WAUKESHA, Wis.- The Northern Athletics Conference baseball coaches picked Aurora atop the 2013 preseason poll.
The defending champions gathered seven of the 12 first-place votes and 138 poll points, followed by Concordia Chicago's 131, Benedictine's 119 and Rockford's 103. Concordia Chicago and Benedictine each received a pair of top votes, while Rockford got the remaining first-place selection.
Edgewood came in fifth with 94 points, Dominican sixth with 74, Marian seventh with 71 and Concordia Wisconsin eighth with 64.
Wisconsin Lutheran (61) was tabbed ninth, while Lakeland (40), MSOE (29) and Maranatha (12) rounded out the final spots in the coaches' poll.
The Aurora Spartans won last season's NAC title with an 18-4 record (38-10 overall), followed it up with a third-straight NAC Tournament crown and went 2-2 in the NCAA Midwest Regional. Five of the Spartans' eight all-conference picks are slated to return to the field this season, including NAC Pitcher of the Year Drew Gay (8-0, 1.63 ERA).
The league's six-team double-elimination tournament takes place May 10-12 at Concordia Wisconsin's Kapco Park in Mequon. The tournament champion receives the NAC's automatic bid to the 2013 NCAA III Championship Tournament.
2013 Northern Athletics Conference Preseason Coaches' Poll
1. Aurora (7), 138
2. Concordia Chicago (2), 131
3. Benedictine (2), 119
4. Rockford (1), 103
5. Edgewood, 94
6. Dominican, 74
7. Marian, 71
8. Concordia Wisconsin, 64
9. Wisconsin Lutheran, 61
10. Lakeland, 40
11. MSOE, 29
12. Maranatha, 12
first-place votes in parentheses
voted by the conference's head coaches
12-11-10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 point scale used