Dupic's Bulldogs picked to repeat as GPAC champs

By Jake Knabel on Jan. 18, 2018 in Baseball

GPAC release

SEWARD, Neb. – Fresh off the program’s first conference title in 31 years, the 2018 Concordia University baseball team has been picked to repeat as GPAC regular-season champions. In the GPAC Baseball Preseason Coaches’ Poll released on Thursday (Jan. 18) by the conference, head coach Ryan Dupic’s squad scooped up eight of 10 first-place votes and a total of 80 points while coming out on top of the conference rating.

The expectations have risen significantly for the program since Dupic was named head coach prior to the 2015 season. In Dupic’s first three seasons in Seward, the Bulldogs have rapidly ascended the standings, going from ninth in 2015 to fourth in 2016 to first in 2017. This marks the first time in the history of the GPAC preseason baseball polls (conference began in 2000) that Concordia has been picked to finish first.

At least on paper, the biggest strength of the 2018 Bulldogs looks to be their pitching staff. Every significant hurler from last season’s 2017 national qualifier returns with the lone exception of second team all-conference selection Josh Prater, who graduated. Dupic counted upon five freshmen last spring to make 10 or more appearances on the mound. The deep and talented pitching staff should help counter the losses of some of the team’s top hitters, such as Casey Berg and Christian Montero.

The 2018 season is set to get underway Feb. 23 when Concordia visits Evangel University (Mo.) for a doubleheader. The Bulldogs are scheduled to make their first home appearance on March 20 when Kansas Wesleyan University will be at Plum Creek Park.

GPAC preseason ranking during Dupic’s tenure
2018 – 1st
2017 – 3rd (finished 1st)
2016 – 9th (finished T-4th)
2015 – 9th (finished 9th)

2018 GPAC Baseball Preseason Coaches’ Poll
1. Concordia – 80 (8)
2. Midland – 74 (2)
3. Morningside – 61
4. Hastings – 48
5. Mount Marty – 47
6. Northwestern – 40
7. Doane – 33
8. Briar Cliff – 30
9. Dordt – 21
10. Dakota Wesleyan – 16