Phoenix, Ariz. – December 22, 2010 – On Monday, December 20, the Collegiate Baseball Newspaper released its 2010 NCAA Division III preseason poll and Heidelberg University garnered the number one spot. The Berg recorded 263 first place votes to sit atop second ranked SUNY Cortland (259).
Its number one ranking marks the highest the program has ever been ranked, topping its vote of second from a season ago. It is also the first athletic program at Heidelberg to own the number one spot in a national poll. Outside of a national poll, the only team at the Berg to sit atop its respective counterparts was the 1972 Stagg Bowl Champion football team.
Heidelberg, and 12th-year head coach Matt Palm, return seven position players, as well as four starting pitchers and its top closer from its 2010 record setting 42-8 team. A season ago the Berg claimed its fifth Ohio Athletic Conference Regular Season Title (2003, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010) and its fourth OAC Tournament trophy (2004, 2008, 2009, 2010). The Berg went on to win its first Mideast Regional and made an appearance at the NCAA Baseball Championships for the first time in the history of the program.
Leading the list of returners are All-Americans that include senior right-handed closer Andy Lowe (Fort Wayne, Ind. / Carroll), senior second baseman Gar Keen (Sparta, Ohio / Highland), senior shortstop Jason Lash (Strongsville, Ohio / Strongsville), senior third baseman Willie Brechun (Canton, Ohio / Canton Central Catholic) and junior right fielder Ricardo Lizcano (Toledo, Ohio / Roy C. Start).
Also returning are starting pitchers senior right-handers Brian Koehl (Sylvania, Ohio / Sylvania Northview) and Nathan James (Rockport, Ind. / South Spencer), as well as junior right-hander Sylvester Nino (Willard, Ohio / Willard) and sophomore right-hander Ethan Holt (Galion, Ohio / West Holmes).
Rounding out the returning starters in the field are senior outfielders Alex Monroe (Chagrin Falls, Ohio / Kenston) and Andrew Buelow (Marysville, Mich. / Marysville) and senior first baseman Derek Andrejczak (Sylvania, Ohio / Sylvania Northview). Junior Elvin Williams (Euclid, Ohio / Euclid) also returns as a utility player that rotates in the starting lineup in the outfield, as the designated hitter, and on the mound as needed.