MILWAUKEE, Wis. --- Defending Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference (NACC) champion Concordia University Chicago has been named the favorite to capture the 2019 NACC baseball crown, topping the annual preseason poll voted on by the league's head coaches and sports information directors.
The Cougars (40-15, 15-5 NACC in 2018), who accumulated 285 points and 21 of 24 first-place votes, are coming off a 2018 season where they topped the league table by two games, won an NCAA regional as an at-large team and made a deep run at the NCAA Division III Baseball Championship. CUC won its first two games at the final site in Appleton, Wisconsin, but ultimately bowed out in the semifinal round.
Aurora University, which claimed last year's NACC Tournament title as the No. 4 seed with a 13-inning win over Concordia Chicago in the finale and advanced to an NCAA regional, is second with 255 points and two first-place votes.
Concordia Chicago is ranked eighth in the Collegiate Baseball Division III Preseason Poll and 10th by D3baseball.com and the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association, while Aurora is receiving votes in both sets of rankings.
Benedictine University sits third with 232 points while Milwaukee School of Engineering (196) edged Concordia University Wisconsin (191) and Marian University (185) for fourth place.
Rockford University is sixth with 135 points and the final first-place vote, while Illinois Institute of Technology (115), Edgewood College (87), Dominican University (83), Wisconsin Lutheran (80), and Lakeland University (28) round out the poll.
The regular season kicks off Saturday, Feb. 23 with five games. Benedictine plays two games at Hendrix College in Conway, Arkansas, Dominican plays a pair of games at Centre College in Danville, Kentucky, and Aurora faces off with Elmhurst College in a single game at Jacksonville, Illinois. The first full day of NACC matches is the following Saturday, March 30, where six doubleheaders are on the docket featuring all 12 programs.
A 22-game league slate will determine the NACC champion with the top six in the final regular-season standings advancing to the six-team conference tournament, which will be hosted by Concordia Wisconsin May 9-12 at Kapco Park in Mequon, Wis. The tournament champion receives the league's automatic berth to the 2019 NCAA Division III Baseball Championship.
2019 NACC Baseball Preseason Poll
First-place votes in parentheses
|Concordia Chicago (21)||285|