San Antonio – Next week’s St. Mary’s baseball season opener will feature two of the top teams in the region.

The preseason NCAA Division II South Central regional rankings were released Friday, and St. Mary’s slid in at No. 4.

Sitting two spots above the Rattlers is Abilene Christian, their opponent in next week’s season opener. First pitch is slated for 4 p.m. Tuesday.

Three Rattlers also made the 2011 Preseason All-South Central Region team, led by Smithson Valley graduate Ryan Morrow.

Morrow, a senior from Bulverde, Texas, was selected as the preseason designated hitter/utility player.

Also making the team were third baseman Greg Herbst, a senior from San Antonio, and second baseman Weston Baros (Sr., San Antonio).

Morrow, one of eight seniors on the team, smashed 14 home runs and drove in 65 runs a year ago.

Herbst batted .376 with 12 home runs and 58 RBIs, while Baros hit .319 with nine dingers and 51 RBIs.

St. Mary’s was joined on the list by a pair of Heartland Conference foes, with Texas-Permian Basin earning a sixth-place ranking and St. Edward’s tying for eighth.

The Rattlers were 40-19 and won the Heartland Conference Championship in 2010. They eventually fell to Abilene Christian, 9-8, in a 13-inning thriller in the regional tournament.

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