 4.14 ERA last season to earn All-ASC East honors and selection as a Tri-East Player of the Year. He is also an ASC All-Academic award recipient. Lee went 5-2 with a 3.60 ERA in 2003 and was voted the ASC West Player of the Year and an All-ASC West award winner.

AMERICAN SOUTHWEST CONFERENCE 2004 PRESEASON BASEBALL POLL
Voted within division by institution’s head coach and sports information director

EAST DIVISION   Pts.      2003 Records
1 Mississippi College (11) 120 35-15, 17-7 ASC
2 Univ. of Texas at Dallas (5) 116 26-17, 16-8 ASC
3 East Texas Baptist 87 28-12, 16-8 ASC
4 Louisiana College 76 27-17, 13-11 ASC
5 Univ. of Texas at Tyler 70 First Year Program
6 LeTourneau 45 21-21, 11-13 ASC
7 Univ. of the Ozarks 40 12-27, 5-19 ASC
8 Austin College 22 2-37, 2-19 ASC
       
WEST DIVISION   Pts. 2003 Records
1 Texas Lutheran (9) 112 37-6, 21-3 ASC
2 McMurry (4) 105 26-14, 17-10 ASC
3 Concordia-Austin (1) 102 30-14, 21-6 ASC
4 Hardin-Simmons 79 20-20, 13-14 ASC
5 Howard Payne 58 18-21, 11-13 ASC
6 Mary Hardin-Baylor 52 18-20, 12-15 ASC
7 Schreiner (2) 35 8-31, 4-20 ASC
8 Sul Ross State 33 9-30, 7-20 ASC

PRESEASON PLAYERS OF THE YEAR
East Division: Sam Graham, RHP, Jr., Mississippi College
West Division: Josh Lee, RHP/1B, Sr., McMurry University


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