Lubbock Christian University is picked to win the 2018 Heartland Conference Baseball title as the Chaparrals aim to repeat last year's championship season. LCU pitcher Ricky Contreras headlined a group of 11 student athletes named to the Preseason All-Heartland Team, which also included LCU's Nick Hooper and Ryan Rogers.
The preseason poll and Preseason All-Heartland Team were selected by the league's coaches and sports information directors. Lubbock Christian received 13 of 16 possible first-place votes and 124 overall points as the Chaps were picked to top the conference for the second year in a row. LCU returns a trio of 2018 All-Heartland Preseason Team selections, including reigning conference pitcher of the year Ricky Contreras. Contreras, along with designated hitter Ryan Rogers and pitcher Daniel Crooks, was also named to the Collegiate Baseball Preseason All-America Team.
This is the first time LCU has been preseason picked to win the conference. This season marked the second year the Heartland Conference has recognized a Preseason All-Conference team.
For bios on each of the recognized players, read the full article at LCUchaps.com.
UAFS, who advanced to the 2017 Division II South Central Region Final, is picked to finish second in the poll picking up one first-place vote and 97 total points. Just behind UAFS is St. Edward's, who earned 96 total points, followed by St. Mary's, who is picked to finish fourth after picking up 91 total points in the poll, including two first-place votes.
Lubbock Christian and St. Edward's led the way with three Preseason All-Heartland Selections, followed by St. Mary's two honorees. The individual honors were the first received by the Chaparral standouts.
LCU opens their 2018 campaign Feb. 9 hosting Regis University (Colo.) to open a four-game series at Hays Field.